In the Week 3 council meeting, senators updated their projects and discussed the disconnection between student body and student representatives. They talked about potential solutions to make the election process for associate vice president more transparent.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Senator Isabella Ramos discussed her upcoming projects on transportation. Given the relatively high price for gas, she believes it could be necessary to bring in some incentives to make transportation services more convenient, such as $75 gas cards issued by UC San Diego campuses.
Then, Engineering Senator Samir Nomani brought up a proposal to bring in more vending machines in Price Center and other areas, in cooperation with other vendors. This move comes as a means to help students access snacks, even when restaurants are closed.
Jiyeon Song, the Office of Campus Affairs data officer, released the Winter A.S. Advocacy Agenda Survey Data Analysis. According to the analysis, 60% of student participants expected A.S. Council to prioritize Food & Housing Resources (basic needs and financial assistance) and 56% for Health & Well-Being (physical/mental health resource accessibility). In addition, the analysis displayed a universal lack of knowledge about student advocates (college councils, AS senates, etc.). Students in general have limited understanding of who their student representatives are, hence the disconnection between the student body and the student representatives.
In correspondence with the disconnection problem, senators came up with several potential solutions to make the A.S. Council more accessible to students and student organizations.
Vice President Isaac Lara proposed to have public interviews to make the associate vice president (AVP) hiring process more transparent. Senator Isabella Ramos added that some AVP candidates complained about non-responsiveness from the A.S. Council after submitting their applications. Ramos believes that having public interviews could also be a great advertising opportunity for Associated Students. Senator Ashley Jones suggested that the interviews be conducted in a hybrid format so that more people can sit in and voice their opinions.
Besides, according to the Reports of the Standing Committee, the Finance Committee amended and approved the allocation of $15,000 from General Unallocated to Student Organization Programming Funds for Spring Quarter. The funds support registered student organizations to hold their activities and events, after meeting basic funding eligibility and going through related request processes.
A.S. Council also reiterated that student-organized events can still require masking if desired even though the university no longer requires it.
This week’s A.S. Senate meeting focuses on student organization activities and a Graduation Commencement update.
Campus-Wide Senator Daniel Soria introduced his Campus Referral Service project, an online form created especially for the UCSD student organizations to collaborate with A.S. Through the platform, campus organizations can send information regarding their initiatives to the senate, and in turn, the senate can utilize available resources to suit the community’s needs. An easy-to-use interface and a more mature official website may be adapted to make the project more accessible.
According to Arts and Humanities Senator Rhianen Callahan, recently many professors were trying to move their classes to be twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday rather than on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. However, class schedules for a two-day week were already over-saturated. This has led to ongoing campus-wide faculty negotiation to determine which courses should be two days a week and which should be three days a week.
President Manu Agni then shared the Commencement Update on the behalf of CCP and A.S. As of April 19, 2,150 graduates registered for college commencement in total, while the commencement is planned for having 3,000 graduates. Among those registered students, only 60% said they would attend all-campus commencement, amounting to approximately 1,290 people. Before the pandemic, on average each student brought eight guests to the commencement; however, the number could be lower this year, but no limit would be set on the number of guests students with them. Even with their invited guests, only 10,320 seats would be taken, less than the 14,000 seats in total prepared for the event, especially as most graduates tend to stand for a better view. The capacity limit has never been hit, so additional seats on the field may be used by anyone. In addition, following health guidelines, the commencement will be entirely outdoors and live streamed. Vaccination and testing are recommended, and masking is encouraged.
As for commencement transportation, parking will be free. For the all-campus commencement, the guest parking will be at Gliderport, which is a 15-minute walk from the venue. There will also be shuttle services between Gliderport and other parking structures for college commencements. In addition, Hopkins Drive will be closed to all traffic from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday to give a better commencement experience.
Artwork courtesy of Ava Bayley for the UCSD Guardian.