The Undergraduate Student Government Senate introduced a proposal that will recommend USC add a two- to four-day fall break in October at its Tuesday meeting, one of many proposals USG leaders plan to push for in the upcoming semester.
With their term more than halfway complete, USG leaders plan to continue working on several other projects, especially adding tram shelters, increasing Ronald Tutor Campus Center hours and creating a resource center for transfer students.
USG president Monish Tyagi said it takes time to accomplish these projects because they require coordination from different campus departments, which each have different abilities to allocate resources.
Tyagi said USG will achieve their second semester goals by building upon what he considers to be the organization’s greatest achievement this semester: fostering stronger relationships with administrators and students.
At the start of the year, Tyagi and USG Vice President Logan Lachman arranged one-on-one meetings with administrators, which established the relationships they needed to discuss smoking policy, bike policy and stainability issues.
“We focused on building those relationships early on in the year and [relying] on them as the year went on,” Tyagi said.
Tyagi said, as a result of the open dialogue, the administration has been willing to work with USG in possibly extending campus center hours.
“We could see that project come to fruition, hopefully, in the spring,” Tyagi said.
Despite success in developing key relationships, several proposals, such as the installation of tram centers and more ATMs on campus, are currently stalled or still in the early stages, as the parties involved work to settle issues with logistics and funding.
While USG has been advocating the creation of tram shelters at USC shuttle stops, funding issues have delayed the project.
“There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through in terms of space, funding and timing,” Tyagi said. “We are trying to figure out where funding is going to come from for that.”
The same is true with the installation of more ATMs on campus, a project that is still in the planning stages. Tyagi said contracts and other details must be worked out before the proposal can proceed.
Another goal of Tyagi’s administration was to continue to increase USG’s presence on campus through surveys, forums, social media and the USG website.
Tyagi said the annual Council of Presidents event, which was attended this year by nearly 100 student leaders and President C. L. Max Nikias, displayed the strength of relationships USG aims to create through its lobbying efforts.
“That was a great capstone event for some of the relationships we have been able to form this year with students and administrators,” Tyagi said.
Despite the effort to make the organization more transparent, some students said they feel USG does not effectively communicate its advocacy efforts to students.
“I know they work hard, but I don’t think they inform us about what they are actually doing,” said Isabel Espinosa, a senior majoring in international relations and economics.
USG wants to develop a resource center for transfer students, but because they are unlikely to find a physical space, Tyagi said USG will work to create an online resource center by compiling information about different aspects of the university, ranging from housing to class registration.
“There’s a big need [to better inform transfer students] on campus, and I would like to see that achieved before we are out of office.” Tyagi said.
Lachman said the USG Senate will play a role in helping the organization achieve its goals next semester by passing resolutions, which formally communicate the student body’s opinion to the administration.
Future planned resolutions include creating a campus activities calendar and one to encourage the university to use fair trade practices, Senator Pro Tempore Vinnie Prasad said.
Though the senate has passed fewer resolutions than in past years, Lachman said they should be evaluated on the quality of those resolutions, not the amount. USG recently passed a resolution advocating for the clarification of smoking policy, which Lachman said was well received by the administration.
With the current USG term winding down and elections in February, Tyagi said his administration will continue working to meet its goals.
“The year’s not over,” Tyagi said. “It can easily look like this is the end of the year, but we still have a lot of work ahead.”