USC’s Undergraduate Student Government unveiled a series of new resolutions and bylaws at their meeting on the evening of March 30. Proposals touched on mental health, food waste, and campus religious and social life.
At the meeting, USG proposed adding a new Advocacy Department in their legislative branch alongside the existing senate and the legislative committees. The department will be a platform for representatives from a variety of student organizations to discuss important issues going on around campus and plans to meet monthly.
The Advocacy Department would replace the existing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and add two entirely new councils: the Social Impact Council and the Religious and Spiritual Life Council.
The Social Impact Council will monitor civil justice and social issues on and off campus and will comprise up to 25 student leaders. The Religious and Spiritual Life Council will consist of around 20 student representatives from religious student organizations, as well USC’s Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni.
Both USG and the Graduate Student Government recommend that USC become partners and patrons of Kognito, an evidence-based health training program.
Specifically, student government wants to see USC adopt Kognito’s 45-minute interactive program called ‘Kognito At-Risk for Faculty and Staff’ which offers an interactive role-play simulation to build awareness, knowledge and skills about mental health and suicide prevention.
Faculty, staff and academic advisors act as “gatekeepers” and are often the first people students reach out to regarding mental health battles. Hence, the Gatekeeper Training Resolution was drafted with supporting students exhibiting signs of psychological distress in mind.
USG also devised a plan to take safety precautions while maintaining sustainability in dining halls. A resolution for dining and food waste included a plan which would require a “Grab N’ Go” takeout option to use compostable containers. They proposed mandatory social distancing in dining halls as well.
The biggest move at the meeting was to formally amend The USG Constitution. They added a Green Engagement Fund and an Accessibility Fund to the Funding Department, and determined both will be managed by the existing Accessibility Fund Oversight Board.
The Green Engagement Fund entails implementing student-driven, innovative projects to increase sustainability and raise environmental awareness at USC.
The Accessibility Fund Oversight Board will have total autonomy over the allocation of funding, which will be spent on programming, events, research, advocacy initiatives and other opportunities they deem necessary.