Ashwin Bhat

Ashwin Bhat
  • DFC: At Large 2-year

  • Campaign: United UO

  • Area of Study: Economics, Business, Philosophy

  • Hometown: Portland, Oregon

  • Pronouns: He, Him, His

What is the purpose of Student Government at the University of Oregon?

The purpose of student government is to advocate, and push student issues. One of those issues is making sure that every student on campus has a voice in their student government. The student government is meant to work together with other members of the University of Oregon community to provide a mutually benefitting best outcome. This requires a student government comprised of students from a diverse set of backgrounds, values that promote student well-being, and policies that will create visible changes on campus.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office, specifically the Department Finance Committee, because there are many organizations and groups that have been denied funding increases despite having an incredible array of quality reasons as to why they should receive that funding. It's my firm belief that the way the university currently handles funding does not reflect the interests of the student body, and I want to help change that. From safety mechanisms, such as safe ride, to professional development clubs, such as UO Forensics, I want to increase responsible funding and to make sure that every organization and group has a voice and opportunity to receive university subsidies, especially if they can articulate the need.

What relevant experience, qualifications, passions, and/or skills do you have?

As a candidate, I believe I'm qualified to facilitate the financial aspect of the university because of the organizational success I've had in the past. There are three competitive fields in which I've had to use leadership and financial judgment to pursue excellence: robotics, start-up ventures, and debate. Beginning with robotics, it's a hefty financial investment, and sponsorship and corporate deals were a key element to success. I've successfully landed sponsorship deals with large companies such as Intel, Autodesk, AutoCAD, FreeGeek, etc. In this way, I will find financial sponsorship opportunities for the university to bolster the budget. For start-up ventures, I co-founded a entrepreneurial venture surrounding the development and financing of an autonomous, precision-agriculture drone through start-up pitches with venture capitalists, angel investors, and academic investors. I've landed deals with Oregon farmers and local investors, as well as expressed interest from a professor at Emory University. This also required careful financial allocation to the various sectors and aspects of the business to ensure that no part went dry or didn't have sufficient funding. This demonstrates that I know how to carefully plan and execute ways to keep the cash flow running and how to manage it in a responsible fashion. Finally, my high school began with ten students in my freshman year to more than seventy students by my senior year. I was in charge of sustaining and gaining finances to subsidize the costs of tournaments and travel to make debate accessible... and it worked. Costs were cut by as much as 75% for each tournament. This shows that I know how to make things cost effective and how to optimize spending with whatever current funds we would have. The point is that money is an integral part of success and I know how to handle money; I have lead all three groups in the competitive fields above to national championships.

If you are elected, how will you leverage your position to advance the needs of students?

First and foremost, we must hear the voices of students and reflect their interests accordingly. Therefore, I pledge to create a open-committee hearing in which students are able to drop-in to scheduled DFC meetings to listen to the decision-making process and to provide their opinions on the issues. This means that we encourage people to articulate their values on campus and how we can help from a financial perspective. Additionally, we will hold scheduled meetings for various groups on campus to pitch to us about gaining increased financial support. If we are, for whatever reason, unable to increase funding, we will make sure to provide portable strategies and methods in which you can increase funding outside the scope of the university with local fundraising opportunities and game-plans.

Is there any other information you want voters to know about you or your candidacy?

The United UO slate is here to represent you. We are determined to hear you, talk to you, and work for you. Diversity, opportunity, and a commitment to excellence is what we will strive for everyday, and we won't ever stop pushing for your values. Change begins with inclusion.