Neighborhood council looking for student representatives

With the neighborhood council elections approaching, USC students currently on the council have begun searching for their replacements.

The Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council is a community forum that discusses issues of local importance and proposes ways to address them.

Samantha Foley and Daniel Wu, both graduating seniors, were appointed to the NANDC board last fall to maintain a USC voice on the council. They will vacate their spots early, however, to make room for USC students who will be able to represent the school in the future.

Foley, a senior majoring in international relations and political science, said it is important for USC to maintain a presence on the board, particularly to address myths or concerns about the university’s Master Plan, which involves significant neighborhood development.

“It’s all about clarification and communication, going back and forth,” Foley said. “It’s important with USC being such a large, involved part of the community. We need student perspective and voice.”

Shawn Simons, president of the neighborhood committee, said NANDC has always had student participation and stressed that a USC presence is integral to the council’s operations.

“It would be really terrible not to have USC students involved in the council,” Simons said. “They play an extremely active part that we hope will grow. We can’t reach out to students without a student representative.”

Foley and Wu have been in touch with various student groups to try to recruit potential candidates for the NANDC positions. Wu, a senior majoring in Los Angeles urban studies, said they are looking for students who will be at USC beyond this year, including freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors planning to do their graduate studies at USC, to serve all or most of the two-year term on the NANDC board.

“It’s a good opportunity to get involved in key issues and make a difference,” Wu said.

At the next board meeting on Feb. 4, the council will have a special presentation about what it means to be a board member, Simons said. The council is hoping to pique the interest of students who might want to get involved in neighborhood affairs.

Ashley Ramos, a junior majoring in political science, plans on running because she said she wants to go into city planning and urban development after she graduates.

“It’s important being a representative for USC,” Ramos said. “It’s a first time thing, jumping in there and hoping I can learn a lot from the experience.”

Liam Powers, a sophomore majoring in political science and communication, is also seeking a NANDC position. He said he wants the position because of his interest in politics and government.

“I take pride in the city and want to have a greater level of input,” Powers said.

He said he was interested in Los Angeles and hoped he would be able to make changes to improve the city when and where they are needed.

Foley said she will be working closely with a few of the potential candidates for the rest of her time on the council.

“I have a good five weeks here, and I want the person replacing me to get into contact with my contacts for everything so they have these resources at their disposal,” Foley said.

Board members are elected by vote, and Foley said it is therefore crucial for candidates to reach out to any groups they are involved with to get people to vote.

“It’s all about follow-through,” Foley said. “You actually have to run a campaign.”

After the new board is elected positions will be appointed. Simons said the bylaws were revised this year, and the board will appoint a new seat for a USC student representative. Students can also be elected to positions besides student representative, however.

Simons emphasized that any USC student can run for any position, including president. There is no limit on the number of USC students that can be elected to the council. Jan. 26 is the last filing date for candidates, but Foley said until Feb. 25 students could apply to be write-in candidates. Voting takes place at the Hoover Recreation Center on March 27.