ASUC Senate discusses philanthropy, Residence Hall Assembly initiatives

Sebastian Cahill/Staff

Related Posts

The ASUC Senate met Wednesday night to discuss philanthropy on campus, the initiatives of the Residence Hall Assembly, or RHA, and updates on executive officials’ various projects.

The meeting began with a presentation from Lishelle Blakemore, associate vice chancellor of development, and Brooke Hendrickson, director of development, student experience and diversity. During the presentation, they talked about student leader involvement in fundraising on campus. Blakemore noted that their new campaign, which is slated to launch Feb. 29, 2020, is working on finding campuswide fundraising priorities.

“Scholarships are front and center in this (upcoming) campaign,” Blakemore said at the meeting. “I should actually say: the undergraduate experience is front and center in this campaign.”

Blakemore and Hendrickson went on to mention that the campaign is also looking into housing concerns, basic student needs and building and interdisciplinary projects. Hendrickson also said Chancellor Carol Christ wants to create 100 new faculty positions with the funds raised, in order to address the growing student population.

The campaign is also considering incorporating an advisory student philanthropy council to give input on campaign direction.

“One thing that we recognize is that we didn’t do a great job of involving the student community (in our last fundraising campaign),” Blakemore said at the meeting.

Next, Jordan Jomsky, RHA president and campus junior, updated the senators on his organization’s recent developments. Among other projects, the RHA has been in contact with Cal Dining to establish a new meal plan and account for students’ basic needs, according to Jomsky. He said the RHA has also managed to secure $9,000 in theme program aid, which can be used as funding for food and events.

During public comments, California Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, intern Russell Lee brought forward the issue of food insecurity on UC Berkeley’s campus, saying that about 40% of students are food insecure. He asked senators to sign on to his campaign, which aims to convince Christ to commit to a “zero hunger campus” by 2025.

Varsha Sarveshwar, the ASUC external affairs vice president, said she attended district advocacy meetings this week and met with state lawmakers.

“As I’ve said before, I want lawmakers to think of students and not administrators when they think about the university,” Sarveshwar said.

Sarveshwar added that student priorities concerning UC President Janet Napolitano’s replacement have been submitted in writing to the UC Board of Regents.

Aastha Jha, the ASUC academic affairs vice president, said her office is working on a pilot program that would help move some campus classes toward “open source resources,” meaning that, by giving the professors access to the material, students would not have to pay for expensive scholarly articles and course readers.

“All of these resources are available to the professors — the professors just don’t know that they are,” Jha said.

Contact Sebastian Cahill at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.