A.S. Council Brief: Triton Food Pantry, UC Carbon Offset Policy, On-Campus Parking

This edition of the UC San Diego A.S. Council Meeting news update will only include the Week 7 meeting. The Week 6 A.S. Meeting was cancelled for unspecified reasons.

The A.S. Council Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18 included special presentations regarding the Triton Food Pantry and the UC Carbon Offset Proposed Policy. The Council went on to hold brief discussions on the topics of campus parking and UCPD’s hiring of mental health professionals, ending with a vote on the cancellation of the Week 9 A.S. meeting.

After roll call, the Triton Food Pantry began their presentation with an introduction of who they are, along with their usage data and budget review. The Pantry is an emergency food resource service with two locations on campus:the Student Center A next to Soda and Swine and the  Graduate and Family Housing on One Miramar Street. To help food-insecure students, the Pantry provides a discreet grocery service and builds a network of food resources regarding health and nutrition. 

Based on internal data, about 78 percent of students visited the Pantry at least once, and the number of students using the Pantry has significantly increased from 6,666 in the 2015-16 school year to 19,754 in the 2019-20 school year. Their total expendable income for the 2020-21 year is projected to be $628,340 and total expenditures is projected to be $405,904, with a surplus of $222,435. 

The presentation was followed by another regarding the UC Carbon Offset Proposed Policy. The policy is part of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gases emitted at UC San Diego to 1990 levels by 2020 and achieving carbon neutrality from scopes one and two sources by 2025 and scope three sources by 2050. Scope one relates to all direct emissions, scope two is indirect emissions, and scope three is all other indirect emissions.

“We have done a lot as far as dedicating resources, money, and time in implementing projects on our campus, going through significant amounts of retrofits in our buildings through our energy efficiency and energy-management program,” Michelle Perez, the UCSD representative of the  Carbon Abatement Technical Committee, said. “We also participate in purchasing clean power through our direct access contract with the UC Office of the President who is our energy service provider for the La Jolla campus.” 

The proposed policy will prioritize direct reductions of emissions from the covered three scopes, only use high-quality offset credits, and serve as a model for other higher education institutions. Additionally, it will advance university research and support student education. It will also reportedly exhibit health and social justice benefits for the UC communities.

The finance committee then reported that they are reviewing the budget to consider possibly changing certain expenditures, along with reviewing items A.S. has funded in the past. 

Harper Estus, Off-Campus Senator, then moved to open a moderated caucus on the topic of parking on campus for Winter Quarter 2021. Clayton Allen, Campus-Wide Senator, commended the transport office for keeping parking accessible during Fall Quarter 2020. Other senators were in agreement, with the general consensus being that this quarter’s parking system works well and should be continued. 

“I noticed that the current system where they have the D permits interchangeable with the S spots and B spots has been going well. In terms of feedback, continue that. If possible, even promote it so that it’s interchangeable with A spots as well,” Isabella Ying, Physical Sciences Senator, said. “Aside from that, as noted, people seem pretty content with the current parking [system].”

It was also reported by Adrianna Blackshire, Marshall Senator, that UCPD expressed intentions to instate experienced mental-health professionals to respond to mental-health emergencies. However, concrete documents relating to UCPD’s budget and how these professionals will be hired have not been made public. 

After multiple reports on projects the various A.S. offices are working on, the legislative committee approved items L3 and L4, the two new appointments to the Office of Spirit and Athletics. Item L2 was tabled till Week 9. Item L1 was amended to read the correct year of 2020-21 and amended to include correct pronouns, as well as tabled till Week 10. 

The cancellation of Week 9 A.S. a meeting in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday was put to a vote, with a vote of 24 yes, zero nos, and one abstention. 

A.S. Council meetings take place every week and are open to the public. Students can be a part of these meetings by joining with the Zoom link posted on the A.S. website.

Artwork courtesy of Yui Kita for The UCSD Guardian.