Students request USG funding for Parkside Garden

Vice President Nivea Krishnan presented USG’s internal goals to increase intentionality, impact and outreach. USG has already conducted outreach activities via tabling and talking to registered student organizations. (Robert Westermann | Daily Trojan)

Environmental Student Assembly advocacy liaison and president of the SC Garden Club Olivia Heffernan requested Legislative Funding for the Parkside Garden at Tuesday night’s Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting. 

The Parkside Garden is USC’s only on-campus garden and provides an interactive green space for students. The garden requested $3,489.56 for materials that will help the garden. The funding was unanimously approved by the Senate. 

“[Parkside Garden] is a learning garden,” said Aidan Leitch, operations lead of the Parkside Garden. “It’s really the only opportunity for students on campus to get their hands on some soil and really learn about gardening … it’s also just a great space, it’s open, it’s outdoors and it’s a place for students to socialize.”

Chief diversity officer Zaid Diaz-Arias presented his preliminary progress on starting a new civil discourse workgroup. The group currently consists of himself, president Hannah Woodworth, vice president Nivea Krishnan and chief of staff Diego Andrades. 

“One of the things we discussed in our first meetings is democratic engagement,” Diaz-Arias said. “We reviewed Johns Hopkins’ Student Democratic Engagement report … which analyzed the climate that we are currently in with our democracy under strain in the United States and abroad. Specifically, [looking at] how that impacts diversity in the country and how we should be working to cultivate democratic engagement and civic discourse.”

Krishnan also shared internal USG updates including projects to increase intentionality, impact and outreach. USG has already revamped the online project tracker for students interested in seeing the progress of current expenditures. USG has also already initiated outreach activities through tabling, talking to registered student organizations and having a USG calendar of events. 

Krishnan also presented the legislative branch’s external projects she and Woodworth are overseeing. These projects include hosting administrative round tables to have a more intimate conversation with administrators about issues on campus through Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Student Engagement Emily Sandoval, hosting housing rights workshops which will launch at the end of the semester to coordinate with the University to navigate housing in South Los Angeles and supporting RSOs through interpersonal conflicts within the organizations in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion.

SCÜP distributed 1250 of 1430 available tickets, with an estimated 900 students utilizing the service. SCÜP’s services will return at the onset of thanksgiving break. (Robert Westermann | Daily Trojan)

Senator Aidan Feighery presented project updates including culture fest, a welcome event for spring admits. The event will focus on intersectionality and cross-cultural collaboration. Feighery’s other projects include helping international students fill out I-20 forms for summer work opportunities, keeping yellow jackets accountable in light of recent misconduct, preventing sexual assault  and working with the accessibility committee in collaboration with the Office of Student Accountability Services to make hybrid classes more available for students. 

The First-Generation Student Union expressed interest in a trial period next semester in hopes of being incorporated as an assembly. First-generation students are students who are the first in their families to attend college. 

“It’s an honor to get a trial period in the upcoming semester,” first-generation student union co-president Andrew Mecatl said. “We’re making history with this announcement, and we will continue to make history as we begin our transition into an assembly.” 

Chair of sustainability and campus infrastructure Sara Stienecker proposed the expansion of compositing facilities, providing recycling bins on Fraternity Row, providing reusable containers for students in Dining Halls and expanding U-Pass to undergraduate students as a transportation option. USC Transportation currently partners with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide graduate students with reduced fares of $110 for first sign-ups and $108 for future semesters. The pass allows students to have unlimited rides on the Metro rails and bus lines. 

Stienecker also gave an update on SCÜP, the USC/LAX shuttle which was piloted during fall break. SCÜP distributed 1250 of 1430 available tickets, with an estimated 900 students utilizing the service. 

Chief communications officer Paul Yi shared that USG’s communications committee has met with Senior Communications Strategist for Student Affairs Gretchen Meier to increase social attention.

Diaz-Arias announced three new advocacy liaisons: Kevyn Calleja, a junior majoring in business administration and accounting, is the new liaison for Imagine, Dream, Access and Success; Sir William Cornwell III, a freshman majoring in acting, stage and screen, for Pacific Islander Student Association; and Antonio Okeke, a senior majoring in public policy and public administration, for Transfer Student Assembly. 

Senator Sam Nadol shared the nomination of David Wang, a junior majoring in business administration, as the special events committee co-executive director. The senate unanimously confirmed the nomination. 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Gretchen Meier is USC’s Senior Communications Strategist. Meier is the Senior Communications Strategist for Student Affairs. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.