After the introduction of the proposed Student Savings Club program at last week’s Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting, senators debated the merits and pitfalls of the program Tuesday night and ultimately approved the measure.
The discount program, offered through a company known as the Student Savings Club, will require USC students to present their university-issued ID cards in order to take advantage of financial breaks from local businesses, such as Office Depot and the LA Live restaurants. USG will have to pay an annual fee of $1,700 to the Student Savings Club in order to bring the program to USC.
Some senators, such as residential senator Juan Orjuela, were concerned about this recurring cost and feared it would create financial problems in the future. As an alternative, Orjuela said USG could create its own discount program and actively court local businesses rather than rely on an outside company to do that job.
“I think we should focus on something that will last for more than a year. I know it’s more convenient to have the ID card, but I think building relationships with the community is really important, and with this program, we aren’t building those relationships,” Orjuela said while discussing the measure. “We can get better discounts than the ones we have here [on the Student Savings Club list], and we can expand more and have more businesses approve.”
But other senators, like Greek senator Dylan Dann, said a trial run of the program could benefit students while also saving USG time and promotional costs.
“$1,700 is not much for the service we’re getting,” Dann said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for USG members to go and do this because [the Student Savings Club] does this. They’re the best at it. We’re not going to be able to get more than they are.”
With 10 senators voting for the measure and one voting against, the Student Savings Club program passed.
USG President Holden Slusher, who presented the program to the Senate last week, said he thinks students will appreciate the discounts, which should take effect in a few weeks.
“I’m excited, and I know students are excited. [The Student Savings Club] offers a valuable service, and if it’s a success, we can continue it on our own,” he said.
Aside from the Student Savings Club program, more initiatives aimed at increasing interaction between USG and the student community are planned for the semester.
Chris Cheng, USG director of outreach, said in Tuesday night’s report to the Senate that he plans to supplement USG’s current promotional efforts with face-to-face networking. USG street teams, complete with appointed regional directors for various campus living areas and the Greek community, will distribute information about USG and collect feedback from students.