The Lunch with ASUCD series commenced last Thursday at the Memorial Union (MU) Coffee House. This lunch series opens a gateway for the student body to access their student government officials in an informal setting.
Passed unanimously on Oct. 11, Senate Bill 7 allocates $245 to fund lunch at the ASUCD Coffee House, with seven students at each meeting.
“The goal of the program is, in essence, to create an avenue of communication in which students could more easily access student government officials,” said Roman Rivilis, author of the bill and a second-year political science major.
The idea for the lunch series branched out from the Meals with Mrak program, in which students could enjoy informal breakfasts with the University administration. Organized by former Student Assistant to the Chancellor Nick Sidney, the Meals with Mrak program received positive feedback from students, inspiring ASUCD to develop a similar program.
“Both [programs] promote outreach and provide a relaxed setting where students can interact with, and better humanize campus administrators,” Former Senator Justin Goss said in an email interview.
Goss and Rivilis first brought the idea for Lunch with ASUCD under consideration in the summer of 2012. They envisioned a program that would allow students to interact with senators over lunch, but they also wanted to avoid high costs for the meals.
By using the CoHo instead of the Dining Commons, ASUCD could keep all the costs in-house, Goss said.
“I think the MU is a more convenient meeting place for many students,” he added.
Although ASUCD senators hold public office hours, there is no consistent rate of students who come. Many students either do not know these office hours exist or do not typically visit the third floor of the MU, where most of the office hours are held.
“[Lunch with ASUCD] aims to bridge that gap by offering a source of outreach to students who want to effectively communicate with a group of ASUCD officials in an informal setting, without the hassle of figuring out office hours,” Rivilis said.
Students attended the first lunch last Thursday in the company of ASUCD Senators Bradley Bottoms and Kabir Kapur. The lunch included a discussion of the structure of ASUCD, reasons for being part of student government and where student fees go.
“It was a rewarding experience. They were excited to be a part of the first [lunch],” Kapur said. “I was excited to hear that they were interested in being a part of the program.”
The next Lunch with ASUCD is on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. at the CoHo.
Students can register online at asucd.ucdavis.edu/2012/10/30/asucd-meals.
KELLEY DRECHSLER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.