USAC Officer Evaluation: Kelechi Iheanacho, Cultural Affairs Commissioner
May 2, 2020 10:19 p.m.
Kelechi Iheanacho has been a leading voice for cultural communities and organizations as the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s cultural affairs commissioner, even if some of her platforms fell short of being achieved.
Beginning her term having run on platforms of ensuring funding for communities of color, establishing campus-wide racial sensitivity training and expanding the community garden, Iheanacho worked to build upon what had been done by previous CACs and allowed her office to adapt.
Iheanacho said she worked toward tackling food insecurity through the community garden, but conversations with administration slowed down the process of effectively completing her goals. Racial sensitivity training and funding, Iheanacho said, are much more of a work in progress and move ahead as far this year as she would have liked.
Iheanacho cited the fact that her platforms are not year-long initiatives, which is why her foundation for building them stemmed from what had already been started in previous years. Despite a lack of completion or innovation with regard to platforms, Iheanacho stayed committed to transparency and engaging with various cultural communities – a key responsibility of the CAC.
Beginning the year with Bruin Bash, Iheanacho said her perspective as the only black woman involved in the planning process allowed the event to host unique talent and set a strong tone for the year. Other programs such as CAC’s diverse city tours and their Concert Series expanded greatly this year under Iheanacho’s leadership. While many headline events planned for spring quarter, such as Worldfest and JazzReggae Fest, had to be canceled, the work that had already been done highlighted the importance of these events to Iheanacho and how she was planning to connect with communities in ways that had never been done before.
While funding was a significant challenge, especially due to the cancelation of spring quarter programming, Iheanacho worked to advocate and allocate a large proportion to the community fund, ensuring that campus cultural organizations get necessary funds and stipend opportunities.
Through her continuing conversations with administration and engagement with her community, Iheanacho has shown the importance of the cultural affairs commissioner and the importance of its voice on council. She can only hope that the mark she’s made in achieving her platforms continues for future commissioners.