Senators provide resources

Photo of the Zoom USG meeting. A USG member is speaking with a colorful presentation on the computer screen.
Senior Executive Aide and COVID-19 Response Committee Chair Katelyn Lee updated the Senate on her current efforts to address coronavirus-related concerns, including providing accessibility accommodations at testing sites. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government discussed meeting with project managers over community vaccine outreach, Office of Student Accessibility Services accommodations at coronavirus testing sites and announced new advocacy campaigns during Tuesday’s Senate meeting. 

Speaker Ruben Romeo began the meeting by addressing USG efforts to provide assistance and relief to various groups on campus, including the USC Burmese Student Association, the Afghan community and efforts to help with east coast disaster relief. 

Sen. Hunter Hinson and Sen. Arie Abija are assigned to east coast relief and will be meeting over the next few weeks to assess how USG can help efforts, Romeo said. Romeo is also attempting to recruit Senators to communicate with and help the Burmese Student Association and Sen. Tommy Nguyen and Russell Augustin are attempting to “tangibly help” the USC Afghan community.  

Following Romeo’s address, Chief Funding Officer Adenike Makinde announced ongoing USG advocacy efforts for students, including textbook exchanges, technology exchanges and justice equity and inclusion workshops to train staff, faculty and “ourselves.”

Senior Executive Aide and COVID-19 Response Committee Chair Katelyn Lee provided updates on ongoing efforts regarding USC‘s coronavirus policies and concerns such as information on coronavirus case location and what students should do when they feel sick. USG has taken efforts to communicate policies with the student body, answering questions on the USG Instagram through the stories feature and hosting monthly meetings with Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman.

“That’s been really great to see, students sending in questions … Whether that’s gameday cases or policies regarding guests in dorms and a lot of miscellaneous questions that come in,” Lee said. 

In her previous meeting with Van Orman, Lee said she raised concerns about accessibility issues at testing sites and how the University can ensure all students can safely access testing.

“Even though there is a policy in place that people with OSAS accommodations don’t have to wait in line, that’s not something that people are aware of,” said Lee in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “Even so, it feels awkward to try to cut in line, so I think there’s some issues.”

In the meeting, Lee said the Jefferson testing location is faster and more accessible to students with accommodations. 

Advocacy liaison Timothy Wang and Nguyen, who initially brought attention to accessibility concerns, have also worked with Lee to make testing sites more accessible and provide resources to aid with any complications that may arise, including long lines.

With the approaching flu season, Lee also announced a campaign with Keck Medicine to encourage flu shots appointments to avoid risks to student health and prevent strain on hospitals.

“​​There’s been increasing research on co-infection and how that could impact a student’s body,” Lee said. “We want to make sure that students are protected from the flu as we want them to be protected from COVID.” 

At the end of the meeting, Sen. Hinson said he and Sen. Nivea Krishnan recently met with Student Basic Needs to discuss the Trojan Food Pantry, which is currently closed due to “understaffing and reopening issues within Student Basic Needs and the University.”

Despite the closure, Hinson said students can reach out to Student Basic Needs for local food pantries and emergency dining hall swipes.