USG approves LSA name change

Diego Andrades, USG chief of staffs, presents a slideshow to the audience.

Campaigns for the upcoming USG election will begin Jan. 23 at 12 a.m.; the candidates will be announced at 10 a.m. the same day. (Drake Lee | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government discussed a proposal to change the name of the Latinx Student Assembly to the Latine Student Assembly during its Senate meeting Tuesday night. Cristal Molina, LSA co-executive director, Anacristina Perry, LSA co-executive director and Melissa Ayala, LSA assistant director, said they believed the name change was necessary to better represent the Latine community and to achieve their goals of gender and language inclusivity.

“Latinx was created mostly by English speakers using a sound ending in the letter ‘x’ that doesn’t really exist within the Spanish language,” Molina said. “‘Latine’ works both in English and Spanish … A lot of feedback we’ve gotten from the Latine community is that we aren’t super inclusive of Spanish speakers currently, so we’re working on a rebrand for our board.”

The Senate unanimously approved the name change. 

Chief of Staff Diego Andrades announced that the budget allocation committee is currently reviewing USG’s spending during the fall semester to reallocate funding, which changes each semester because of enrollment changes — such as spring admits. 

The committee’s main focus is providing funding for the Joint Assembly of Military-Associated Students and Middle Eastern and North African Student Association. They have exhausted all funds from their trial semester and have no additional funding for the spring. 

“This is also quite difficult,” Andrades said. “Right now, the process does not set aside money for the spring semester for assemblies in the trial period. In the future we’d like more flexibility so we’re reevaluating the process to make it more equitable for these assemblies during future incorporation processes.”

Senator Yoav Gillath presented successful programs from the fall, including the Dining Dollar Donation Program through Trojans Give Back, a group that allows students to donate unused dining dollars at the end of the semester, which raised $14,000. This followed the launch of the pilot program in May 2022, which raised $12,000. 

“On the surface that looks like a $2,000 increase, [but] there were actually a lot less Dining Dollars in the system this semester,” Gillath said. “Percentage wise, that is a huge increase.”

With this success behind them, Gillath said, USC Hospitality is committed to making the Trojans Give Back program permanent and the drives annual. 

Another project Gillath worked on included sunscreen distribution to residents of Skid Row with the help of Cathartic, a nonprofit that connects suppliers with local community-facing organizations for equitable health and hygiene, and other organizations on campus. Gillath said the groups distributed more than 20 boxes of sunscreen to the unhoused population, who are disproportionately affected by health conditions such as skin cancer.

Gillath said he is also in discussion with the University’s administration to explore the possibility of expanding the Fryft zone to provide safer options for students to reach certain “corridors” throughout Los Angeles. Efforts to restore the previous single-rider system are also underway, he said.

Senator Sam Nadol resigned from his post and will be replaced with Blayke Bridge, a sophomore majoring in public policy. 

Andrades also reflected on this past semester in his role as chief of staff. Andrades said he wants to focus on fostering good relationships, creating more thorough plans, improving time management and communicating well if things don’t go as planned. 

The campaign period for the upcoming USG election will begin Jan. 23 at midnight, and the candidates will be announced at 10 a.m. the same day. The application for write-in-candidates is open on the USG website and will be due Feb. 10 at 11:59 p.m. The voting period will be from Feb. 21-26.

“I want to make sure that the senators who are coming in after us have the tools to be successful from day one,” Gillath said. “They’ve got to be ready to get off the ground running and get those projects going.”

Sign-ups for the restaurant crawl project will open in the next few weeks. The Black Student Assembly restaurant crawl will be held Feb. 10 and the Asian American restaurant crawl will be held Feb. 24. 

“Those two restaurant crawls will happen in the month,” Andrades said. “[Buses] will take students to restaurants that are local, so [we’re also] giving back to the local community.”