Summer is a time for planning.
Newly elected officers of UCLA’s undergraduate student government will use the approximate three months out of school to prepare for their duties in the fall.
In addition to the office of the president, internal vice president and external vice president, the undergraduate students association committee consists of seven commissions and three general representative offices.
Each office is represented on the council table by one commissioner elected by the undergraduate student body, and every officer is allowed to delegate tasks to various staff members who work together within their respective offices. The number of staff members varies with each office.
“My staff will be working diligently by having summer retreats, developing curricula and beginning work on our campaigns to ensure that we maximize our time,” said D’Juan Farmer, financial supports commissioner.
Commissioners expressed interest in collaborating with other officers as well as focusing their time on programming efforts.
“During the summer, I’ll be working extensively with the cultural affairs commissioner, Abigail Faelnar, to coordinate Bruin Bash,” said Joanne Lin, campus events commissioner.
Bruin Bash is an all-campus event that takes place during Welcome Week in the fall and encompasses a concert and a dance to welcome incoming students. Last year, the event featured performances by hip-hop duo the Cool Kids, British artist Estelle and pop group Hellogoodbye.
In addition to frequent staff meetings within their respective offices, elected representatives will also meet with administrative staff in an effort to gain a head start for the fall.
Tim Mullins, facilities commissioner, said his office plans to meet with Bob Naples, the associate vice chancellor and dean of students, Nancy Greenstein, the UCPD director of police community services, and RenÃ©e Fortier, the director of UCLA transportation services.
“The purpose of these meetings will be to lay the groundwork for my commission’s goals: a Westwood businesses shuttle, expanding variable-price and pay-by-space parking, enhancing UCLA carpooling and instituting the Gayley crosswalk,” Mullins said.
Although most council members said their offices are making good progress going into the summer break, there was some concern over the election-related delays impacting the independent commissions.
This year, three traditionally independent offices became involved in partisan politics during the undergraduate students association council elections in May. Council members expressed concern about how this might have negatively impacted their respective offices.
“It definitely slowed down the beginning planning process for Bruin Bash just because everyone’s energy was focused elsewhere,” Lin said. “We’re playing catch up right now though and I think that we should be back on track soon.”
Because of traditionally in-house elections, the independent commissions were not expecting to have to raise funds for the campaign.
Community Service Commissioner Farhan Banani said that the time and resources used to raise money for campaigning could have been better spent raising additional funds for CSC events such as Promoting Individuality Through the Arts, its largest annual event.
“Focusing on elections also slowed down our transition process and delayed our recruitment. We have to interview and train our new staff members, a process which didn’t begin until after elections,” Banani added.
Council members also expressed interest in reaching out to the incoming freshmen class during upcoming orientation sessions, which many officers will be attending.
Banani urged the incoming class to find out what USAC is and what it does.
“It is important for them to understand how student government works, and how a portion of their fees are being used. It is likely that at some point throughout their four years, an issue will directly or indirectly affect them,” Banani said.
Internal Vice President Shahida Bawa said that her office is always open to serve all students and encourages the incoming students to stop by.
“If you want to discover all the amazing student groups and extracurricular programs that UCLA has to offer, the IVP office is your one-stop shop,” Bawa said.
After expressing congratulatory remarks to all the incoming freshmen during the interview, General Representative Addison Huddy urged students to get involved at UCLA by becoming leaders.
Huddy, whose office will be involved in frequent planning of meetings this summer, said, “USAC is a place where leaders can grow, a place where students can make a difference.”