Tuesday, January 22

USAC Endorsement: Savannah Dianne Badalich for Student Wellness Commissioner


The Daily Bruin Editorial Board endorsed candidates for all 13 offices in this week’s undergraduate student government elections.

The editorial board represents the stance of the Daily Bruin, and is composed of four standing members – the editor-in-chief, managing editor, news editor and opinion editor – in addition to five staff representatives.

The endorsement process took place the week before voting began. Endorsements were primarily based on a 20-minute interview that three to four members of the editorial board conducted with each candidate. During these interviews, candidates were able to discuss their platforms, knowledge of the Undergraduate Students Association Council and prior experience.

The board selected endorsements for each office after discussing each candidate and taking a vote. All endorsed candidates received a majority vote from the board.

We encourage students to use our endorsements as a starting point for their own research – and to vote in the elections.

See who the board endorsed:

Though the specifics of Savannah Badalich’s platforms are underwhelming, we endorse her because she has identified key campus wellness issues.

Badalich’s plans for the Student Wellness Commission aim to teach students about sexual assault, nutrition and mental health. But Badalich, an uncontested candidate, presented few novel ways to engage students on these topics, despite her insistence on “innovation” as a key to her office’s success.

Badalich has worked this year in the commission as the director of the Student Health Investigative Task Force, which conducts research about student-relevant health subjects.

In an interview with the board, Badalich said she planned to organize tables in Bruin Plaza and to host panels to discuss personal health issues. This board questions the efficacy of hosting such public events on issues such as mental or sexual health.

Given the private nature of these subjects, Badalich would do well to push education efforts in a more intimate setting. The Sex and Cookies program, which brings medical and public health students to the Hill to engage residents in small-scale conversations about sexual health, is a model Badalich would do well to follow.

Badalich also placed emphasis on helping students develop healthy eating habits. Specifically, Badalich said she would bring nutritionists to the Hill’s dining halls to demonstrate to students how to construct specific meals, including gluten-free and vegan meals, and would organize a large panel of nutritionists to discuss different diets.

This board urges Badalich to focus on enacting the part of this platform that revolves around the dining halls – a plan that would allow nutritionists to engage with students in the context of an eatery.

With a year of experience within the commission, Badalich will be well equipped to take on the new position, but she must re-examine the execution of her platforms to reach the UCLA community in an effective manner.

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