USG discusses fraternities, new projects

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President Alexis Areias said she was not satisfied with the Working Group on Interfraternity Council Culture, Prevention, and Accountability’s recommendations. (Marissa Ding | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government discussed funding and current projects to increase accessibility and student wellness during the senate meeting Tuesday. 

To start off the meeting, chief financial officer Adenike Makinde introduced the spring innovation grant that will provide short-term programs opportunities to kickstart their projects that fit themes of student health, access to healthcare, career development, technology based pilot programs and large scale sustainability programs. The requested grants must be within $500 to $5000 and will roll out in the coming weeks. 

Makinde also announced the creation of additional funds, including the accessibility fund, which will help with accessibility trainings and increase program accessibility for students from registered student organizations, and the green engagement fund, which will help with events or programs that have a “focus on boosting awareness around sustainability.”

“We as an organization have been talking a lot more about accessibility, and the fact that there are entire buildings on this campus that are inaccessible to students … is a huge problem,” said president Alexis Areias in an interview with the Daily Trojan.

Later in the meeting, Areias shared the different projects she’s working on, including a free menstrual product pilot program that provides free menstrual products in seven different buildings on campus and hopefully will be available in every bathroom on campus.

“I think that it’s long overdue that we have universal access to free menstrual products,” Areias said. “California public schools have already implemented that change … and so far, pretty much everybody that we’ve talked to has been in support of that.” 

USG is also involved in the hiring process involving the replacement for former Chief of the Department of Public Safety John Thomas, who recently retired.

“We’re very grateful in USG to have representation and be a part of that search [for the replacement],” Areias said. “We’ve met with a number of consulting groups and recruiters to figure out who the best kind of third party would be to start searching and interviewing for that person.” 

During the meeting, senator Hunter Hinson raised questions about USG’s reaction to the Working Group on Interfraternity Council Culture, Prevention, and Accountability’s recommendations about sexual assault reports at USC fraternities. USG nominated a member of their cabinet to serve in this task force and worked closely with the Student Coalition Against Sexual Violence. 

“I would be lying if I said I was completely satisfied with what has come out,” Areias said. “I think a lot of the recommendations that were released were done without a lot of [the student’s] input … so I don’t think I can confidently say that I am in full support, but I think it’s a great start.”

Senator Diego Andrades also spoke about his project that he’s working on with Areias and vice president Lucy Warren to stock wellness vending machines with take home STI testing kits. Currently, they are in the research phase, looking at how other universities are offering these services.

Andrades also shared that USC will host the 2028 Olympics, which Andrades said will magnify a lot of problems in the city of Los Angeles, including gentrification, overpolicing and police militarization. 

“I’ve been working with the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation, and I will have a resolution pending just to disclose the relationship that USC does have with the Olympics,” Andrades said. “I’m really trying to emphasize transparency between the relationship that USC has with the Olympics … and ensuring that, since SCALE is the primary author voice … [it reflects] the entire sentiment of the student body as presented by SCALE.”

During the discussion section of the meeting, Maddy Hood, executive director of the Military Associated Student Association, spoke about the organization with the goal of reaching assembly status.

“There really is a need for this kind of community in a way that’s kind of easy to miss,” said Hood in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “We really want to make sure that we’re not only bringing engagement for our community in and of itself, but serving the purpose of connecting the broader student government and being a link between the military associated students and USC as a whole.”