Undergraduate Student Government swore in 2015-2016 President Rini Sampath and Vice President Jordan Fowler along with student senators Tuesday night.
Also sworn in were commuter senators Cassandra Aguayo, Jacob Ellenhorn and Bulk Lao. Greek senators were Chris Fong, Darian Nourian and Sanjay Mahboobani; residential senators were Sabrina Enriquez, Alec White, Aaron Rifkind, Dan Li, Eric Dubbery and Guiseppe Robalino.
After the ceremony, Sampath gave an inauguration speech to students and visitors present.
“I dreamt of the day I would stand before you as USC’s student body president,” Sampath said. “In fact, I dreamt so much of this day I was watching the USG president debate videos prior to my admission … Some would call it overeager, but at least my dad calls that passionate.”
Sampath proceeded to express her gratitude the various members of USG that worked alongside her during her term as USG vice president. She thanked the incoming senators, her running mate Fowler and her family. She also thanked her dad for teaching her the “value of dreaming big,” her mother for her support and sister for still thinking of Sampath as “invincible.”
Sampath also gave an overview for her upcoming plans.
“I believe this new year marks an opportunity to show our student body that student government is their channel to make an impact,” Sampath said. “I believe it is an opportunity to show our student body how student government is their ally. I know that continuing to restore students’ faith in student government takes work; I know that it takes sleepless night and relentless devotion. We’re prepared for that.”
Sampath concluded her speech referencing one of this year’s Super Bowl commercials. In the advertisement, Sampath said, actress Mindy Kaling tries to hail a taxi to no avail. A voice over then comes on to say, “After years of being treated like she was invisible, it occurred to Mindy Kaling she might actually be invisible.” Sampath likened the message of this commercial to the situation of many USC students.
“Students have shared with me the feeling of a disconnect between our student body and our senior administration,” Sampath said. “Sexual assault survivors, students with mental health issues, transfer students, my peers from low-income families, members of the queer community, no matter who you are or where you come from, Jordan and I and the rest of our team are here to listen, to empathize, to understand, to learn and to make your Trojan experience the best that it can be.”
After the speech and the following meeting with the new officials, Aziz Akbari, now a former residential senator, reflected on his year working in the USG Senate.
“It feels bittersweet [to be leaving],” Akbari said. “I think today we ended on a very good note. Today we got two resolutions passed, so it was a great way to end the year. But I’m sad to leave.”
Akbari expressed no regrets during his time at USG but said that he wished he would have had more time to develop certain projects. However, he has worked closely with the incoming senators and knows that they will continue developing.
“I’m really happy. I got three resolutions passed in the past three weeks,” Akbari said. “I’m really pumped because the work that we’re doing is just getting started.”
Aaron Rifkind, a newly sworn in residential senator, then discussed some of his future USG plans.
“I’m gonna be working a lot with [Darian Nourian]. He’s working really hard to revamp the Lyon Center and I’m going to help him [allocate] more funding,” Rifkind said. “One of my personal goals is to increase the hospitality options on campus. I know that the freshman dining halls are mostly for freshmen even though they cater to the larger student body.”
Editor’s note: Darian Nourian is the sports editor of the Daily Trojan.