Derek for Senate

KGA_4596.jpg

Derek Imai is a second-year undergraduate student intending to major in Public Health and minor in Public Policy. Joining the ASUC because of his passion for Public Health, his work and advocacy has been focused on improving physical and mental wellness on campus. During Derek’s freshman year, he interned for both the Office of Senator Nuha Khalfay* and for the Office of Vicente Román*. Through his work in Senator Khalfay’s office he worked to increase the accessibility and navigability of health resources through the creation of the physical and mental health resources database. Currently, as a Chief of Staff for the Office of Senator Nikhil Harish*, he has learned what it takes to run a successful office, managing three departments and overseeing various projects, advocacy, policy, and programming. Aside from his work in the ASUC, he had the amazing opportunities to intern in the Office of California State Senator Nancy Skinner* and serves as a Resident Assistant (RA)* in Beverly Cleary Hall. His identity at the intersections of being LGBTQ+ and Asian American as well as his experiences and work at Cal have shaped every aspect of his platforms, and he hopes to use the platform of the ASUC Senate to serve his communities and improve student life.


Qualifications

  • Chief of Staff; ASUC Office of Senator Harish (August 2018 - Present)

  • Resident Assistant; UC Berkeley Residential and Student Services Program (August 2018 - Present)

  • Resident-Faculty Program RA Coordinator; UC Berkeley Residential and Student Services Program (October 2018 - Present)

  • Florin JACL Member; Japanese American Citizens League (December 2016 - Present)

  • Health Policy and Advocacy Committee Member; Cal Undergraduate Public Health Coalition (September 2018 - Present)

  • Kakehashi Program Member; Japanese American Citizens League (December 2018)

  • Fundraising Field Manager; Doctors Without Borders (June 2018 - August 2018)

  • Teaching Assistant; Sacramento State University Academic Talent Search (June 2017 - August 2018

  • Intern; ASUC Office of Nuha Khalfay (September 2017 - May 2018)

  • Legislative Intern; Office of California State Senator Nancy Skinner (March 2018 - May 2018

All titles are for identification purposes only.


How We’ll Get it Done

I. Nutrition: Meal Plan Reform and Food Security

  • Reform the current Standard Meal Plan to increase Food Security

    • The current standard meal plan is 250 flex dollars and 12 meal swipes per week, which is far less than students need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, a redistribution of meal swipes and flex dollars is necessary for student food security.

    • Push for CalDining to be consistent in cooking food that is Halal and Kosher and denoting these accommodations on their menus. Without consistent labelling, students who have such dietary restrictions will not know which food items are catered towards them.

    • Collaborate with CalDining Dieticians to publish advice about how to eat healthily in the dining halls.

  • Increase Food Literacy for those Living in Off-Campus Housing

    • Create holistic and cost-friendly grocery lists that incorporate accessible resources like the Berkeley Student Food Collective and Food Pantry. These lists will include lasting food items that can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the week.

    • Create recipes that are cohesive with our grocery lists and that are easy to prepare in order to make cooking less stressful for those independent of the meal plan.

II. Physical and Mental Health

  • Mental Health:

    • Collaborate with the EAVP on lobbying trips, especially to UC Regents and Administration, with the specific focus on holding the University accountable for mental illness.

    • Push for updated statistics on mental illness prevalence on UC Berkeley’s campus to increase transparency similar to Cornell University. Work with the AAVP and Office of the Registrar to publish a survey to garner such statistics in order to hold the University accountable for supporting initiatives that will benefit mental wellness on campus.

    • Collaborate with the Tang Center or Student Learning Center to implement a peer-counseling program modeled after the existent counseling program at UCSB.

    • Destigmatize seeking mental health treatment in the Asian American community via creating programs and finding resources aimed to improve mental wellness within the Asian American community. Collaborate with Asian and Asian American student organizations as well as other senators to include more holistic perspectives at such events.

  • Physical Health:

    • Create graphics, planning events, and publishing reminders of affordable and safe HIV/STD testing. In addition, add more LGBTQ+ catered resources to the Physical and Mental Health Database.

III. Pre-Health Community

  • Build a More Inclusive Pre-Health Community

    • Expand the Pre-Health Student Council (PHSC) as a community and organizing space for pre-health students

    • In addition, utilize PHSC as a caucus to discuss and vocalize pre-health issues in hopes to create policies that advocate the needs for the community (i.e. Pre-Medical Minor Bill).

    • Advocate for a biology research fellowship that supports underrepresented minority pre-health students.

  • Create a mentorship program for pre-health students, connecting students to professionals working in their dream occupations. Outreaching to professors and health professionals.

  • Dismantle the Toxic Pre-Health Academic Stress Culture

    • Work on training MCB and IB Departments / Pre-Health professors on what mental resources look like.

    • Advocate for mental health resources on all pre-health course syllabi

    • Work with the SLC to establish more peer studying groups for lower-division pre-health classes to foster collaboration  

  • Institute an immersion program for incoming pre-health students before the school year with workshops designed to help them transition to their classes and the academic rigor at Cal. This program will be designed similar to the PREP Program that exists for incoming students in the College of Engineering.