Jumoke Maraiyesa: Student Representative of ASUCD

Jumoke Maraiyesa has just become one of the most important people in your life.

Well, okay, one of the most important people in your life as a student. With a passion for UC Davis and its students' welfare, Jumoke has begun her journey as one of the newest members of the ASUCD Senate team. Titling herself a Student Representative rather than a Senator so as to better suit the role she has filled, her future as a member of UC Davis' student government is clear: it will be one of humility, perseverance, and positive change for our community.

As a political science and sociology major (with an emphasis in law and society), Jumoke has had her fair share of training in affecting change in society. With her degree in mind, Jumoke's main goal during her term is to revamp and renovate the Pantry, a sort of a mini-store led by ASUCD that provides food, toiletries, menstrual products, and hygiene products free of charge to any student.

But, because this amazing service is hidden from the public in Lower Freeborn Hall (the building directly across from the MU bus stop), many students do not know about it or are uneasy about the trek down below ground in an unfamiliar, outdated-looking building. Jumoke hopes to change the Pantry during her term: she, and others who stand behind her, are pushing to revamp the Pantry to look like UC Irvine's model

"I want to give major credit to the Pantry, the Chair Director [Rosie Martinez], and all of the people who work there trying to renovate the Pantry," she said. Jumoke gives the most credit to Martinez, saying that she is instrumental in the attempts to renovate the Pantry having worked with the Aggie Food Connection, CalFresh, and other organizations to make this change happen.

Together with Martinez, ASUCD, and the Global Food Initiative, Jumoke hopes to help to completely reinvent the Pantry. This change would include a more visible Pantry located in the MU, more items options in the Pantry, and even cooking classes. "This way, people can learn how to use what they get in the Pantry," Jumoke explained.

Clearly, she has the students in mind — but what about herself? As any person in a political position, Jumoke must face obstacles in the wake of her role as a Student Representative.

"I have to think of my mental health and my sleep schedule of course, but my main obstacle is to ensure that I am helping all students, and not just members of the black community," she said. "I don't want this term to be about race or about focusing on one group, but really about representing everyone, not just my community."

Image source: Raul Morales

Yet while her new role in ASUCD will force many road blocks and stresses upon her, there will also be a magnitude of wealth that she gains from this position. In addition to aiding the Pantry and other community-wide efforts, Jumoke will also reap some exciting skills towards becoming a future lawyer. According to her, ASUCD will be instrumental in helping to teach her to write legislation, read critically, translate law jargon into laymen's terms, and (of course) prepare her for long, sleepless nights in the law field — because, as she said, "The law never sleeps."

With such high hopes, our next question is, will she someday become President of ASUCD? Her answer?

Sadly, no.

"I'm aspiring to make a change on campus," she said. "I don't really foresee myself becoming President." 

And, though this may not be our favorite answer considering how great she'll be for Davis students, we can support her response. Someone who is willing to turn down a higher office to focus solely on making change? I can appreciate and accept that.

Congratulations to Jumoke and all of her Senate colleagues — we are all rooting for positive change and a great year ahead!

Cover image source: Chris Przybylo