Danny Halawi

When my mother’s large family immigrated to the U.S. 20 years ago from Syria, they all stuck together and decided to go to UC Davis. It’s been a second home to me ever since. That’s why I’m so excited to contribute to the campus in my own way, by running for ASUCD Senate. Ever since I was 6 years old, I’ve been fascinated by math, science, and building exciting things and approaching problems in creative ways, which is why I’m majoring in Computer Science.

I’ve noticed there are certain communities on our campus whose needs do not get the amount of attention they deserve, most notably STEM students. Because of this, inclusivity is the goal of my campaign. I believe it is essential to provide a voice for underrepresented peoples, such STEM majors like myself and those in the Arabic and Greek communities. My highest aim is to ensure that all student’s ideas and concerns are addressed and respected throughout the campus.

Growing up, I was bullied many times simply because of my Middle Eastern background. But my mother taught me that treating others with kindness, and respect, would win out those who respond to situations with cruelty and disrespect. Ever since my last day of high school, when the discrimination for my beliefs and heritage ended, I vowed to treat everyone how I want to be treated: honorably, with respect, and with compassion. That is why it is extremely crucial that I bring those values to my campaign. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that CS and STEM majors receive a larger degree of representation within our student government that currently neglects them. That means providing more resources for those in STEM, by collaborating with the students and their professors, while making sure that there is an appropriate amount of oversight in any legislation concerning them and their interests. But it isn’t just STEM students who need a bigger voice.

Before the catastrophic civil war began in Syria, my family and I would visit the Middle East and stay there for the entire summer. This was such a privilege because my parents have always supported my Arabic studies, and encouraged me to stay in touch with our Syrian roots. But while I and many others have always seen being Arab as a beauty and a blessing, it has become a dangerous thing to be proud of. In the media, we are associated with ‘terrorism’, and as a result have been negatively portrayed to the public over and over again. This must change: it is essential that there are more events on campus that highlight what it truly means to be Arab, in order to better connect with our campus and our community. For instance, I plan to hold insightful informational workshops to aid in this understanding amongst students regarding the Middle East and its culture. This way, we can collectively create a more welcoming, safe and respectful campus overall, that is understanding and welcoming of all backgrounds. In addition, I am adamant about aiding our student refugees by acquiring more grants and scholarships for them. And, although my roots lie within the Middle Eastern community, I’m striving to make this campus a place that is helpful and caring for all communities and their struggles. I want to reach out to these peoples and show them that ASUCD is an institution that is ready to lend its hands to everyone.

Another community I’m extremely proud to be a part of is my fraternity and Greek life in general. These organizations have been my anchor here; they’ve instilled motivation, devotion, and appreciation for charity work for those who are less fortunate. While it may be a surprise to some, despite being upwards of 10% of the university’s population, there is a serious lack of quality representation for us on campus. There are definitely ways that ASUCD can work hand-in-hand with these groups in order to illustrate their commitments and dedication to creating a prosperous, safe and accepting student body. For instance, I hope to bridge the two together by participating in both Senate meetings and Inter Fraternal Council (IFC)/Panhellenic meetings and acting as a mediator for the two. Furthermore, I strive to promote awareness and fundraising opportunities by creating and facilitating an annual “Greek Day”, where all the members of the community can congregate and introduce themselves, even to those who wouldn’t normally associate themselves with them, and find ways to find commonality with the campus.

In conclusion, you may not know me well yet, but I’m going to do my best in order to act on my words and ensure the interests of students as a whole here on campus. And that’s why I’ve chosen to survey 500+ students to get their take on what’s important to them, in addition to the communities who have already reached out for help. Together, with your help, I believe we can truly make enduring and meaningful change here at Davis. Thank you.