ASUC Senate Elections: Interview with Candidate #190 Tom Lee

Posted by hopeful 21
2012.04.05 09:58 EDITORIAL
05:00 AM - 06:00 AM     Get prepared for school
06:00 AM - 07:00 AM     Read the Daily Californian
07:00 AM - 05:00 PM     Post flyers and do one-on-one promotion 
05:00 PM - 10:00 PM     Attend meetings (KUNA, ASUC, Sigma Nu, etc.)
10:00 PM - 12:00 AM     Chalking
12:00 AM - 02:00 AM     Documentations

What you see here is a daily schedule for Tom Lee. Well known for sleeping less than 5 hours a day among his friends, Tom is spending quite a hectic semester this year with the ASUC elections. Running for the ASUC senator among 80 or so candidates, Tom is determined to expand entertainment options and increase student involvement in the ASUC budget allocation process.

- Endorsement Letter for Tom Lee by BERKOP 

Read in Korean <- Click

hopeful 21: Please introduce yourself.

Tom: Hi, guys. My name is Tom Lee and I’m running for ASUC Senator. I’m a sophomore, and I’m currently in charge of external affairs at KUNA (Korean Undergraduate Networking Association), member of a social frat, and a member of the ASUC Grants Committee.

hopeful 21: So you’re running for ASUC Senator. What’s this election about and who’s running?

Tom: This election is running for ASUC, or the Associated Students of the University of California. ASUC manages about $30 million of students’ money, and it makes decisions on a variety of things, including bus passes, rebuilding the Sproul Hall, etc. There are a total of 5 coalitions and independent candidates. There are about 80 candidates running for ASUC senators, and 20 will get those spots.

hopeful 21: What are your goals as a senator?

Tom: There are three things I want to bring to Cal, and those are (1) To increase student involvement in the ASUC budget allocation process, (2) Expanding entertainment options at Cal, and (3) Bring communities together, including the Korean community.  

"Students will gain understanding of how their money is being used,"

hopeful 21: Would you talk a little bit about your first goal?

Tom: I started working for the ASUC grants committee since my freshman year. As a two-year member of the AAVP, I felt that budget allocation is being done not reasonably, and it often doesn’t take on students’ opinions. Besides, there are only two out of 20 committee members who represent international students. There’s only one student who represents students in the Budget Allocation Committee; all other members staff members. I hope to make the budget allocation process more efficient and known to students through creating an interactive forum. How this forum will work is through doing budget deliberation, or planning out the annual budget at the start of the year, and having the school authorities to make edits to the proposal. This way, students will gain understanding of how their money is being used, and this will increase students’ participation in the process of budget allocation.  If we increase student involvement in school policies, it’s going to make positive changes to this community. It is one of my priorities to increase student involvement and impact in the Budget Allocation Committee.

hopeful 21: What is your second goal about?

Tom: Another commitment I want to make is expanding entertainment portion. In case of UC Davis, students have hosted a variety of events and performances. For instance, students have been able to invite Snoop Dogg to do a performance at their school. This process of getting approval to host or invite celebrities over for performances is quite difficult at Cal, and I want to make this process a little smoother.

hopeful 21: Your third goal sounds interesting. Would you explain what it’s about?

Tom: I met with the Berkeley International Office and talked regarding the Korean community at Cal. I learned of some issues that relate to Korean students at Cal, such as a high dropout rate, students not returning back after taking leave of absence, getting into other issues, and so on. I want to find out the reason why these things happen, and help the Korean community to achieve better student retention.

Another change I want to bring is engaging the international community. For instance, the Korean community is the 2nd largest international community at Cal. There are currently 8 active Korean clubs, and each club holds great historical background. I feel there needs to be a mediator that brings these clubs together. And this entity must be acknowledged by ASUC. I am aware Korean Student Organization (KSO) exists, but this entity hasn’t been acknowledged by the school yet. There should be an entity that brings all the Korean clubs together and operate under clearly thought-out goals, and this entity is what I want to create for bringing communities together.     

hopeful 21: How do you feel about running? How did you first feel when you decided to run?

Tom Lee: First when I decided to run, I thought it will be a good learning experience. I learned that it is not a simple matter like that at all once the election took off. I I realized running in the election is something very difficult that it’s not possible to just wing it. As election started, I became serious about running, and joining the Senate has become something I really want to do.

hopeful 21: What are some difficulties to running?

Tom Lee: Some of the running mates are friends with current senators, so there are candidates that receive promotion from senators. I don’t have a sponsor of that sort, so it can be a little difficult.

hopeful 21: Is there anyone who’s helping you out with the elections?

Tom: Yes, my friends Kangin Choi and Sunghyun Kim are helping me with reaching out to the Korean community. My friends from frat are helping me with other communities. They’re helping me do phone banking. 

hopeful 21: How do you promote yourself to the non-Korean community? How do you feel when non-Koreans approach you and say that you’re running for the senate in representation of the Korean community?

Tom: It’s true that I represent Koreans. I come from that group. But I want to represent not only that group. I’m open to suggestions from other kinds of students as well. I want to get the student community’s voices heard by the school, and to do so, I have to and want to represent both Korean and non-Korean community.

"Please invest two minutes out of 72 hours (Tuesday-Thursday) to vote for me."

hopeful 21: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Tom: It can be bothersome going online, logging in, and voting for someone. I understand how you may feel because that was how I felt last year. But your two minutes will be very helpful. Please invest two minutes out of 72 hours (Tuesday-Thursday) to vote for me. I really appreciate your help in advance.


Ambitious and a hardworking candidate, Tom Lee is now familiar with patterns he sees from people he come across in Sproul Hall. “On Mondays, people are relatively nice to you and listen to what you have to say. When it comes to Wednesdays and Thursdays, some are exhausted and feeling a little tedious. And they kind of have an idea of who they want to vote for. I’m going to continue putting out an effort to be consistent and campaign diligently.” Throughout the interview, his determination to increase student involvement in budget allocations and passion to bring communities together couldn’t go unnoticed. Tom Lee’s goals are going to benefit OUR community as a whole. It takes less than 2 minutes to bring positive change to our campus. Please vote for #190 Tom Lee anytime between next Tuesday through Thursday!

Interviewed by hopeful 21, 스프링데일, Coffeestraw
Edited by hopeful 21, 스프링데일

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