The University Student Government Senate held a meeting at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center on Tuesday night, which included presentations by USG University Affairs, Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, Diversity Affairs and the Queer and Ally Student Assembly, QuASA directors Robby Sachs and Alyssa Coffey discussed various events that the organization has held this past semester.
These events include a Welcome Back Barbecue, Beyond Your Gay Straight Alliance, a beach bonfire, a dodgeball game and a freshman sleepover. Sachs and Coffey also discussed progress that has been made in new member organizations, such as Queers in Engineering, Science and Technology and the film group SCA Queer Cut.
“I’m really excited about new member organizations,” Sachs said. “We’ve had a lot of momentum this year with the joining of different groups that I think are really underrepresented, and that can really bring a strong and diverse voice to the queer space on campus.”
Coffey explained that though there have been improvements in increasing visibility for the queer community, there is more to work on.
“I think there’s a lot of good potential and a lot of interesting things coming out of the queer community,” Coffey said. “But there’s a lot of more potential for visibility on campus. I think that over the past year, on-trend with national issues such as marriage equality, the queer community on campus has fallen back. However, there are also a lot more issues that groups on campus are becoming more active on and engaging with, so there’s a little burning fire that is going to kick up in the next few years.”
QuASA directors also detailed upcoming events, which include a spirituality and sexuality retreat, a generation queer retreat and a second-chance prom for students who had a poor prom experience.
Sachs explained that he is looking forward to the second-chance prom because it will bring the USC queer community together.
“I’m glad that we have this event,” Sachs said. “It really is a second chance for freshmen to relive their prom, or for anyone really. But it’s also a celebration of the queer community at USC. It’s really cool to see to all these people turn out.”
Furthermore, Sachs discussed the powerful impact the event would have on students who felt segregated from their peers in high school.
“It’s a really important opportunity. I think prom is an important memory for people, especially if that memory is tainted with the problems of high school of not being out or not being who you really want to be,” Coffey said. “So having the chance to do it in college, where it’s a safer space for you, you can go with who you want, you can go how you want, you can wear what you want, you can be who you want to be, and that’s an important and liberating opportunity.”
The Senate meeting also included presentions of new campus developments, such as the new Uber-Campus Cruiser partnership, the free LAX shuttle for students, Moreton Fig renovations, new water bottle filling stations, dorm renovations and a price cap for general education textbooks — a project that will require an intricate study of class syllabi and textbook pricing.
“I think within a GE category you shouldn’t have to be choosing a course based on how much the materials cost, granted that science books are worth more than English books,” Director of University Affairs Jordan Fowler said.
APASA, the second-largest student organization at USC with over 8,000 members, also discussed events they held during this semester. These events included a voter registration campaign, night market, APAHF extravaganza and a winter wonderland.
Upcoming events include, Vote On, a USG presidential candidate forum, APASA’s Got Talent, Asian Pacific Film Week and a Little Taste of Tokyo Cultural Tour, among others.