Undergraduate Student Government proposed a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting to continue its involvement in the Student Leadership Association of California, an organization of 15 student governments dedicated to collaboration between student leaders at universities.
SLAC hosted a conference at UCLA Sunday with 51 student government representatives from 15 institutions, including USC, Stanford University, Occidental College and Pitzer College. Participants deliberated on administrative differences between student governments, issues of administrative transparency and efforts to increase student engagement, USG Senior Director of Communications Truman Fritz said.
Fritz, who acted as the interim chairman for the SLAC Board of Directors, said representatives also discussed formalizing SLAC as an association by instituting an ancillary organizational structure. USC, Occidental and Pitzer initially established SLAC in 2018 to connect student governments from across California and had 10 attendees at the first conference.
“As our mission mentions, it’s [important] to share best practices, share insights, and share things and problems and solutions that we found at other institutions that we can bring back home and really enhance the student experience here,” Fritz said.
Sen. Emily Johnson said she appreciated learning about the different structures of the participating student governments during the conference. She was particularly interested in how student governments are funded and the role the Senate branch plays within the academic institution.
“It was very insightful to understand how they are structured and the influences that their overall institutions have on that, particularly like differences between public and private institutions,” Johnson said.
Johnson also said she found herself reflecting on how to improve the way USG functions and learned about certain initiatives at different universities that could be implemented at USC.
“There’s certain things that UCLA was doing about sustainability or just in general [in] their campus climate that contrasted a lot from USC, either people being in general more well-informed or even we saw they have a way bigger budget for service organizations,” Johnson said.
SLAC’s opportunities for collaboration have brought forth results in the past. In June, USC and UCLA representatives released a joint statement on campus sexual assault, which condemned the lack of transparency and accountability from administrators concerning incidents of sexual assault and reaffirmed their commitment to improving campus climate.
Student government leaders from USC, Stanford, UCLA and Yale, including USG President Trenton Stone, also co-authored an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in August concerning their schools’ involvement in the college admissions scandal. The writers argued that there are systemic barriers to higher education that must be addressed to help less privileged students have equal opportunities.
SLAC will host another conference in January.
During the meeting, Sen. Hailey Robertson also tabled her proposed pro-consent reusable cup project, which she requested funding for at last week’s meeting. Robertson hopes to develop a more substantive campaign before presenting it to the Senate for a vote.
“We’re exploring other alternatives, like maybe getting other organizations involved, as well as creating a more cohesive campaign that can be more meaningful and impactful,” Robertson said.
Robertson anticipates that the cups will available for the USC vs. UCLA football game Nov. 23.