Tuesday, December 10

USAC officers evaluate progress


In May 2003, six candidates who later became elected
commissioners of the undergraduate student government made goals
and promises expected to be fulfilled sometime during their
term.

For members of the Undergraduate Students Association Council,
the beginning of the winter quarter means councilmembers have four
months left to fulfill their campaign goals and promises before
their terms end.

With eight months since her induction, Financial Supports
Commissioner Erica Husse believes she is on the right track to
fulfilling her campaign goals.

Husse said the biggest accomplishment of her office was the book
lending program, which aids financially disadvantaged students by
loaning them textbooks at no charge. Husse wanted to revive the
program after it experienced years of low patronage.

But despite its relative success fall quarter, many students on
financial aid still remain unaware of the program because of
insufficient advertising.

Student Welfare Commissioner Janet Chiang said working closely
with other USAC members has been her biggest achievement thus
far.

In the fall quarter alone, several events have resulted from the
collective effort of several commissions.

World AIDS Day, celebrated Dec. 1, was held by both the
president’s office and the Student Welfare Commission , and
November’s Academic Empowerment Week was co-sponsored by the
Academic Affairs Commission and the office of General
Representative Linda Lam.

Because last year’s council was heavily criticized for a
lack of cooperation between members, a universal goal among all
councilmembers was to make council more cohesive by having officers
collaborate on projects.

But council’s agreement on most issues is due in large
part to the domination of the Students First! slate on council.
After General Representative Josh Lawson cut his ties from the
Students United for Reform and Equality slate, much opposition from
SURE has not been made. Husse is the only remaining SURE
member.

Other commissioners say they are ahead of schedule in fulfilling
campaign goals.

Academic Affairs Commissioner Sophia Kozak said she wanted to
educate students on academic issues such as a proposed diversity
requirement and the minimum progress requirement. The latter
mandates students entering the College of Letters and Science after
2001 to take a set minimum course load every quarter.

In November, the Academic Affairs Commission held Academic
Empowerment Week, which fulfilled some of Kozak’s campaign
goals. But Kozak’s campaign goal of reforming these academic
issues has not been realized. There is currently no diversity
requirement, and no changes have been made to the minimum progress
requirement.

While other commissioners claim success from fulfilling parts of
their campaign goals, other commissioners note success even when
their offices did not produce substantial results in the fall
quarter.

Facilities Commissioner Tutram Nguyen said her office’s
biggest accomplishment has been working with other commissioners on
the “No on Prop 54″ campaign.

“The commission itself has not been able to do much, but I
think we really attempted to be more involved with other
councilmembers in terms of programming,” Nguyen said.

But Nguyen has not followed through on her goals of creating an
informational workshop on event planning, or expanding the Ackerman
Union study hall.

Campus Events Commissioner Jason Gaulton said although his
office put on several programs in the fall quarter, there were
still some shortcomings.

Gaulton said the speaker staff of his office, which is
responsible for overseeing events ranging from comedic to political
speakers, was revamped, making it harder for them to get work
done.

But Gaulton said his office maintained its traditional programs
such as the Welcome Week concert, the two-dollar film series, and
bonfire rallies.

Community Service Commissioner Justin Schreiber said his office
experienced success in terms of establishing relationships with
many community service organizations on campus ““ one of his
campaign goals.

Schreiber said lack of knowledge in planning events heavily
affected his office.

“Some programs need a better understanding beforehand,
such as what is required in getting people to attend events … we
had to learn as we went along,” Schreiber said.

On November 15, the Community Service Commission held the first
ever Community Service Day, which saw the low turnout of 20
students, a far cry from the capacity crowd of 200 the organizers
anticipated.

“We have a good idea now of what is required in putting on
a large-scale program,” Schreiber said.

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