Andy Theocharous for ASUC Senate
My name is Andy Theocharous and I am a first-year, intending to major in Economics and Global Studies. Growing up in a small Mediterranean island that was marked by conflict I have realized the importance of respect for other people's backgrounds, norms as well as concerns. Serving in the military and spending a lot of time and effort in peace-building projects I have cultivated my skills of discipline, work ethic and awareness to giving back. Coming to Berkeley I have been amazed and inspired by the drive of students to give back to their communities. That's why I'm running for Senate. Because I want to join that group of students who sacrifice their free time because they feel students still pay too much money or they see their friends struggling with their academics and they want to do something about it.
I. Financial Wellness
Far too many students face financial difficulties and have to make great sacrifices to pursue a higher education. This campus provides limited help to students in finding scholarships. In addition, there are scholarship opportunities that are not readily available or associated with our campus. Currently, there is only one advisor who is responsible of assisting 40,000 students for applying for financial gift grants. In discussion with the Financial Aid Office, we determined that it would be to start a program, staffed by students. The students would update the database and provide logistical support to students who request it. The proposal will be submitted via the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees (CACSSF) to fund this new program. In addition, students on this campus are unaware of the cheaper alternative insurance policies that effectively allows them to waive SHIP. One of these policies is ISO, which can help students save at least $1200 per year. My office will make it its priority to have these policies published in the ASUC resources and make it known in the campus community. Lastly, the freshman and transfer student community paid an additional $360 for rent during the Golden Bear orientation period, an amount that was essentially double paid since students had already paid for the month of August. Should I get elected, I will form a coalition of senators and residential hall leaders to lobby the administration to scrap this unnecessary fee and send a message to the administration that the student body will not tolerate any unnecessary increases in fees.
II. International Community Advancement
The international student body at UC Berkeley is in desperate need of more resources to aid its financial wellness as well as academic and career resources. With the change in the political climate, international students face more difficulties when securing jobs, making international job opportunities more appealing. As Senator, I intend to collaborate with the Career Center and Berkeley International Office (BIO) in order to host events that will aid students in finding jobs overseas. In addition, I would promote the Career Center’s database that will connect global employers to current students by assisting in their facilitation through our Global Careers Fair. Another pathway that I would pursue is to establish deeper cooperation with the Alumni office and its offices abroad to connect current students with alumni who work internationally that will allow the student body to expand its professional network. My office will continue the work of previous Senators to establish zero-unit Curricular Practical Training (CPT) classes that will allow international students to pursue summer internships with no additional costs. In addition, my office will formulate a platform that will accept proposals for joint projects from various international cultural clubs. Actions will also be taken to eliminate the requirement of the health insurance companies to be based in the United States; this will hopefully ease the financial burden on our international community.
III. ROTC & Veteran Community Advancement
It is a fact that the ROTC and the Veteran community has historically been under-represented within the ASUC, and as a Senator I will strive to be their core representative within our student government. Having served in the Cypriot military, I am quite aware of the challenges of reintegrating to academic life. To aid with this transition, I believe it to be necessary to bring tutors to the Veteran Student Center at least twice a week to assist students in their academic assignments. In addition, my office will also be occupied with the application of grants for the ROTC with the aim of enhancing their student and program experience. UC Berkeley offers a plethora of classes which are concerned with military affairs, however it does not offer a relevant academic degree which can enhance one’s academic experience. Since the classes are offered within the UC Berkeley curriculum, no formal degree minor about military affair is acknowledged by our university.
Director/ Founder - Unity Fest (a peace-building initiatives under the organization and support of the European Union offices, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, the State Department.
First Sergeant - Cypriot National Guard.
Faculty Advisor - 62nd session of the Harvard National Model United Nations.
Delegate - 74th International Session of the European Youth Parliament in Tbilisi, Georgia. Represented Cyprus in the committee of economic affairs (ECON).
MUN Director & Chairman - 20th St. Petersburg International Model United Nations in Russia.
Treasurer - United Nations Youth and Student Association of Cyprus (UNYSA).
Delegate - UNYSA’s lobbying trip to the U.S Congress, and the Russian, Turkish, Hellenic Embassies to the United Nations. Met with U.S representatives to push for more U.S pressure on the Cypriot conundrum.
Alumni Chairman - Cyprus Friendship Program Inc. (A U.S registered non-profit that coordinates residential projects in the island’s two warring communities)
ROTC/ Veteran Affairs Director - Office of ASUC Senator Alexander Wilfert
Staffer - International Office of the External Affairs Vice President.
Family Head - International Student Association at Berkeley (ISAB).
Yoon Sung Hong, President of the International Student Association at Berkeley (ISAB)*.
Harshil Bansal, ASUC Senator, 2017-2018*
Lena Kan, President of the International Student Advisory Committee (ISAC)*.
Matthew Smith, President of the Cal Veterans Group*.
Katya Yamamoto, ASUC Senator, 2017-2018*.
Ilbey Karakurt, President of the Turkish Student Association at Berkeley (TSA)*.
Christina Alamana, President of the Hellenic Student Association (HESTIA)*. .
Nicole Timofeevski, President of the Russian Student Association at Berkeley (RSA)*.
John Huson, Midshipman Commanding Officer, Navy ROTC*.
Juan Contreras, Echo flight Deputy Commander, Air Force ROTC*.
*Names and titles for identification purposes only.