The Undergraduate Student Government Senate voted unanimously to change the title of student committee members to student “delegates” at its meeting Tuesday evening. This will be the first time in USG’s history that student committee members will have official titles and defined roles.
The amendment does not add any new positions to student government.
The title change came as a result of consistent internal complaints by committee members in USG, who felt they were not given a significant enough role in the organization.
Hassaan Ebrahim, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, was a member of the University Affairs Committee and joined USG last year to contribute to the university’s student body.
“I didn’t feel actively involved enough,” said Ebrahim, who is now the assistant director of USG’s elections and recruitment. “Honestly, a lot of responsibilities weren’t given to members on committees. We were more used as idea givers and were sometimes asked for our opinions.”
The USG administration also wanted to bridge the gap in its organization with this bylaw change. The USG directors of election and recruitment committee, along with the directors of the five other advocacy groups in student government, brainstormed a solution to this problem, which resulted in the bylaw change.
Violetta Abi Naked, the co-director of elections and recruitment for USG and a senior majoring in international relations, agreed that the lack of student involvement at the committee level needed to be addressed.
“Not feeling involved is the last thing we wanted our committee members to feel,” Abi Naked said. “If they don’t feel like they’re a part of us, we’re obviously not doing something right.”
Roughly 400 delegates, distributed among the six committees in USG, will now be responsible for research-based tasks and outreach to their peers on campus. They will also have more opportunities for one-on-one meetings with their directors, in which they will be able to pitch more suggestions for events or changes to be implemented on campus.
The leaders of USG believe the improved title will better encourage the delegates and thereby benefit the organization as a whole.
“We hope that the delegates really rally behind the name change and that this will motivate them to do bigger and better work,” said USG President Mikey Geragos, a senior majoring in public policy, management and planning. “A lot of the projects that we do in student government stem from their research work.”
The change in name for students on USG committees goes into effect immediately. Directors of the committees, which sometimes have as many as 80 delegates each, are responsible for notifying their members of the change in name and responsibility.
USG’s goal is to provide students with meaningful experiences at USC through advocacy, funding opportunities and programming events. Abi Naked said that the increase in delegate involvement as a result of the title change will help USG further achieve their goals.
USG is still in the process of selecting its delegates for the upcoming school year. The directors hope the delegates appreciate the changes that their revised title will bring.
“One of the most important things about being in an organization is that you as an individual are making a difference in it,” Abi Naked said. “Everyone wants to make a difference and see change happen because of something that they did. I believe that students feeling more involved and more relevant in USG will see it as a positive change.”