justin Illescas for senate
Hi bears! I'm Justin Illescas, or also tatin! I am a third-year junior transfer from Cerritos College down in SoCal. I come from Downey, CA, which is in LA county if you're not familiar with it. I am majoring in Anthropology and hoping to squeeze in a French minor. I am currently working in the office of ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova!
I am running for an ASUC Senate seat because I believe I have strong qualities that demonstrate leadership. I have worked as a Senator at Cerritos College, and through my work there as a Senator I have gained skills that are required to effectively initiate change on a campus. My work as a Senator will reflect upon challenges I directly experience because I am: differently-abled, a transfer, queer, and a first generation student. My efforts as Senator will be to uplift all underrepresented communities.
As a differently-bodied student, I struggle to accommodate myself to complete basic tasks. I know other differently-abled folx do as well. As a Senator, I will ensure that differently-abled students are at the top of my priority. UC Berkeley began 149 years ago; ADA began in 1990. Cal needs to go through a school-wide revision of ADA accommodations. Elevators in certain buildings break down at random times and constantly need repairments. I will initiate conversations with administration and proper program directors for the University of California, statewide, to undergo a campus wide revision of ADA compliance. I also will work with the Disabled Student Program (DSP) at Cal to provide students with equipment that specifically aims toward aiding students in and out of the classroom. This would consist of bringing equipment that helps students travel to class much easier, along with devices that are yet to be considered for a classroom setting. In regards to working with the DSP, I will also work with the program to efficiently allow students to meet with intake counselors before a doctor’s note is needed to enroll in the program. My efforts as Senator will also include bringing back the Disabled Student Residence Program, which worked on getting students adjusted to living on their own. The program will aim toward aiding students in all residence halls and co-ops. As a Senator, I will push for a Differently-Abled Student Development Center, which would aim toward actively aiding students that identify as differently abled.
Transfer students learn about many benefits Cal has to offer, but through other students. This demonstrates a lack of outreach to transfer and other RTSA students. As a Senator, I will work on mobilizing transfer students for equitable representation across campus. I will push for efforts to create transfer spaces in all colleges at UC Berkeley, expanding much more than just the Transfer Center in Cesar Chavez. My work will also include initiating the discussion that transfers and student parents need their own spaces. Currently, both student groups share space in the Transfer Center. Student parents need their own space because their needs are much different than those of transfer students. I will also work with New Student Services to provide transfer students with a more tailored Golden Bear Orientation. This extends to working with New Student Services to also provide transfers, along with the general UC Berkeley population, a cyber and physical platform where community members may publish rent listings to find secure and affordable housing. As a Senator, I will work toward mobilizing transfers for more equitable representation across all of UC Berkeley.
When I dealt with Financial Aid at UC Berkeley, I found myself ignoring the pressing issues I had because I found them to be difficult to meet with. Financial aid is a large factor for students when deciding to go to school. My work as a Senator in regard to Financial Aid is working toward a more transparent, visible office. My efforts will be working with the Financial Aid office to provide students with more transparency in their services and benefits they have to offer for students. This looks like better outreach to students about their programs, as well as creating simpler methods to meet with them in person. My work will also extend to making the Financial Aid office more accessible. This looks like permitting students to sign up in their queue on a digital platform, instead of in person. As a Senator, I will also work for more scholarships aimed toward queer/trans and first generation students. I will push for program expansion that already provide queer/trans and first generation students with resources and services to aid folx in having a more affordable education.
Basic Needs Committee Member, Office of ASUC Senator Cordova 2017-2018
Bills and Policy Committee Member, Office of ASUC Senator Cordova 2017-2018
ASUC Housing Commission Member, 2017-2018
Senator, Cerritos College 2015-2016