ASUCI Presidential Candidate Op-Eds: Megan Braun

I am the most qualified individual for ASUCI president because I have the dedication and experience to serve the students with the greatest impact. Acting as student body president may seem glamorous, but being a successful student leader is more about hard work and sacrifice. Before I was elected, I played water polo for UC Irvine, but it soon became clear that I could not be a successful athlete and president at the same time. So I decided to give up my career in intercollegiate athletics and work 40-60 hours a week in ASUCI because I am passionate about UCI. I am running for re-election because I know that ASUCI has the resources to create a brighter future for Anteaters, and I possess the leadership to make these visions a reality.

The overall power of the president to create change on a campus of 20,000 is both remarkable and humbling. Governance is not a spectator sport, so students must take responsibility for our student experience and be the change that we want to see on our campus. Our reputation as a university has not kept pace with the changes that are taking place at UCI. The academics and research are phenomenal and if students keep working to improve campus life, athletics and school spirit, we will be on par with UC Berkeley and UCLA before long.

This year, ASUCI has made tremendous strides in campus life, accessibility and advocacy. My office has hosted quarterly club fairs, reformed the student funding board, introduced a carpool program for Facebook and created a quarterly ASCUI newsletter. Most importantly, I have pushed for more school spirit on campus by advocating to combine Shocktoberfest and Midnight Magic, joining with the Alumni Association for Homecoming, hosting three very successful tailgates and partnering with Athletics and Greek Life to shatter the student attendance record at the Bren Events Center on Black-Out Night.

I have reviewed the other candidates’ platforms and I respect some of their ideas. Some plans like late night shuttle routes are prohibitively expensive, some ideas like bringing Chipotle to UCI have already been tried and some things like club training workshops already exist. But I won’t dispute that the other candidates are proposing some fresh ideas. What I will point out is that the world is full of people with good ideas. What is rare is the people with the expertise and work ethic to turn ideas into actions. Based on the experience that I have gained by serving as ASUCI president this year, the relationships I have forged and the dedication with which I approach the job, I know that I can make my goals a reality.

Next year I will continue to work to lower the Student Center fees, bring better dining options to UCI, reform the bike policy, advocate for more affordable off-campus housing and strengthen alumni relations. Communication is one of the biggest barriers to active campus life. We need an events calendar that works, more effective methods for student groups to advertise and better campus Web sites. We need to brand ourselves as a university through better clothes at the bookstore, painting “`Eater Nation” on the water tower across from the Bren and advertising sporting events. We may not have a football team now, but we can start supporting the teams we do have while advocating for a long-term plan to create a football program in the future.

It’s time for students to start determining the direction of campus life. Based on my experience, initiative and leadership, I am the person to make these changes happen.

Megan Braun is a fourth-year history and philosophy double-major. She is currently president of ASUCI. She can be reached at braunm@uci.edu.