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USAC recap – fall quarter 2016

The Undergraduate Students Association council holds meetings in Kerckhoff Hall every Tuesday to discuss their goals. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

By Rupan Bharanidaran, Isabella Welch, and Yun Kyung (Anny) Kim

Dec. 4, 2016 10:34 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated the transfer student representative office held an aromatherapy workshop. In fact, the office has not held the workshop yet.

This post was updated on Dec. 7 at 2:45 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA.

This recap summarizes the accomplishments of each council member since his or her election in May. All candidates presented several goals in their platforms during election season.

Danny Siegel, president:

Platforms: Siegel promised to introduce Bruin discounts and events in Westwood. He also promised to advocate for affordable housing, landlord accountability and more interaction with alumni, as well as institutionalized paid internship programs for students.

  • The Office of the President created the Committee of International Relations to support international students.
  • The Committee of International Relations released applications for Bruins News Room, a YouTube channel that will discuss issues on campus starting winter quarter.
  • Siegel said he filled all of the USAC presidential appointments. He said this was the first time that has been done in recent years.
  • He added he was a part of the Campus Safety Task Force created after the June murder-suicide. The task force released its recommendations in October.

Sabrina Zeigler, internal vice president:

Platforms: Zeigler promised to create IVPhundraise to invest in sustainable funding for student organizations, and SOLE Mates, to increase communication between ASUCLA and student organizations. She also promised to train council members on bylaws as well as increase budget transparency and council accountability.

  • Zeigler said her office organized a retreat for council members to train them on topics related to their duties like Robert’s Rules of Order, a guide to running meetings and conferences, and Student Government Accounting procedures.
  • She added her office organized Food Truck for Finals and the Finals Study Hall.

Rafi Sands, external vice president:

Platforms: Sands promised to work on BruinsVote! and create Student Stance and the Bruin Lobby Team, a third-party forum to strengthen student advocacy efforts. He also promised to create M.I.A. is MIA!, a campaign for middle income affordability, and Activate the Activism to train students to participate in statewide politics.

  • The external vice president’s office helped organize the BruinsVote! campaign. Sands said the campaign registered a record number of students and turnout was high across campus polling places.
  • Sands said his office sent out a survey for M.I.A. is MIA! on Nov. 29., and events for Activate the Activism will begin week two of winter quarter.

Zoe Borden, general representative 1:

Platforms: Borden promised to create a portal to connect students with scholarships, offer discounted test preparation courses for students and establish a rental system for lawn blankets, hammocks and sports equipment. She also promised to advocate for increased diversity in the Counseling and Psychological Services staff.

  • Borden said her office established a connection with UCLA Financial Aid and the Scholarship Resource Center, and implemented a link for a MyUCLA portal to give students easier access to scholarships that will be available next quarter.
  • She added her office worked with CAPS to bring counselors on the Hill to increase accessibility so students living in dorms could get immediate counseling.

Ruchit Majmudar, general representative 2:

Platforms: Majmudar promised to expand collaboration spaces on campus, institute a BikeShare program and bring speakers to campus through a nonpartisan forum.

  • The office worked with the On-Campus Housing Council and BruinsVote! to hold an election watch party. Majmudar said 1,300 people attended, making it the second biggest general representative event in USAC history.
  • The office also helped host a forum about religious life at UCLA.
  • Majmudar added his office has finalized plans for a creative area called a MakerSpace where students can work on furthering entrepreneurship ideas and designs, starting next quarter at Rieber Hall.
  • His office has also met with administration to expand the entrepreneurship minor to all students and not just humanities students.

Inan Chowdhury, general representative 3:

Platforms: Chowdhury promised to create UCLA Olympics for students to compete in all-inclusive activities and raise money, and Sigma C.H.A.I., or Coalition of Humans Against Inequality, a United Nations-style forum. He also promised to institute a schoolwide chalk day and resources like free yoga and meditation lessons to promote mental health awareness.

  • Chowdhury’s office helped sponsor a teach-in about nonviolence in collaboration with a labor studies class.
  • He added his office oversaw the Student Activist Project, which recruited 25 interns to learn more about social identity issues, and plans on enlarging its curriculum.

Divya Sharma, transfer student representative:

Platforms: Sharma promised to link the Bruin Resource Center and the UCLA Student Call Center to create a transfer alumni board. He also promised to create Bruin Fitness Challenge, a health and workout app, and advocate for parking permits for transfer commuter students.

  • Sharma’s office helped acquire a yearly allocation of 36 parking permits specifically for transfer students who were denied a permit from parking services.
  • The office also started “Show Me The Ropes,” a program that aims to facilitate mentorship between UCLA transfer students and their community colleges, Sharma said.
  • The office created a Transfer Wellness Committee, which hosted wellness workshops and mental health chats.
  • TSR held a town hall during Week 10 to ask transfer students about issues they faced this quarter.
  • Additionally, the office helped with Transfer Pride Week, and held a “De-Stress” event Thursday.

Ashly Mohankumar, academic affairs commissioner:

Platforms: Mohankumar promised to create the Women Empowerment Campaign, “Brewin” Networking Night and advocate for improved use and organization of resources to help students graduate on time.

  • The Academic Affairs Commission worked with Herstory to create the Women Empowerment Campaign, which posts weekly narratives about different women on campus.
  • The commission organized a “Brewin” Networking Night, which gave students career-related resources such as resume critiques.
  • The AAC also created the Travel Mini Fund, the first academic-based travel fund under USAC.

Jordan Vincent Dang, campus events commissioner:

Platforms: Dang promised to increase accessibility to events for commuters and other busy students. He also promised to uphold and grow traditions from his office by hosting established events with a twist, as well as a wider variety of events.

  • The Campus Events Commission organized free movie screenings on various days of the week throughout the quarter. The CEC has also invited guest speakers to visit campus, such as Disney Pixar writer and director Jared Bush, Dang said.
  • The commission helped organize Bruin Bash along with the Cultural Affairs Commission.
  • The CEC also organized a concert featuring D.R.A.M. on Nov. 8.

Zack Dameron, community service commissioner:

Platforms: Dameron promised to create more opportunities for freshmen to get involved in service such as a service-themed residential hall community and New Student Orientation. He also promised to launch a service-based advocacy program, increase the type of available Alternative Break Immersion programs and expand the types of issues his office’s projects address.

  • The Community Service Commission expanded the number of its projects this year from 32 to 40 with additional funding from last year’s #UCLAWellness referendum, Dameron said.
  • The commission held its 14th annual Day of Service, where 400 students volunteered for various causes.
  • The CSC also held “42: A Campaign to Address Food Security on Our Campus” to highlight food insecurity issues.
  • The office also organized its second annual Serve Fest Event, where community service organizations were able to recruit students.

Amy Shao, cultural affairs commissioner:

Platforms: Shao promised to provide freestyle dance sessions and create a think-tank panel for students to communicate with CAC. She also promised to hold an event series called Talks x Student Documentaries for students to showcase self-made documentaries.

  • The CAC hosted weekly concerts in Kerckhoff Hall and weekly spoken-word sessions called The Word on Wednesday, Shao said.
  • The commission worked with the CEC to organize Bruin Bash.
  • The CAC also organized various art installations at the Kerckhoff Art Gallery, including one showcasing the work of the LGBTQ and disabled community.

Sandra Rhee, Facilities commissioner:

Platforms: Rhee promised to reevaluate campus lighting and energy through the initiative “Turn Down the Watts!” which would address temperature control issues in classrooms. She also promised to create SafetE^3, an initiative to tackle safety concerns on campus, and an application for free equipment rental reservations.

  • The Facilities Commission’s Sustainability Committee has finalized purchase orders to install five solar umbrellas on Kerckhoff patio by next quarter, Rhee said.
  • The commission provided solar phone chargers for students to rent at Sunset Canyon Recreation.
  • The Student Resources Committee established the Food Waste Recovery Program to reduce food waste on campus.
  • Rhee said her office expanded Food For Finals for all students, not just those living on the Hill.
  • She added the Safety Committee gathered over 160 testimonials on the Community Service Officers van service. The Facilities Commission worked with the CSO to have extended van service hours during finals weekend.

Ariel Rafalian, financial supports commissioner:

Platforms: Rafalian promised to provide rentable phone chargers in Powell and Young Research Libraries. He also promised to create Success Studio workshops to teach skills to students and advocate for a personal finance course.

  • The Financial Supports Commission created its first ever internship program this year to bring in new staff members to the office.
  • The office created an “Interview Question of the Week” campaign on social media to help students prepare for interviews.
  • The office raised funds that will allow Powell Library to rent out six free phone chargers for students.

Christina Lee, student wellness commissioner:

Platforms: Lee promised to increase inclusive advocacy and mental health efforts, establish a body image campaign, promote bodily autonomy and expand the Student Health Network on campus.

  • Lee said her office held more than 20 programs in November, such as the Silent Disco at Powell Library.
  • The commission implemented a project to provide free menstrual products at the Ashe Center with funding from #UCLAWellness.
  • The Student Wellness Commission screened more than 70 students and gave out 500 oral care products as part of its oral health efforts, Lee said.
  • Lee added her office responded to events on campus, such as Active Minds, creating a healing space after the suicides this quarter.
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Rupan Bharanidaran | Alumnus
Bharanidaran was the News editor from 2017-2018. He was previously a news reporter for the campus politics beat, covering student government and the UCLA administration.
Bharanidaran was the News editor from 2017-2018. He was previously a news reporter for the campus politics beat, covering student government and the UCLA administration.
Kim is the assistant news editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat.
Kim is the assistant news editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat.
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