USG Senate kicks off the spring semester

Undergraduate Student Government held its first Senate meeting of the spring semester yesterday to discuss new initiatives and progress with ongoing projects.

Even with some members of the executive board from last semester currently studying abroad, hopes for a successful rest of the year with the help of the remaining members and the 14 new hires.

USG President Andrew Menard gave a presentation on some of USG’s ongoing initiatives. One of his and USG Vice President Rini Sampath’s focuses this semester stems from a meeting with President C.L. Max Nikias at the end of the fall semester regarding the addition of a fall break to the academic calendar.

Menard said he is optimistic about moving forward with these initiatives into the spring semester.

“[Administration] is receptive if we can give proposals that make sense,” Menard said.

Menard also highlighted an initiative to take the responsibility for providing security at on-campus events off of student organizations. USG discussed with Nikias’ Leadership Council that security expenses for events like the Welcome Back Concert, Conquest and Springfest should not fall on student organizations.

The Academic Affairs Committee also presented plans for continuing the renovation of Leavey Library by going and gathering opinions on expanding collaboration space in the Leavey Library basement. The committee is also working on changing the web registration interface to improve the students’ experience signing up for classes online. Other projects Academic Affairs brought to the meeting include creating a calendar and increasing participation on course evaluations.

Sampath also discussed progress on the ongoing initiative to improve the experience of spring admits. The administration, after hearing USG’s initiative to provide more programs to better welcome and integrate spring admits into the USC community, developed a more extensive spring orientation program and held a spring convocation for the new students. USG released the online Spring Admit Resource Guide to help spring admits navigate their college experience, and Sampath said a transfer resource guide will soon follow.

USG officials also said at the meeting that their disability accessibility initiative has gained momentum as the board has been asked to give its proposal directly to Nikias. USG officials have met with Edward Roth, the director of Disability Services and Programs at the Division of Student Affairs and a member of the advisory board for the Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity, who discussed using architects specialized in universal design on future projects. Universal design involves abiding by certain construction standards to observe the functionality of buildings, especially for students with disabilities.

Sampath said that she hopes all of these initiatives will be realized during the spring semester.

“For this semester, I know a personal goal of mine is wrap up a lot of the initiatives we worked on last semester; so, not just starting things but completing them whether that’s the proposal we had for fall housing, spring admits, or the disability accessibility and making sure some of those renovations take place. I’m really interested in seeing those things completed,” Sampath said.

[Correction: An earlier verison of this story that Edward Roth was the director of Disability Services and Programs at the Kortschak Center. Roth is the director of Disability Services and Programs under the Division of Student Affairs and an advisory board member at the Kortschak Center. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.]