Photo Credits: KATHERINE FRANKS / AGGIE
Audience member questions Senate’s outreach strategies
The ASUCD Spring Quarter Town Hall gathered a sparse crowd at the CoHo on May 23. While 16 individuals marked “going” on the Facebook event page, only around 10 people actually filtered in and out during the duration of the meeting.
ASUCD Vice President Shreya Deshpande led the meeting — they asked first for any questions or comments from the audience, but were met with silence. Deshpande deflected to a Google Forms document that was posted on the Facebook event page that allowed students to ask anonymous questions to their representatives.
The first question they read aloud asked what senators planned on doing now that Tipsy Taxi, a free transportation service for students, was dissolved. With no senators volunteering an answer, Deshpande encouraged them to speak up.
“Come on senators, I need answers,” Deshpande said. “What do we do?”
Senator Maya Barak chose to take the inquiry on. She noted that the university is currently trying to partner with Lyft to make rides more affordable for students.
ASUCD President Justin Hurst also chimed in and said the prospect of a partnership was still being discussed.
The next question that Deshpande read asked what senators can do to bring the Experimental College, an ASUCD unit that was also recently dissolved, back to campus.
Senator Alexis Ramirez said that senators would be able to add it back in the future. The Experimental College was cut due to a lack of funding, and Senator Shondreya Landrum explained that it could only come back if ASUCD could find a way to cut its budget deficit. She noted that one main goal of the current student government was to be above its deficit for the 2019-20 year.
Hurst also mentioned that students should be on the lookout for a proposal to increase the ASUCD base fee. According to Barak, the fee currently paid by students hasn’t been adjusted for inflation in decades. Because of the association’s budget deficit and a rise in minimum wage, ASUCD drafted a referendum to increase the fee.
Following the Google Form questions, Felix Cassidy, a third-year English major, stood up and questioned what kind of outreach methods ASUCD was currently using. He said that he was unaware this town hall was even taking place.
His inquiry was initially met by silence from the senators. Landrum eventually volunteered an answer, saying that she puts advertisements out on Facebook and is starting to do the same on Instagram.
“Not everyone wants to be involved with student government,” Landrum said. “We want people to know that we’re here, we want to help. Our main goal is to start this precedent that we need to be around and visible.”
Deshpande also explained that ASUCD as a whole is planning on increasing its outreach in the fall. They said that the Bylaws have been changed to require ASUCD senators to hold mandatory outreach hours and that ASUCD will be tabling and putting on different activities in the future.
The senators then went around the table and explained what their platforms are and what actions they’ve taken to work towards their goals in office.
The meeting concluded at 7:06 p.m.
Written by: Claire Dodd — firstname.lastname@example.org