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ASUH special elections are now open

Here are the candidates.

  • Updated
  • 5 min to read
ASUH_Office

Three students are running for the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa special elections. All candidates are running unopposed.

The online ballots were emailed to students today, and the elections will close on Oct. 12.

Once elected, the student senators will serve a one-year term.

ASUH represents more than 10,000 full-time undergraduate students. With a goal to serve all student interests, its responsibilities are: creating proposals, handling campus and financial affairs and lobbying at the state Legislature. 

Here are the candidates.

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Janna Mae Rabang is running for ASUH senator of the College of Education. 

Janna Mae Rabang | Running for the Senator of the College of Education

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Major: Secondary Education

Year: Junior 

Why are you running for office?

Being part of a team that has the main goal of providing every student the voice and assistance that they deserve is a concept I want to be part of. This position will allow me to shine light upon topics that I can put on the table.  I am running for office because I want to represent every voice and make sure they are heard. 

What skills/experiences can you bring to ASUH?

As an immigrant, adapting to many different situations that I have not faced before taught me how to be flexible and versatile. This type of skill is what I can bring to ASUH and it is helpful in terms of being able to adapt and comprehend in many different circumstances.

My strongest attribution is to be able to adapt and be determined when it comes to my duties. I take on every challenge head-on and do what I need to accomplish my goals, even when the challenge is difficult. 

What campus issues you would like to tackle and how? 

A campus issue I would like to tackle is the usage of plastic around the university. They are commonly used in the dining halls for food and eradicating this practice will help ensure a good path towards a more sustainable campus. One way to amend this issue would be proposing an alternative for the plastic bags and utensils that are being used. Instead of having plastic bags, students can bring their own reusable bags to carry out their food. It is a small change but small changes matter too.

Another campus issue I want to address is the string of moped thefts around campus. Mopeds are a common use for transportation for many students and it is important to help ensure their safety. I think that implementing better security at the parking spaces for the mopeds can be a huge boost in ensuring their safety. Installation of alarms and cameras can go a long way.

How will you lead the student body during the coronavirus pandemic?

During this tough time, it is important to keep in mind that everyone is facing this pandemic differently. With that in mind, I want to lead the student body with [as] much flexibility as I can and offer any help that I can give to the best of my ability. Flexible in terms of offering a helping hand or just simply lending an ear to listen to people's concerns. I want to lead the student body with compassion and let students know that I care about their voice, each and every one. 

Why should people vote for you?

I am open to suggestions and changes. People should vote for me because electing me to the position will also mean that they are electing their voices. I want to become the voice for everyone and voting me will allow me to do that. 

What's a fun fact about you?

The quarantine and lockdown made me reassess my choice of lifestyle. One month in, I decided to become a pescatarian and completely abandoned my love for chicken wings. Now, I enjoy exploring new recipes within my diet.

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Sara Taira is running for ASUH senator of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies. 

Sara Taira | Running for the Senator of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies

Pronoun: She/Her

Major: Asian Studies

Year: Sophomore

Why are you running for office? 

I am running for office because I would like to be able to be a voice, not only for my small School of Pacific and Asian studies, but also for the undergraduate student body as a whole.

What skills/experiences can you bring to ASUH?  

While I have no prior experience in student government, I have held multiple cabinet seats in my clubs in high school, as well as within my religious youth group, and I have previous work experience on campus. 

What campus issues you would like to tackle and how?  

One campus issue in particular that I would like to tackle is slowing down the spread of covid within the dorms. I stayed in the freshman dorms last semester, and am very aware of how impossible it is to stay completely isolated. While I am not dorming right now, I hope to be able to create some kind of plan that will hopefully minimize the spread. 

How will you lead the student body during the coronavirus pandemic?  

As a student coming from Los Angeles, I noticed that there was a significant lack of communication between the UH students here and the faculty on Oahu due to unclear future plans. I hope to strengthen the connection between the UH students from the mainland and other places that aren't Oahu in order for everyone to have a clearer understanding of the situation and be able to plan accordingly. 

Why should people vote for you?  

People should vote for me because I'm a hard worker that looks to get things done for my fellow students. 

What's a fun fact about you?

I really like to bake bread in my spare time!

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Amirah Kirwan is running for ASUH senator of the College of Engineering. 

Amirah Kirwan | Running for the Senator of the College of Engineering

Pronoun: She/Her

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year: Junior

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I want to help the students of the College of Engineering make the most of their time, their resources, and cultivate their skills in the right way to succeed in their field of choice.

I want to make sure opportunities in the Engineering Department do not pass people by. Some students struggle to effectively time manage as they take advanced classes. I want to make sure the time used to study does not stop students from obtaining real world experiences and utilizing their resources to benefit their education. 

What skills/experiences can you bring to ASUH?

I have leadership experience as the treasurer of the Video Game Developers Club at HPU. We created concepts, brainstormed, and worked together to make different video games.

I also have leadership experience working with STEAM in Reston, Virginia. It is a program designed to create an annual sculpture on a local nearby lake. It involves a lot of engineering, art, and teamwork to turn a vision into a reality. 

What campus issues you would like to tackle and how? 

I want to accomplish establishing connections during COVID-19, providing frequent aid regarding apps and stress relieving activities, and most importantly the successful utilization of engineering laboratories.

I want to make sure people do not get too stressed during COVID-19. There is no physical interaction, and it is difficult to communicate even with modern technology. Team building is a necessity for the engineering community as we move forward in the pandemic. This can be done by promoting activities that relieve stress and boost morale. Finally, reintegrating students back into the labs is very important. But it may not be possible with the pandemic at the moment. I want to make sure there are proper alternatives for engineering students, so their laboratory tuition does not go to waste.

How will you lead the student body during the coronavirus pandemic?

I personally believe the virus will not die down any time soon. I want people to be prepared for more online alternatives as COVID-19 continues. I want to invest in programs and exercises that  help the students cope effectively with this new way of learning. 

To reiterate, my main focus is the laboratories and students making the most of their lab tuition. If the coronavirus were to be subdued, I would effectively create phases to promote lab reintegration.

Why should people vote for you?

I have worked with people and organizations to make dreams become reality. Which is exactly what I plan to do if elected Senator. Students will get the most of their education and I will promote their vision to the best of my abilities. I encourage questions and suggestions as we enter this new year of ASUH. My email is akirwan@hawaii.edu. Please let me know your thoughts!

What's a fun fact about you?

I am constantly renovating my village in Animal Crossing. Hopefully one day it will be top tier!

Senior Staff Writer

Cassie Ordonio double majors in Journalism and Pacific Islands Studies. The former Bay Area native is a transfer student from City College of San Francisco where she previously served as Editor in Chief at The Guardsman.