USG welcomes new and promoted members

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In its first senate meeting of the semester held Tuesday over Zoom, the Undergraduate Student Government welcomed its new speaker of the senate Tommy Nguyen and senator Nicholas Yang. Nguyen, a senior majoring in history, has served as a senator since last March. Yang, a sophomore majoring in business administration, was promoted from his previous role as senate aide. The changes follow former speaker of the senate Ruben Romeo’s December resignation. 

“I’m excited to do a lot of good work this semester,” said Nguyen in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “I feel like it’s been a big struggle. We have a lot of support and a lot of funding; I’m in a very privileged position … Speaking of administration, I think the best I can do in my position is to work as hard as possible.”

The programming branch also introduced three new hires for various student assemblies. Vincent Hsueh, a senior majoring in pharmacology and drug development and applied analytics, was hired as the new co-executive director of the Student Assembly for Accessibility; Chloe Hirth, a senior majoring in political science, for executive director of the Political Student Assembly and Paola Samaniego, a senior majoring in business administration, for assistant director of Speakers.

There were also two promotions within the programming branch, with Julia Gallaway, a senior majoring in environmental studies and international relations, global business, assuming a new role as co-executive director of the Environmental Student Assembly and Connor Castillo, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies, starting as ESA’s new assistant director. 

Following the programming branch’s announcements, senator Devin Ayala gave a presentation about some of USG’s plans for the semester, including creating a resolution to support the compensation of resident assistants, continuing to work for the Garden Club and helping to fund Trojan Food Pantry. Ayala also aims to work with USG’s internal committees to tackle Department of Public Safety concerns, take on issues with the Fryft program and mobilize the senate into the community. 

Parliamentary secretary Zaid Diaz-Arias said his role has allowed him to collaborate with people from “many different backgrounds” and is excited to continue helping staff in any way possible. 

“This semester, I want to expand my communication with all senators …  as I’ve felt a little disconnected from the rest of the senate,” said Diaz-Arias in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “My goal for this semester is to collaborate more with the other members, helping them on their projects and let them know I’m there to support them.”

When the meeting opened for discussion, senator Brian Stowe shared his concerns about his work with the different community groups that have yet to achieve assembly status and thus have limited resources.

“One of the main reasons I got involved with the student government is because I want to advocate for the addition of student assembly groups into the programming department,” said Stowe in an interview with the Daily Trojan

To form designated assemblies within USG, groups are required to demonstrate need. Stowe said he has been working to vocalize the needs of certain groups, such as ROTC-affiliated students, through clear communication between these groups and USG. Organizations also need two sponsoring senators to represent them and give a presentation on why the group should be incorporated as an assembly to the programming branch. This is succeeded by a vote on whether USG wants to incorporate the group into its programming branch, which Stowe said will likely take place in March. 

Even if this isn’t the start to the semester he imagined, Nguyen said he really looks forward to this semester and that everyone is trying to “adapt” and “be flexible.” 

“Although it’s been a slow start, I hope USG can reach out to more of USC by being more accessible,” Nguyen said. “As a student government, I hope we can uplift all the other students and give them the resources and the support to identify their problems.”