UCLA Community Programs Office has raised student work hours and expanded projects with the extra funds received from increased student fees.
CPO has received $603,000 from the 2016 Social Justice Referendum, said Antonio Sandoval, the office’s director. CPO used the additional funds to increase student worker wages and address food insecurity on campus by improving both the quality and quantity of food in the CPO Food Closet.
The Social Justice Referendum raised undergraduate student fees by $24.99 per quarter to fund a variety of retention and outreach programs, including those spearheaded by groups affiliated with CPO and the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Academic Affairs Commission.
CPO is an umbrella department for student-run projects that work to increase access to college and student retention. It houses programs such as the Student Initiated Outreach Committee and the Campus Retention Committee.
Sandoval said the majority of the referendum money was allocated to the SIOC and the CRC, which used the funds to increase student salaries and work hours and to fund community engagement efforts. He added that students in the committees were responsible for deciding how the CRC and SIOC should spend their increased funds.
“The Campus Retention Committee and Student Initiated Outreach Committee, which are both student-majority committees, decided this year’s funding priorities,” Sandoval said.
Susan Martinez, former chair of the SIOC and a fifth-year sociology student, said she noticed the funds allowed CPO-housed programs to provide more resources to students and the community.
“We were able to provide growth for the first time instead of being forced to cut back (on CPO programs),” she said. “We’ve also had growth in options in the food closet thanks to the referendum.”
The only part of the referendum funds that went directly to the CPO umbrella department was $35,000 used to fund the food closet, Sandoval said. That funding is the only permanent funding the food closet program has.
Salvador Martinez, a second-year applied mathematics student, said that although he was not a student when the referendum passed, he has benefited from the increased options that the food closet has from the extra funds.
“I’ve heard even the food closet wouldn’t have that much food,” Martinez said. “There’s a lot more quality food in the food closet now.”
The food closet also used funding to provide students with food boxes during the holiday season, including on Thanksgiving and during winter break, Sandoval said.
Joslyn Santana, the volunteer director for the CPO program’s Latino Student Health Project and a fourth-year environmental science student, said she thinks additional funding is important because programs like LSHP, which organizes health fairs for marginalized communities, provide services to students and help the greater UCLA community.
“The communities we serve are always vocal about how grateful they are for the services we provide,” Santana said. “Many have not seen a physician for a long time.”
Sandoval said CPO will continue to use the funds to support community projects and student worker wages.
“The goal has been to sustain existing efforts,” Sandoval said. “There are no current plans for changes in the way funding will be spent next year.”