The Undergraduate Student Government unanimously approved a senate resolution Tuesday to increase awareness among administrators and students for a new community service council.
USG hopes the Inter-Service Council will organize more campus-wide outreach events and strengthen dialogue between service groups.
The council was created earlier this semester as part of a student project for The Art and Adventure of Leadership, a course taught by President Emeritus Steven B. Sample and leadership expert Warren Bennis. Creating such an outreach council, attempted unsuccessfully in the past, was part of USG President Monish Tyagi and USG Vice President Logan Lachman’s campaign platform.
“[The council] could be a collective forum for any service ideas, be a funding resource and be a collaborative resource,” said USG Treasurer Elton Kwok, one of the council’s seven founders.
At least 15 service organizations, such as the Helenes and USC Dance Marathon, have already applied to be recognized members of the council. Applications are due in the Volunteer Center by Friday at 5 p.m.
Peony Khoo, who oversees two service organizations, Alpha Phi Omega and the Asian American Tutorial Project, said the council will provide necessary communication between student outreach groups.
“We hope that this council can facilitate collaboration between the organizations and enhance the overall impact that we can make,” Khoo said.
Residential Senator Marissa Roy, who co-authored the resolution, said the council has an opportunity to increase student involvement in community service. The resolution will particularly benefit students who have been turned away from organizations, such as Troy Camp and Helenes, who have acceptance rate of approximately 25 percent, according to Roy.
“We know there are a lot of students who don’t get involved in those organizations because they are so competitive and only so many spots [are available],” Roy said.
The council aims to increase involvement by marketing volunteer events to a greater number of people and providing students with a community service calendar, Kwok said.
Though the council currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Volunteer Center, there has been talk among USG officials about eventually incorporating the organization into USG.
“What happens in the future? A lot of that will be determined by the [council’s] new Executive Board,” said Speaker Pro Tempore and Residential Senator Vinnie Prasad, a co-author of the resolution.
Roy said the Inter-Service Council functions like other Program Board assemblies in that it brings together student organizations with similar goals. The most recent addition to Program Board was the Political Student Assembly in 2006. Prior to that, the assembly was part of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, PSA Director Will Roper said.
The council’s founders will select its own executive board by the end of the semester, Prasad said. It will comprise representatives from the council’s recognized member organizations.
“The hope and goal is for student government to take part and take this organization into their hands,” Kwok said.
Kwok said putting the council under USG’s jurisdiction could provide faster access to funding. Roy said, however, the council will not likely be incorporated during the current administration because USG funding is fixed for the year.
“I don’t think any action will be taken this year,” Roy said. “It would be really hard to add a [Program Board] assembly at this point.”
The resolution also calls for a USG representative to attend Inter-Service Council meetings and work with the executive board to offer the new organization advice and assistance.
“We definitely want the two organizations to be close,” Roy said. “We want to support them as they start because USG really believes in this cause.”
Prasad and Roy emphasized the importance of raising awareness of the council, particularly among the administration.
“We were also trying to tie in the goals and the vision of this council to the goals and the vision of [President C. L. Max Nikias’] presidency and administration,” Prasad said. “He’s made serving and working with the surrounding community a primary goal and that’s exactly what this is about.”
USG Secretary Stephanie Lam will email the resolution to five administrative offices affected by the council: Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Campus Affairs and Office of the Volunteer Center.
The resolution directs Prasad and Roy to work with these offices in an effort to find an administrator willing to serve as an adviser for the council.