Election results for the Undergraduate Student Government 2021-22 academic year were verified at the Senate meeting Tuesday.
“After going through the receipts, complaints … everything was cleared and good to go, so today, our director of campus activities, Gabriel Vanzuela, certified the elections,” said Student Programs Advisor Luis Canton.
The Senate also discussed a mental health initiative proposed by Senator Ruben Romeo earlier this month. According to Romeo, To Be Honest Mental Health, a third party vendor that would provide services to students with mental health needs, can be implemented and used by recognized student organizations to help students. Romeo also discussed the creation of an accessibility fund to help finance a pilot program from the vendor.
“If an RSO comes to us with interest, we will talk about how to get ten people committed to four sessions, how to get the funds for this kind of a mental health initiative and how to put less stress on the financial aspect of getting this third party vendor,” said Romeo. “We just want to put on alternative mental health resources since counseling, and mental health can’t be offered to USC students beyond California with their license.”
According to Romeo, USG’s legislative branch holds a budget of $1,000 to fund four to five sessions provided by TBH Mental Health for ten students. These sessions would connect students with particular experiences or identities to life mentors, life coaches or clinicians in a safe environment depending on the students’ needs.
Romeo also provided updates on USG’s involvement in supporting the community of students affected by the Myanmar political coup. Since USG released a statement in mid-February, Romeo created a taskforce and began drafting a resolution in support of “tangible asks,” such as financial monthly-payment / tuition costs-forgiveness, shelter for students who cannot return home and a pass / no pass option beyond-24-units for Burmese citizens.
“The problem is USC administration has not been as vocal about [the Myanmar situation] as USG has been, and tangible ‘asks’ are more important for the community right now,” Romeo said. “We’re going to name explicitly those ‘asks’ that the numerous students asked for, or previous students asked for, and those ‘asks’ overlap with accessibility, wellness, affordability and academic affairs.”
Senator Julian Lin presented his projects, which included updating an existing resolution on CalFresh, a food stamp program for community members of a low income bracket in California. The current resolution was passed in October 2019, and called for prepared food vendors and markets on all USC campuses to become authorized CalFresh vendors.
Lin also spoke about his work on two other resolutions, one relating to making OT 100 “THRIVE: Foundations of Well-Being” a required course for all USC students and another on the approval of a Palestinian flag to hang at the Center for International and Public Affairs.
According to Lin, these resolutions will be formally presented at next week’s meeting.