In its last meeting of the semester Tuesday, Undergraduate Student Government passed groundbreaking legislation with the hopes of further strengthening the voice of the student body.
The senators passed resolutions regarding student tuition and a conflict mineral-free policy and unanimously voted to instate a student-at-large representative for the Student Programming Fee Committee.
The student tuition resolution, presented by the Campus Affairs Committee within USG, stipulates that USG will appoint one student representative to attend all university administration and Board of Trustee meetings about tuition. The student representative’s commitment will last one year.
The representative will focus on helping students better understand the rates of their tuition, voice his or her opinion on how tuition is determined and foster the relationship between the student body and administration. The student representative would also be required to report to the Senate.
There has never been a role for a student representative at these meetings before.
Logan Heley, a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism and history and assistant director of Campus Affairs, believes the resolution will be well received by the student body.
“I think students will be receptive anytime they can see where their money is being spent and allocated, and I think they will be happy to have that understanding,” Heley said. The conflict-free mineral resolution asks the USC administration to refrain from purchasing technology made of minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Human rights groups attribute an increase of violence and genocide in the Congo to the minerals’ extraction.
The resolution also implores the administration to consider the conflict mineral status of a company before purchasing from them and influence the current companies they conduct business with to use conflict-free products.
At the meeting, Nathan Berger, a senior majoring in computer science and business administration, was also appointed as the student-at-large representative on the Student Programming Fee Committee.
Berger will serve as an outsider that lends advice to the organization and has the ability to vote on programming fee allocation, according to USG President Mikey Geragos. The programming fee funds will be taken to the administration and will apply for the next three years.
In the coming semester, USG will continue working to implement a fall break for students. The fall break would take place after midterms in the sixth week of school, and occur on a Thursday and Friday, extending students’ weekend to four days. USG is also planning to install multiple Evive Stations, which would allow students to clean and sanitize reusable water bottles. The stations align with USG’s University Affairs committee goal for increasing sustainability on campus.
New weight machines will be added in the New-North residence hall gym during winter break, and USG is currently researching the addition of a second 24-hour cafe on the University Park Campus near Parkside.
The Senate will also focus on incorporating life skills courses into the curriculum as well as working with the administration to reform the general education program.
Geragos said he was pleased by the diverse legislation the Senate brought up this semester, and is hopeful for more success in their continuing initiatives.
“The Senate this year has taken a hold of representing and expressing the student opinion,” Geragos said, “which is a telling sign of an active and progressive senate. They’re really challenging what they’re hearing and they have the best interest of USG. It’s very encouraging to me.”