Monday, December 9

USAC General Representative Addison Huddy’s office fosters transparent, inclusive growth

SUBMITTED BY: Carl Betzler and Aaron Farber

For much of recent memory, many students have perceived the work of the Undergraduate Students Association Council as unclear and often inconsequential. The board of 13 students seems more a club than a council, more exclusive than inclusive.

After last year’s caustic elections for USAC, the campus was divided and disengaged. To dispel students’ apathy, our elected officials had to reinvent student government to show that it is not about getting your slice of pie, but finding a way to share it with all. General Representative Addison Huddy’s office has focused on creating projects that will directly benefit students and make a lasting impact on campus life.

With only one short year to address the gaps in campus life, Huddy’s office has focused more on projects than programming, defying convention in student government. The accomplishments will be felt by all Bruins for not just his term, but long after.

According to the state auditor, textbook prices have risen 30 percent in the past four years. Students are now relying more on Amazon or other online sources to save money. But for mandatory course readers, students are still at the mercy of publishers. Launching this summer, advertisements will appear in course readers, which will reduce prices and keep more money in students’ pockets.

UCLA’s status as a premier research institution can be a blessing and a curse. The theoretical focus of coursework often puts students at a disadvantage for positions at the most competitive firms in business and consulting; recruiters desire the real-world business skills present more in other universities’ coursework.

Huddy’s office has partnered with student business groups to successfully create UCLA’s first-ever class taught using case-based methodology. Over the past years, progress toward the business major had been stunted, but Economics 188B, the first course of its kind, is laying the groundwork for a new business program at UCLA. This opportunity will give students applicable business skills.

To increase transparency, Huddy’s office created a USAC Facebook page, a YouTube channel and completed short two- to three-minute video summaries of USAC meetings for this quarter. Huddy’s office has worked to outline USAC funding to engage students and make the process more inclusive. The office has also created an internship program to engage first-year students in USAC.

With the rising crime rate in Westwood, students have become more reliant on Community Service Officers for safe escort, but CSOs’ hours end too early. Huddy’s office is piloting a program that will provide transportation back from Westwood after 1 a.m., filling a current need that affects all students.

By holding inclusiveness as a guiding principle, Huddy’s office is reinventing student government, successfully creating projects that directly benefit students. Huddy’s office is showing that student government can work for and be open to all. Student government cannot be about divvying up a pie, but about sharing it with all.

Betzler is a second-year economics and political science student. Farber is a fourth-year political science student.

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