Angus Beverly has seen more students engage with local issues since he became a board member of the Westwood Neighborhood Council.
Beverly, a student at UCLA School of Law, is ending his term on the Westwood Neighborhood Council, which advises the city council on Westwood issues, after graduating on May 11. Beverly has been a board member for more than five years and served the chair of the council’s student engagement committee, which was formed to help represent student interests in Westwood.
Beverly’s exit from the council comes before a vote in May to create a new council in Westwood. Westwood Forward, a coalition of students, homeowners and business owners, submitted an application to create a new neighborhood council in December, arguing the current council does not adequately represent students or address their concerns.
Beverly said he thinks students should have participated more in the current council instead of trying to form a new council. He added he thinks students have overstated a lack of student representation and thinks the council works fine overall.
“There’s lots of exaggerations of ‘oppression’ from students,” he said. “I wish those students would have gotten involved instead of saying there’s no student voices, when I’ve been on the council this entire time.”
Beverly added he thinks students have more influence than they use, and could have done more to win seats in the current council.
“The best way for students to get involved is to show up to meetings, advocate and get votes,” he said. “They could have won this election if they got out to vote.”
Beverly served on various committees, including the land use and traffic and transportation committees. During his time on the council, he was able to get the council to pass several policy changes, including introducing left turn signs, building crosswalks and addressing other traffic issues that students and other stakeholders brought before the traffic and transportation committee.
Beverly said he first considered joining the council as an undergraduate student because of his interest in using local advocacy to benefit students.
“So much of advocacy at a state school is focused on state issues and the government and I was just interested in how local organizations can affect students, which drew me into the neighborhood council,” he said.
Beverly said his time on the council taught him the importance of building relationships with different stakeholders.
“Business owners, homeowners, even federal officials all helped me to get issues passed that I was working towards,” he said. “If we can’t work together, we’re never going to get anything done in Westwood.”
Beverly also said that being a part of the council was a major part of his college experience, and helped shape his career choice. He plans to work at a law firm in Brentwood after graduation.
Council president Lisa Chapman said she thinks Beverly has been essential in maintaining the council’s relationship with students.
“He’s always wanted to be super involved with the student population and the council as a conduit,” she said.
Chapman added that Beverly’s easy-going personality and strong work ethic defined his time on the council.
“(Beverly) was always more mature for his age, even when he was an undergrad. He doesn’t get riled easily, he’s a great listener,” she said. “He always weighed both sides – it’s served him well on the council.”
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said he thinks Beverly has been one of the most influential members on the council because of his familiarity with Westwood issues.
Thomas said he was impressed with Beverly’s knowledge of parking issues in Los Angeles, including his understanding that the Village needs to maximize space utilization for parking spots.
Although the association and the council operate independently of one another, Thomas said Beverly would discuss potential partnerships between both Westwood bodies, including on issues concerning parking and the Westwood Village Farmers Market.
Beverly said that although he is leaving the council, he plans to stay engaged in the community.
“This council gave me a sense of family and community,” he said. “I definitely want to stay involved.”