USG pushes for Coliseum re-entry, other policy changes

For many students, summer offers a much-needed break. But for Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Rini Sampath, breaks come later. She and USG President Andrew Menard will spend the next few months laying the groundwork to implement policy changes they campaigned on this past spring.

Dynamic duo · USG Vice President Rini Sampath (left) and President Andrew Menard (right) speak at a QuASA meeting last semester.  - Austin Vogel | Daily Trojan

Dynamic duo · USG Vice President Rini Sampath (left) and President Andrew Menard (right) speak at a QuASA meeting last semester. – Austin Vogel | Daily Trojan

“The summer is the perfect time to sow the seeds of what we want to accomplish in the fall semester,” Sampath said.

Sampath, who is also interning at a law firm and a political campaign, will spend 35 hours in the USG offices this summer, a figure that excludes meetings with student organizations and administrative officials. However, she’s unfazed by the time commitment.

“It’ll probably end up being more time than that,” she said, laughing.

This push during the summer months will focus on policy changes, particularly those emphasized by Sampath and Menard during their run this past semester. Each policy change presents unique challenges.

For example, the duo is pushing for a proposal that would allow re-entry to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during athletic events, and meeting with USC administrators about this is crucial, Sampath said. Several other Pac-12 universities have a re-entry policy in place for home football games.

“We want to see if this issue has been brought up in the past, and find out what the reasons for the current no re-entry policy are,” Sampath said.

She also noted that current policies are not always communicated effectively to students. Menard and Sampath promised an increase in resources for sexual assault victims in their campaign, but upon taking office, they were surprised to learn that resources were already available.

“We definitely need to work on communication,” Sampath said.

In looking to increase awareness of sexual assault, Sampath says that UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity campaign is a good model.

“Yes, they’re our rival,” Sampath said. “But they have some very effective solutions to this issue.”

7000 in Solidarity raises awareness through online and    on-campus promotion, and features an easily recognizable logo. Sampath was quick to point out that a good awareness campaign, like a good political campaign, needs good branding.

“You recognize the logo and you recognize the issue,” Sampath said.

Another promotional initiative for USG this fall is a planned cultural fair to showcase diversity on campus. Menard and Sampath will oversee the directors of USG’s Diversity Affairs committee in planning the event.

“I plan to sit down and give them initiative … [but] we give as much creative reign as possible to the directors,” Sampath said.

A final, more personal goal for Sampath is developing a better network for spring admits. As a spring admit herself, Sampath knows the challenges of adapting as a freshman in the middle of the academic year.

“I experienced it firsthand,” Sampath said. “We don’t have that Welcome Week experience, roaming the dining hall and getting numbers.”

Sampath has met with Katharine Harrington, vice president of admissions and planning, and aims to develop a network in which spring admits are paired with other USC students to ease the transition process.

Overall, Sampath views her summer work not as an added burden, but as a means of bringing her and Menard’s dreams for USC to fruition.

“We have full faith in all of these projects,” Sampath said.