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USAC Recap – Nov. 28

By Gabrielle Gillette

Dec. 4, 2023 9:46 p.m.

This post was updated Dec. 5 at 3:40 p.m.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council held its last meeting of November on Tuesday.

USAC is the official student government representing the undergraduate student body at UCLA. Council meetings are open to all students and take place in person in the Bruin Viewpoint room and on Zoom every Tuesday at 7 p.m. Students can find the links for the meetings on the agenda posted on the USAC website or watch a livestream on the USAC Live! channel on YouTube.

Public comment:

  • A student representative from the Academic Senate Legislative Assembly gave a recap of their meeting from Nov. 16. The assembly approved a bill to create a pilot program with the aim of figuring out which transfer pathways fit certain degrees, they said. The representative added that faculty is shifting to a new procurement system over winter break, which will affect faculty workloads. Some faculty members have requested pay raises because of the increased administrative workload, they said. In a meeting of the Academic Senate Legislative Assembly, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion interim Vice Provost Mitchell Chang urged students who have experienced harassment to report their claims immediately, as more harassment allegations have been reported in the past month than usual.
  • Aiden Rubinstein, a member of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Planning and Budget, discussed UCLA’s plan to rent One Westside, a building in Westwood that the university hopes to use as a new engineering center. He added that this would be the biggest real estate investment in UCLA history. The next Committee on Planning and Budget meeting will be held Monday.
  • Clara Castronovo, chair of the UCLA chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group said they, alongside multiple other UC CALPIRG chapters, are organizing a week of action for 100% renewable energy for all UCs, including creating a mural of a more sustainable UCLA in front of Kerckhoff Hall. She added that CALPIRG is currently choosing its winter quarter campaign.
  • A first-year environmental science student and CALPIRG intern said CALPIRG will be urging UC faculty to use open educational resources instead of textbooks as part of its affordable textbook campaign.
  • The vice chair of the Student Fee Advisory Committee promoted the committee’s new Instagram account. They also requested for USAC’s Instagram account to repost the new account’s recruitment posts regarding its two undergraduate vacancies.
  • In response to the CALPIRG intern, Academic Affairs Commissioner Sujana Sridhar said her office is also working on making textbooks more affordable.

Funding:

  • The council allocated $3,850 from the Contingency Programming Fund to 13 non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $1,239 from the Supplemental Fund for Service to one Community Service Commission-affiliated entity and one non-CSC affiliated entity.
  • The council allocated $750 from the Student Wellness Programming Fund to one USAC entity and $1,240 to two non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $2,000 from the Academic Success Referendum Fund to one non-USAC entity.
  • The council allocated $4,000 from the Travel Grant Mini Fund to three non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $2,000 from the Arts Restoring Community Fund to one USAC entity and $9,157.33 to six non-USAC entities.
  • The council allocated $7,681.92 from The Green Initiative Fund to four non-USAC entities.

Special presentations:

  • Four members of the USAC Facilities Commission’s Access on Board initiative gave a presentation on web accessibility, including information on accessible graphic design, text readability, posting on social media, alternatives to paragraphs and descriptive links.

Officer reports:

  • President Naomi Hammonds said she recently met with the Preserve Abortion Access California Task Force, CALPIRG and the Chancellor Search Committee. She added that she was selected to speak at Financial Aid Advocacy Day to talk about her financial aid experience and that she is preparing for her quarterly meeting with UC President Michael V. Drake. Hammonds also said she was interviewed by NBC for her work on the Good Clothes Good People initiative and the Basic Needs Redistribution Center. Hammonds also met with Yerba Mate to discuss sponsorship and marketing, she said.
  • Internal Vice President Megan Law said the Appointments Review Committee conducted one interview this week. She added that she attended the Narcan Implementation Task Force meeting to discuss where Narcan resources are distributed on campus. She also attended a meeting with Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck, during which they discussed the Campus Safety Alliance and the UC Regents meeting, and she invited Beck to attend a USAC meeting. Law added that voting is now open for the Associated Students UCLA T-shirt contest, with the designs displayed in Ackerman Union.
  • External Vice President Eva Jussim said she met with state Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and will meet with representatives from Mayor Karen Bass’ office and Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath’s office to discuss people experiencing homelessness in Westwood.
  • General Representative Katie Pool said she met with Athletics Director Martin Jarmond to discuss UCLA’s move to the Big Ten.
  • General Representative Gabrielle Lasry said in her written report that the Director of First Generation College Students is working on a “send a letter to home” event for winter quarter. She added in the report that she is finalizing details for parking permit reimbursement and that the general representative internship for her office has now finished for the quarter.
  • General Representative Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia said he is in the process of onboarding more staff to expand his office. He added that he also attended the meeting with Law and Beck about safety concerns, and he had a meeting with Latina student leaders about UCLA becoming a Hispanic-serving institution by 2025. Valenzuela Mejia asked the council to promote the Bruin Worldwide Initiative and to fill out the general population survey. His office will have an internship event Dec. 6, and he plans to meet with UC Berkeley students to form a joint resolution to address the needs of the Latino communities on both campuses, he said.
  • Sridhar said her office will be launching winter quarter applications for the Books for Bruins program this week. The Access and Equity Committee is also working on a disability justice resolution. Sridhar said her office is striving for textbook affordability, having held meetings with the UCLA Bookstore, Strategic Initiatives Committee and campus librarians. Sridhar also said she connected with the Muslim Student Association with the director of the Sanctuary Campus Committee. Her office is launching a graduate school preparation book rental program for students to rent GRE, GMAT, MCAT and LSAT prep books to take home over winter break.
  • Campus Events Commissioner Mason Miller said his office will host Groove Garden, a vinyl DJ concert, this week and a petting zoo Monday in collaboration with Student Wellness Commissioner Jennis Kang. Miller also said his office is holding a screening of “Elf” on Tuesday.
  • Community Service Commissioner Chia Ying Wong said she is planning a holiday drive with the International Rescue Committee. She added that her office is planning to host a nonprofit networking night with the Volunteer Center next quarter. Her office is working on recruiting delegates for the IMPACT conference in winter quarter, an annual conference for college students focusing on community service, service learning, community research and social action. Wong is also recruiting student service groups for the Youth Empowerment Coalition, she said.
  • Cultural Affairs Commissioner Alicia Verdugo said in her written report that her office is hosting hearings regarding funding requests from the Arts Restoring Community. She added in the report that applications to join the staff team managing the ARC fund opened last week. Verdugo also said in the report that the CAC will host a destress event with Worldfest on Tuesday and a study night with interns Wednesday.
  • Facilities Commissioner Evan Curran said in his written report that he met with the ASUCLA Board of Directors to discuss a potential referendum to fund an extension to the Student Union. He also said the Transportation Equity and Access team met with members of the EVP office to create a survey that gauges interest in and knowledge of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor and finalized a map of proposed infrastructure improvements identified throughout Westwood Village, UCLA campus and the North Village apartments. Curran is collaborating with CALPIRG on the Healthy Streets LA Ballot initiative and on a resolution calling for UCLA to be operated on 100% clean energy by 2035. He also said the Sustainagoals team has conducted outreach to different organizations encouraging the use of the reusable mug program at Kerckhoff Coffee House. Curran said he also met with members of the John Wooden Center Board of Governors to discuss current shortcomings with recreation spaces. Curran said he met with members of the Muslim Student Association to discuss campus security and ways to improve safe ride and Community Service Officer escorts, which he also brought up at his meeting with Beck. Curran added that he met with members of Bruin Shelter to discuss challenges they face, such as finding a location and a sustainable stream of funding.
  • Financial Supports Commissioner Sara Broukhim said her office is holding financial wellness presentations this week.
  • Kang said her office is working on the petting zoo alongside Miller’s office for this week. She also said the Sexperts committee hosted a guest speaker, Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, on Thursday about healthy communication. Student Wellness Commission is also holding a town hall with dinner and an Apple Watch giveaway, she said.
  • Transfer Student Representative Thyra Cobbs said she is hosting a Black transfer study hall with the academic support program. She said she is also planning an international student welcome gala. Her office is beginning to plan for transfer mental health awareness week and is developing a transfer empowerment referendum. Cobbs said her office is also planning Armenian awareness week alongside the Armenian Student Association and the Hidden Road Initiative. She added that she extended the staff application for her office to Dec. 1 and the internship application to next week. Cobbs is also working with the American Indian Student Association to make an indigenous transfer student week, she said.
  • International Student Representative Adam Tfayli said he is working on an international student welcome event for January.

 

Agenda discussion:

  • Cobbs led a discussion on USAC’s Black History Month initiatives, explaining the history of Black History Month and adding that it is important for UCLA to show support. She said she would like each office to develop an initiative to pursue within Black History Month, with her office talking about Black community college students’ impact on the Black Panther Party and Black students’ desire for a new memorial for Bunchy Carter and John Huggins. Hammonds is working on planning a Pan-African Ubuntu week alongside the Afrikan Student Union, and Verdugo and Valenzuela Mejia are working alongside ASU and the Caribbean Student Association to plan Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean heritage weeks, she said. Kang said her office is considering another Pan-African mental health week. Cobbs talked with Wong about organizing a Mother Organization community service project fair. Cobbs and Curran discussed making March 3 a day to celebrate an African sustainability activist Wangari Maathai. Cobbs requested that the remaining offices brainstorm other ideas for Black History Month. Sridhar said she would like to make a Black History Month curated book collection as well as sponsoring a book club to promote Black literature.
  • The council voted to approve joining the Association of Big Ten Students, with Jussim emphasizing the importance of understanding how issues affect other campuses and using collective lobbying power. Jussim said being a part of the Association of Big Ten Students includes the USAC president and one member from their office as well as members from the EVP office attending three conferences a year. The USAC President will also attend bi-weekly meetings for the association. There are no dues or fees for joining the association. Hammonds and Jussim said they agreed that the conference would be helpful in creating links with other universities comparable to UCLA’s student population.
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