Introducing ASUP 2023-2024 candidates

Proposal to raise student activities fee also on the ballot

By Kate Cuadrado | March 20, 2023 7:00pm
Graphic by Kate Cuadrado. Photos courtesy of ASUP.

The Associated Students of the University of Portland (ASUP) 2023-2024 elections are here following a year of various senate changes including a new speaker of the senate, a new junior senator and only one senior senator, one College of Arts and Sciences senator and one School of Education senator. The ASUP 2023-2024 elections will cover the ASUP senate and executive board positions as well as a vote on whether or not to raise the student activities fee from $130 to $150. 

The Beacon asked the 26 candidates of the upcoming ASUP elections for an introduction to them and their campaign, as well as asking the following questions.

  • What are specific plans for UP that you hope to achieve in your role, and what are the actions you will take to achieve them?
  • What sets you apart from other candidates in regard to the position you are running for? 

Below are the responses from the candidates who wrote in. 

Kaya Olsen. Running for ASUP President

Kaya Olsen is running for ASUP President. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“I want to see the senate work more with clubs by hosting a student leader mixer to allow for networking and collaborations to happen in the future. Many of the students on campus have similar goals, and I think these could be achieved if we worked together as a team. I also plan on focusing on communication by utilizing our Instagram and newsletter to highlight the resolutions passed and speakers visiting, and adding an incentive for staying informed.

“Something that sets me apart from other candidates is my experience with holding leadership positions. I have been the Class of 2025 Senator for the past two years, I am the current chair of the student affairs committee, I was an anchor seminar workshop leader, and I have been shadowing the current ASUP President so I can be prepared and hit the ground running.”

Kianna Storm. Running for ASUP Vice President

Kianna Storm is running for ASUP Vice President. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“My running mate Kaya and I are excited to work as important representatives of your student voices. Our campaign is built on forming connections, increasing communication and prioritizing collaboration. As vice president, I hope to assume the current duties and take on new projects that students want to see executed.

“As the next vice president, I would like to work to bring more collaboration between ASUP services, clubs, administration and the student body as a whole. One of the most valuable things we have here is our community which is why I want to work to involve as many people as possible. I recognize that the student body here at the University of Portland is very driven, capable and passionate. As vice president, I want to make sure these voices are heard and prioritized. I want to continue pushing the presence of ASUP through our various services, making sure we are getting as many groups involved as possible.  While continuing to work with the university administration so that we can govern as effectively as possible for the student body.

“As the only candidate with prior experience serving on the executive board, I have already been building relationships with the administration and representing student concerns to them. I am not afraid of having hard conversations because at the end of the day I know we all want the same thing: to see this campus and its students succeed both on the Bluff and beyond. As the director of communications I have worked within ASUP to make ourselves more present and available to the student body. My experience has allowed me to understand the inner workings of ASUP and how the senate and executive board interact with each other. I have also started shadowing the current Vice President, Megan Meckey, preparing me to assume this position and facilitate a successful transition so that I can hit the ground running next year.”

Amber Senken. Running for director of finance 

Amber Senken is running for director of finance. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“As a business student majoring in Finance and OTM, I have the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this role. My campaign is based on two key values: transparency and trust. I believe that these values are essential for fostering a positive and productive relationship between students and the Associated Students organization.

“If elected as director of finance, I have specific plans to make UP a better place for students. I plan to implement measures to ensure transparency and accountability in financial operations. This will include regular reporting on budgetary decisions and increased accessibility of financial information. I will also work to establish regular communication channels between the organization and students, and prioritize student feedback in decision-making.

“What sets me apart from other candidates is my track record of being proactive and result-driven. As a business school senator, I have already executed or planned events and changes and I am committed to bringing this same level of dedication to the role of director of finance. I am not just running to fill the role — I have concrete plans for making UP a better place and improving the student experience.”

Ronit Chopra. Running for director of finance 

Ronit Chopra is running for director of finance. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“If elected, the first thing I am going to do is create a Financial Management Board (FMB) Instagram. This Instagram will help increase FMB awareness as well as publicizing members. For clubs, this will be super helpful as it will be another mode of contact more immediate than email. We will also post updates and reminders on important deadlines. I hope that the new Instagram will help zero clubs miss their deadlines next year. 

“My second goal is to increase communication and transparency between FMB and club members. Last semester, each FMB member was assigned a random assortment of clubs to email and provide support for. I want to up this a notch by making it a requirement for FMB members to attend at least one meeting for the clubs they were assigned. For clubs, this will put a face to the name and the FMB member can act as a liaison for the club during FMB meetings. This will help create another mode of communication and will give clubs immediate contact if they need anything from FMB. It will also give FMB an updated idea of how the club functions, how many members there are active and what are the club's immediate needs. 

“Finally, I want to create a public forum where clubs can see each other’s updated budgets. We, as controllers, can see it but I want it to be public. By publicizing the updated budget, I envision clubs reaching out to each other for money when needed. This will cultivate more relationships between clubs as well as foster new collaborations.

“I have spent the 2022-2023 school year as a school of Business Senator and a member/controller for the Financial Management Board. I got firsthand experience on how ASUP and FMB function and helped navigate a tough budgeting season. As director of finance, I will be transparent, available and compassionate. I promise that I will work my hardest to make sure every club can function financially.” 

Claire Vondenkamp. Running for CPB director

Claire Vondenkamp is running for CPB director. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“In the role of the CPB director, I want to encourage creativity in the CPB team. After COVID, the student body has been interested in creating new traditions. I think keeping most of our iconic events is important, ex. Riverboat, Rock the Bluff and Dance of the Decades, but adding new, creative ones like Flavors of PDX is super exciting. I also want to continue improving the quality of our new events so they are just as fun as traditional events. For example, with Flavors of PDX, our new all-you-can-eat night market, I want to implement two separate times that students can come to the night market and sell 400 tickets for each time slot. This will help eliminate the long lines and give students the opportunity to try all of the food offerings! 

“Although I am running unopposed, I am super excited and motivated to do well in this position. I have been shadowing the current CPB Director, Jessica Yoshioka and learning what responsibilities she has and how to do them. I also have a great relationship with the CPB team and am taking all of their feedback and advice on what they want to see for this role next year.”

Stephanie Vasquez and Erin McKibbin. Running for College of Arts and Sciences co-senators 

Stephanie Vasquez (right) and Erin McKibbin (left) are running for CAS co-senators. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Vasquez.

“Our main objectives include transparency, inclusion and advocacy. As CAS Senators we strive to provide transparent information that assists the clubs and students here on campus. We want to make sure that this information is available and accessible for all. Creating an inclusive environment for everyone at the university is a value of ours. We plan to work with the administration and students to push DEIJ  (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice) initiatives and support the voices of marginalized groups on campus. But our main goal as CAS Senators is to work with the student body to help create the change you want to see and to advocate for your needs in CAS and in Senate meetings. One way we plan on implementing this is by meeting with clubs like SASA, GSA and other diversity clubs on campus outside of our Senate meeting times. Communicating and getting involved with the leaders of these clubs will be an important first step that brings us towards achieving our goals. 

“We are currently lacking consistency in our leadership and we are not being represented to the extent that our student body deserves. With only one standing CAS Senator at the moment, due to preventable and unfortunate issues that arose, we believe that having both of us as members of ASUP would offer much needed value, unity and representation. We understand that we are representing not only ourselves but our constituents as well and will actively seek out their opinions. From being previously involved in the Senate and as leaders in our clubs and communities, we have already been in leadership positions that require reliability. This reliable commitment to change is what ultimately sets us apart from our opponents.”

Nano Muñoz Navarro. Running for CAS senator

Nano Muñoz Navarro is running for CAS senator. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“My plans if elected — alongside my running mate Blaise Mallory — are to push for more support for DEIJ initiatives from both ASUP and UP. I will work to establish gender-neutral restrooms in every building on campus and work towards a gender-neutral residence hall wing. I will also make changes in ASUP to ensure that our student government properly represents and works for the students of our school. While these goals may seem unattainable, they are not, and I can work with other senators to make them happen through cooperation with the University Administration.

“What sets me apart from other candidates in this race is my experience and my goals if elected to office. I served as an ASUP Senator this past year and was part of the committee which got gender-neutral restrooms in almost every building on campus. I also held my office hours publicly and actively reached out to my constituents, showing my dedication to representing CAS. My goals are detailed and specific and are things that I am confident we can accomplish if elected to ASUP.”

Shane Ruyle. Running for Sophomore senator

Shane Ruyle is running for Sophomore senator. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“Running for ASUP Sophomore Senator, my focuses are student participation, accessibility and community integration. I aim to foster community engagement with existing parts of Portland to bring about meaningful social change. My unique perspective, informed by marginalized viewpoints, will enable me to provide valuable insight into areas for improvement that might otherwise be overlooked. By leveraging my influence in budget and programming decisions, I hope to help UP prioritize equity, accessibility and alliance-building with a diverse range of social movers in our city. UP has the potential to play a pivotal role in initiating and influencing the growth and changes of a broader population. 

“My specific plans include an ASUP taskforce to address equity grievances, QR codes to feedback forms for ASUP issues placed frequently around campus and larger publicizing of ASUP's role and its resources for the student body. I plan to address accessibility issues in buildings like Romanaggi, Mago Hunt and the dorms, prioritize supporting the Moreau Center in their staffing and funding and prioritize support for reciprocal community aid initiatives. I plan to connect Green Dot programs with local anti-violence organizations, expand resources for students to a larger Portland community and conduct a survey-based study into financial accessibility to all parts of UP's functions. Learn more about my policy proposals and platform at my campaign website

“In ways big and small, since coming to UP, I've felt the effects of permeating classism, queerphobia and residual lack of access from systemic inequities. I'm approaching a role in ASUP from a critical perspective, but as someone who believes in the potential of this school enough to push for change. I hope to be a face students can identify with enough to confide in. I hope to be trusted to push for radical solutions, even if my unrealistic ideas serve merely to ideologically push the envelope. I come to this ASUP election with a priority of equity, accessibility and community integration. Activities that meet these needs will always take precedence over recreational ones that don't. While other students in the senate can serve the role of advocating for robust student activities, I'm focusing on basic needs for all before comforts for some.”

Kainalu Gomera. Running for Sophomore class senator

Kainalu Gomera is running for Sophomore class senator. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“My name is Kainalu Gomera, I am proud to have been born and raised in Hilo, Hawai'i. I am a rising Sophomore majoring in Political Science and Government Affairs. I'm the type of person that would volunteer in High School clubs, then later in the day go to the beach with friends. One of the greatest opportunities I pull from is my internship experience working under one of my local state Senators. I loved his passion for diversity and inclusion, as well as his continuous pushing for the environment and home. 

“From this I take the idea of leading with "Aloha." It is a word in the 'Ōlelo Hawai'i (Hawaiian language) which holds many meanings of greetings, spirit and compassion. I intend to truly love the work I do for ASUP and the constituents I serve. Leading with aloha means there will be many opportunities from those outsides of ASUP to voice their opinions in a less intimidating manner. I want to better the communications between ASUP and the people they serve. I will do this by simple outreach. Having light conversations with people who don't often care or speak about ASUP would better the gap between UP and the student. I also understand most people don't want to read long bills or forms. I believe that it should be simplified for students in a manner that it is very simple to understand the goal, while also laying out the important plan of said goal. 

“I believe that each candidate for every position has something new and innovative to bring to ASUP and those they serve. I'm sure that each of us would work tirelessly to meet the results and expectations set forth by those served and represented. Any choice made by the voter is to the best of their opinion and information gathered. One thing that I would bring to the table is the openness of the people's voice and keeping the integrity and transparency in my office. I stand by these things and believe that it's you, the students, that we work for. You're the most important part of ASUP and feel that sometimes you forget it. I encourage you to make the most informed vote during this election and beyond.”

Aidan Sanchez. Running for Sophomore class senator

Aidan Sanchez is running for Sophomore class senator. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

“During my first term on ASUP Senate, I advocated on behalf of the Class of 2026 to the appropriate committees, executive board and University administration. I have been the primary author of multiple pieces of legislation and have supported other senate initiatives and legislation that have worked to enhance the student experience here on the Bluff. I have also served as a member on the Financial Management Board, a group of students appointed by the Director of Finance that reviews each club budget and author a final overall budget to be approved by the ASUP Senate. Being on FMB has allowed me to gain experience and insight on how our school operates, which ultimately helps me be of better service to you, my peers. In addition to FMB, I am a member of the Student Affairs Committee and have worked on collaborations with athletics and other departments at UP.

“If re-elected, I hope to continue serving our class by continuing to write more meaningful legislation to better our experience on campus. Some ideas that I have been looking into and working on that I hope to implement next year include monthly or bi-monthly Pilot Express shuttle rides to grocery stores, more events that promote mental health and further collaboration with the wellness center, emphasizing transparency and letting constituents know what is happening in their student government and working with the director of finance to make it more clear where the money is going in the ASUP budget.

“To the class of 2026: I have the experience, drive and passion to continue to lead our class next year. I pledge to be a leader of integrity and honesty if I am given the honor of being able to serve another term on the ASUP Senate. I will work to enact the change that you want to see on our campus. You are all always welcome to my office hours in St. Mary’s Student Center on Wednesdays from 10:30-12:30! I hope I can rely on your vote this week. For more information on my campaign feel free to visit my campaign website.” 

Ian Martin. Running for Senior class senator. 

Ian Martin is running for Senior senator. Photo courtesy of ASUP.

Hey everyone! I’m a Junior OTM major running for the Senior Senator position with Rosabelle Barrozo. I was a new addition to ASUP as the Junior Senator in early February, but I am running for ASUP again for next year so that I may continue my work for our class. I feel that our class in particular had a rough start on connecting with each other. From Zoom break-out rooms in our freshman year to normal classrooms again, I made it a personal mission of mine to connect with many different people, a passion I now wish to share with all of you. I am hoping to create networking events and mixers for connecting upper-classmen, as well as providing our class with more focused career-development opportunities. I take pride in being an active listener and extremely approachable. These traits will help me bridge the gap between the student body and ASUP by taking constructive feedback from all of you with a smile while working swiftly to incorporate your ideas and wishes into legislation. It would be my absolute pleasure to work for all of you and if I am elected as your Senior Senator I will work tirelessly to ensure your voices are heard!

Kate Cuadrado is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at