The Undergraduate Student Government finalized the executive positions for the 2016-2017 academic year on Thursday. The Daily Trojan spoke to the five executives of USG, who were appointed by the new Student Body President Edwin Saucedo and Vice President Austin Dunn.
Jenny Di, a junior double-majoring policy, planning and development and economics, will serve as USG’s Chief of Staff. Krystal Chavez is the incoming Executive Director of Program Board. Chavez is majoring in policy, planning, and development. She will work alongside the Program Board Finance Director, Hahney Yo, to oversee the 10 assemblies and five committees that make up Program Board. Yo is majoring in business administration and philosophy, politics, and law. Christian Edwards, a junior studying business administration with an emphasis in finance, will serve as USG Treasurer. Luke Southwell-Chan, a sophomore majoring in communication, will become the senior director of communications.
Daily Trojan: What was your previous position in USG?
Hahney Yo: Last Spring and Fall semester, I served as the Assistant Director of Business Relations under marketing for Program Board.
Krystal Chavez: Previously, I was the executive director of the Latina/o Student Assembly and although it was my first year in USG I was a part of LSA since I was a freshman here at USC.
DT: What challenges did you face in that position?
KC: Some of the most significant challenges I faced were balancing the workload of being a director that programs events for our community and the USC student body while also being an advocate for the Latina/o students on campus through the Campus Climate Resolution. It was hard to recognize that there were so many issues that administration failed to address before that momentum started.
Luke Southwell-Chan: It was becoming acquainted with PB in general because I hadn’t had experience in that branch of USG, and it didn’t take super long to understand, but as with any new thing I think you have to figure what the organization is like and how it works.
HY: The biggest challenge I faced was taking on the position without any real guidance. It was a new position and I worked with a lot of different people in USG to shape that position. My position entailed working with companies looking to sponsor PB events, plan events and such.
Jenny Di: I was executive director of PSA. The biggest challenge was making sure that you were broadening the intellectual realm of students. I think the big thing with politics is that it can get very partisan, very divisive. So the hardest thing for us was making events approachable for all students, regardless of their political beliefs.
DT: What did you do in your previous position that you believe impacted our campus the most?
KC: Being a part of the Campus Climate Resolution when it was getting started really opened my eyes to making sure everyone knows that their voice matters and that there are people willing to fight to make this campus a better place.
HY: My position really enabled me to help bring in money for our committees/assemblies so seeing the money we received from companies be used to host awesome events is always nice! Plus, the free food it brings to students is always a plus!
LS: We were really pushing all the events that PB does to the student body, and making them informed with PB in general. That was the main aspect of my job and the most rewarding, especially when you see an event you’ve been pushing so hard do well, and have many students turn out.
Christian Edwards: This past fall semester we had a unique opportunity with the SoCal Vocals, to be able to fund their trip for professional development to Washington, D.C. to perform at the White House. So that was a particularly interesting occasion.
DT: Have been in touch with your predecessor?
CE: I’ve looked to [Previous Treasurer Tiffany Chang] as a guideline on how to succeed in the position and more importantly succeed for the student body. She’s given me many tips in terms of the transitional process.
KC: I actually met [Previous Program Board Executor Director Diana Jimenez] my first day at USC at freshman orientation and then after as LSA interns our freshman year together. So it’s an honor to be able to learn from her and be taking on this new role.
DT: Did they give you any advice?
KC: Diana’s advice was to recognize the kind of leader you are when you enter the role may not be the same type of leader you will leave as. She’s also told me this role although tough is so fulfilling, you learn a lot about who you are as person. You gain this perspective about thinking critically of everything you would not have gained otherwise.
DT: What do you plan to do with your position in the upcoming year?
KC: I think that with every executive officer role there are expectations on what you are required to do in your job descriptions per bylaws, but then there is also the freedom to take that and make it better each time a new person comes into the position.
JD: I really want to focus on transparency. My role in a sense is the opposite of Luke’s, I focus on the internal and making sure people are working to their full potential, understanding everything that’s going on and working to the best capacity to serve the student body.
DT: Tell us about a specific plan or idea you have for the 2016-2017 year.
JD: I want to help all the students in USG to work on their personal leadership skills and potential because part of being in our organization is not just being a leader but learning how to be a better leader.
HY: I want to do a lot of things! But for now, I want to have better outlines listing funding resources and the do’s and don’ts for assemblies’ member organizations. Two, I want to ensure committees and assemblies are periodically aware of their budget and are optimizing their usage. Three, I want to enhance the relationship between PB and USC administration. And four, I want to support PB directors in their endeavors as best as I can, because they honestly do so much great work.
CE: I’ll be working with Luke to get the word out there as much as possible. We do want everyone on campus to know that this is their student programming fee at work, and they should most certainly be able to take advantage of it.