Nikhil Harish for ASUC Senate

Nikhil Profile-01.png

Hi! My name is Nikhil Harish, a third year pre-med student studying Cognitive Science. I grew up in Indiana, but after coming to college my family moved to Ireland and now lives in New Jersey! I started with the ASUC as an intern freshman year, and I’ve been working in it ever since. I’ve also been heavily involved as a director with 7 Cups Berkeley, a peer counseling organization, as well as with the Cal Calling Center as a tier 3 fundraiser. I’m running for Senate this year to better serve the Pre-Health community, improve access to mental health resources, and to work on crafting a better orientation program for both incoming students and Orientation Leaders!


PLATFORMS

I. Pre-Health Resources and Community Support

Heavy grade deflation and a lack of resources specific to the needs of the pre-health community contribute to an incredibly low retention rate within the pre-health track and make being pre-health on this campus extremely difficult. Pre-health students deserve the resources and space they need to not only survive, but to thrive on their chosen career track. I intend to support our community by:

  • Opening up a late-night study space designed and equipped with tools specifically for pre-health students

  • Creating a comprehensive four year plan, including breadths and electives, for pre-health students across all majors on the ASUC website and linking this resource to BerkeleyTime

  • Centralizing tutoring for pre-health courses and upper division MCB, IB, and PMB, and ESPM classes within the ASUC by matching up students seeking out help in a particular class with a private student tutor

  • Community-building through programming that will make the pre-health community more cohesive and inclusive of pre-health students that are not pre-med.

II. Mental Health

Despite being the number one public university in the world, numerous barriers exist on this campus that prevent students from getting the mental health care that they need. Each year, the Tang Center Counseling and Psychological Services program receives a 15 percent increase in demand for their resources, while simultaneously receiving no additional funding from the University. To combat this issue, I want to:

  • Institutionalize a peer counseling program at the Tang Center that would absorb some of the demand for CPS services

  • Create a new mental health training program for Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) leaders based on the Rogerian model used to train peer counselors with Student to Student Peer Counseling and 7 Cups Berkeley

  • Create more programming during GBO that more effectively educates incoming students about mental health resources and that starts a real dialogue about mental health

  • Support South Asian community organizers who are working on South Asian mental health and provide them with institutional resources and avenues to get this work done

  • Work to improve the accessibility of existing resources catered towards South Asians both in Berkeley and the Bay Area.

III. Golden Bear Orientation

Golden Bear Orientation, while in some ways an improvement over its predecessor CalSO, still had numerous structural and organizational issues. Furthermore, it exploited the labor of its orientation leaders by providing no form of compensation outside of priority registration, which was then removed for the GBO leaders working during Summer 2018. I want to work to create a more effective and equitable orientation program by:

  • Putting orientation back into the hands of students who truly understand what it means to be a Berkeley student, through the creation of a student-led GBO Oversight Committee that would oversee the budget as well as work with students, New Student Services and the Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education’s office to create a better orientation program.

  • Working with New Student Services and the Vice Chancellor of Undergraduate Education’s office to find ways to trim the GBO budget and find additional sponsors so that the University can compensate GBO leaders fairly for the hours of work put in over two weeks to lead an orientation group.

  • Creating more orientation programming specifically for junior transfers, student athletes and international students


QUALIFICATIONS

  • Co-President: 7 Cups at Berkeley (Current)

  • Orientation Leader: Golden Bear Orientation (2017)

  • Pre-Health Project Manager: Office of ASUC Senator* Nuha Khalfay (Current)

  • Biological Sciences Representative: Undergraduate Academics Committee (Current)

  • Tier 3 Fundraiser: Cal Calling Center (Current)

  • Director of Spaces and Facilities: Academic Affairs Vice President’s Office (2016-2017)

  • Intern: Office of ASUC Senator* Sina Rashidi (2016)


ENDORSEMENTS

  • Nuha Khalfay, ASUC Senator*

  • Vishnu Murthy, President* of SMD

  • Aashna Patel, President* of Indus

  • Abrar Haque, President* of Indus

  • Keerthi Sundaramurthy, Co-Founder of 7 Cups

  • Shauna Satnick, Co-Founder of 7 Cups

  • Nawang Sharpa, President* of Global Medical Training

  • Heeral Shivnani, President* of Kabira

* Titles for Identification Purposes Only