USSA / UCSA Experience

As I finally begin settling down to the humdrum of my life, I’d like to talk about the experiences I’ve had within the past couple of weeks.

As a student at UCSB, I was humbled to represent my university as a student delegate to two prestigious conferences, United States Student Association (USSA) and University of California Student Association (UCSA). Running on an average of 3–4 hours of sleep every night for the past 11 days has definitely taken a toll on my sleeping schedule, but the amount of information I have learned is oddly one of the most impressionable experiences of this summer.

At USSA, I was given the amazing opportunity to network and link up with a ton of student leaders/activists across the country. I met individuals from as “local” as Oregon to students from Massachusetts. Being thrown into one of the most inclusive spaces I have ever been in was probably the toughest part of the conference, thinking about what I had to say at least 5 minutes before verbalizing it. However, the amount of people/knowledge was one of the most inspiring parts about this conference.

This conference also served as a student congress, with a whole day (roughly 10–13 hours worth) dedicated to discussing and passing referendums to be put initiated as movements across college campuses nationwide.

Fortunately, I was humbled enough to be elected first as a Vice Chair for the National Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus, but “upgraded” to serve as the Co-Vice Chair for the Golden West Pacific Region. With this new position, I honestly hope to head/support/create campaigns this upcoming year (sidenote: Art Mota if ur reading this it’s too late. jk I rlly want to work on the State of Emergency 2.0 campaign hehe).

Wrapping up that 6-day conference was exhausting, but two days later I was back on the road for the next conference: UCSA. Staying locally in a Marriott Hotel in Irvine (and almost getting evicted, but that’s for another day), this 4-day weekend was just as enlightening. The sheer amount of passion by numerous students I met throughout the four days we were there was definitely inspiring.

Different from USSA, I was heavily involved with creating and strategizing for proposed UC-wide initiative: #LetsTalk. Personally, as a self-identifying API, mental health services are typically seen as a hinderance and almost as an excuse within the API community. This disconnect only worsens the well-being of many individuals within the API community, myself included. The purpose of this was to create a campaign centered around addressing the improvement of mental health services in the UC system as well as advocating for increased diversity, accessibility, and outreach for these aforementioned services. With the hard work of my colleague Siavash, the Mental Health Coordinator at UCSB, the campaign overwhelmingly won! For the next two years, #LetsTalk will be the new UC-initiative and I can’t be any more prouder.

But of course, this conference was a learning experience for me. I had the amazing honor of meeting Harmony, from my own delegation, who compelled me to also work/support on another campaign, Beyond Survival. Beyond Survival was the 2nd-place campaign that seeks to provide an alleviation from food and housing insecurities. As an incoming 2nd year who will be living off-campus next year, it didn’t hit me until then the growing concern of my finances: will I have enough money to pay for rent, school, food?

So, although Beyond Survival did not get chosen to be the UC campaign, I hope that I have it within my capacities to still push for that type of campaign at SB.

All in all, the past couple of weeks was probably the most physically draining but most rewarding academic experience ever. From the late night shindigs to the excruciatingly painful opinions of Republicans that I had to sit through, I am now very excited to take down Napolitano!

Next medium article context: roadtrip.