USG proposes restructure for student government

Vice President Mahin Tahsin talked about creating more student spaces on campus to promote well-being outside classroom settings. (Emily Sagen | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government’s Executive Board proposed to restructure the organization during Tuesday’s Senate meeting. The last major change to the organization’s structure occurred in 2015 when the previous programming board was merged into USG as the programming branch. 

The proposal would change USG’s current composition of six branches — executive, legislative, advocacy, communications, funding and programming — to three. The three branches would include the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The executive branch will house communications, funding and programming departments and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, according to the proposal. The legislative branch will house the Senate and legislative committees, and the judicial branch will house the Judicial Council and the Elections Commission. 

“We wanted to make sure that the legislative body and the executive branches had a balance of power, in terms of their advocacy work or functioning for USG,” USG Vice President Mahin Tahsin said. “In the past, we’ve seen a lot of overlap in terms of projects between the advocacy branch and the legislative branch. In general, we wanted to make our organization a bit more legislative-focused in terms of putting forward more resolutions and proposals because that’s a primary role of the Senate.” 

Constitutional changes regarding the reconstruction will be presented at next week’s meeting. 

Tahsin also presented her work with Sen. Haley Garland and senior adviser Maya McGrath on creating more spaces on campus conducive to studying and promoting a culture of well-being outside the classroom. 

“I think it’s pretty important that students have outlets, whether it’s for creative expression or whether it’s for just hanging out with your friends,” Tahsin said. “Having spaces that are designated for students to be, and to practice well-being, I think that’s pretty important.” 

According to Tahsin, the proposal will focus on adapting locations on campus to achieve the goal of improved well-being.

Tahsin, Garland and McGrath presented about their Tuesday morning meeting with Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni to discuss their newly finalized draft on utilizing these spaces for new opportunities.  

“He was super responsive,” Tahsin said. “What we’re proposing is pretty low-hanging fruit too, so to implement it won’t be a big overhaul or a big rethinking of how USC operates, so he was a big fan of it.” 

Sen. Omar Garcia presented his updates on creating a permanent clothing center on campus to rent professional attire to students. 

“It gives first-generation students, low-income students and other students the opportunity to wear professional clothing that’s rented from the Career Center to give them a great first impression going to career fairs or interviews,” Garcia said. 

The Marshall School of Business currently offers a program for Marshall students called Dress for Success that grants a select number of students free professional clothing. A temporary clothing closet was also previously provided through the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences that served 250 students before it closed. 

“We want something that’s more permanent so that students can keep going to it,” Garcia said. “We’ve been trying to figure out where we can hold the clothing closet, whether it’ll be here at USG or at the Career Center, but we just want a permanent solution. Right now, we have a J.C. Penney event that is going to be giving discounts for students that want suits, which is amazing, but it’s not a permanent solution.” 

Senior Director of Programming Montana Houston also presented new Service Student Assembly Co-Executive Director Isabella Oh and Assistant Director Samantha Sparacino, who will be confirmed at next week’s meeting. 

Sens. Hailey Robertson and Ben Rosenthal authored a climate resolution presented at last week’s meeting in response to the Divest SC Rally and the University’s announcement of its investment numbers in fossil fuels. The resolution formalized USG’s support of the University’s divestment from fossil fuels and was approved by the Senate.