ASUC senators hold 1st meeting of school year, organize agendas for upcoming year

Suyang Lu/Staff

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The new ASUC Senate class gathered Wednesday evening at Anna Head Alumnae Hall for its first meeting of the academic year, receiving updates from ASUC executives and campus officials, and defining three areas of focus for the 2015-16 Advocacy Agenda in Senate Resolution 001.

The Advocacy Agenda, mandated by the ASUC bylaws, organizes the senate’s ideas into detailed action steps. This year’s class chose campus equity, safe spaces and holistic wellness as its main areas of interest for the upcoming school year.

While the Advocacy Agenda has yet to be finalized, the senators will pass it on to the executives next week in the hope that they will sponsor the resolution, according to ASUC Executive Vice President Lavanya Jawaharlal. She said, however, that the executives are “already on board” with the senators’ ideas.

Several guest speakers — including representatives from the ASUC Student Union and the Residence Hall Assembly — came to the meeting to introduce themselves and answer the senators’ questions. Jawaharlal hopes that the ASUC will foster closer communication with the ASUC Student Union this year and plans to invite representatives from various Student Union departments to upcoming senate meetings.

While SQUELCH! Senator Zoe Brouns said the senate class has already heard introductions from some of the speakers, she was glad to have the opportunity to ask questions in a more public setting.

During the executives’ updates, ASUC President Yordanos Dejen said she had already held meetings with campus administrators about improving campus climate, which was a major aspect of her original platform during election season.

In addition, each of the senate standing committees appointed a chair and vice chair. Independent Senator Sumayyah Din will head the Finance Committee, Student Action Senator Will Morrow will lead the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee, and CalSERVE Senator Alana Banks will serve as chair of the University and External Affairs Committee.

Toward the end of the meeting, each senator had the chance to announce any upcoming events their office is planning. Those taking place within the next week include Student Action Senator Andre Luu’s Financial Wellness Week — a campaign to educate students about financial-security resources on campus — and Student Action Senator Grace Ho Jung Kim’s CE3 Block Party for nontraditional students, which will be held Sunday on Memorial Glade.

Jawaharlal expressed enthusiasm about this year’s “unique” senate class, indicating that each member seems open to listening to and collaborating with others.

“This class is different than previous years,” she said. “I’m pretty confident that whatever bills or campus issues come up, we’ll be able to be united on a common front.”

Ariel Hayat is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ArielHayat.