New USG senators present campaign platforms

The first meeting of the new USG Senate kicked off on Tuesday night, featuring the newly appointed senators presenting their campaign platforms.

Commuter senators stressed USG’s role in connecting students who live off campus to the greater student body.

“I want to make commuters feel more connected to campus, so they feel like they’re part of the larger Trojan Family,” commuter senator Briana Thorpe said.

As a transfer student from LMU and a commuter herself, Thorpe believes she is well informed in addressing the challenges her constituents face.

The commuter senators also stressed revising the university’s parking policy to accommodate students with cars, and to allow more parking spaces for home football games.

The Greek senators’ presentations focused on the university’s relationship with the Row, as well as improving the quality of life on campus. Among the issues addressed were a new “Greeks Go Green” initiative, the planned renovations of Leavey Library and the need to improve athletic facilities for students.

“I’d like to have more student input into the development University Village,” Greek Senator Logan Burkhead said.

Residential Senators’ concerns were various.

“My goals are partnering with activists and philanthropic organizations, increasing student participation and … increasing the number of forums per semester,” senator Maddie Lees said.

Lees’ running partner, Brandon Chang, also had suggestions.

“I’d like to create a unified calendar of events for all student [organizations], get an increase in USG’s programming budget — which hasn’t risen for almost a decade — and reduce security costs on campus.”

Chang said that, in certain instances, the cost of on-campus security has been earmarked on a budget for “campus development and enrichment,” which he believes is a disservice to tuition-paying students.

Chang served as a residential senator during 2013-14, and was elected for a second term.

Samantha Cheng, another second-term USG Senator and speaker pro tempore, also had very specific ideas.

“We need some more water stations around campus, so students get water on campus during the day,” Cheng said. “I’d also like to discontinue non-USC solicitation on campus.”

So far, USG has passed a resolution to ban on on-campus solicitation, but there has been no clear policy change thus far.

The meeting ended with a sense of expectation, as Vice President Rini Sampath urged senators to talk to their constituents and meet with student organizations.

“We’re all talking to different organizations to get the ball rolling, and hopefully cause some change on campus,” Sampath said.