Charles Peng is running for ASUC Senate as a part of the Student Action candidate slate on platforms centered around the international student experience, east-Asian community and campus safety.
Peng, a campus freshman studying data science and economics, said he hopes to serve as both a representative of the international and East Asian communities and a facilitator of collaboration between student groups.
“We have a lot of great clubs and communities, but I feel that they are very much not interconnected,” Peng said.
Peng became involved with the ASUC in fall 2021, starting as a community relations associate for ASUC Senator Amy Chen. He said the role involved facilitating collaboration among various East Asian clubs and planning events with club leaders.
A primary piece of Peng’s platform focuses on improving resources for international and first-generation students by increasing scholarships, advising and establishing a mentorship network. According to Peng, international students do not have nearly as much access to such resources as their local colleagues.
“Someone whose first language might not be English might not know where to seek help,” Peng said.
If elected, Peng said he hopes to improve the overall safety, inclusivity and accessibility of the campus environment. He noted that in the transition to in-person learning following the pandemic, some students have found it difficult to adjust to the crime levels around campus. In light of this, Peng said he plans to advocate for increasing the number of emergency poles on campus, promoting services such as Bear Walk and safety training for students.
Peng also said he intends to address mental health and sexual violence on campus by increasing information and awareness of such issues and making it easier for students to voice their concerns, especially within the East Asian community.
“It’s critically important as someone representing the East Asian and international community to bring up these two ideas because there’s always a stigma regarding mental health and SVSH (sexual violence and sexual harassment),” Peng said. “I feel like in my community, we don’t really talk about it a lot.”
A member of several East Asian affiliated clubs himself, Peng said he has witnessed the importance of collaboration within the East Asian community. He added he intends to encourage more cultural events, including organizing an East Asian club week and increasing support for students who want to start clubs.
Peng said he has been inspired by the ASUC’s ability to address student interests and hopes to utilize a senate seat to represent his communities while improving life on campus.
“ASUC has the institutional power to share students’ interests and needs,” Peng said. “I really want to be a part of this passionate and collaborative community that serves the interests of the student body.”