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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Future plans for CoHo outlined at Feb. 20 Senate meeting

DREAM Committee Chair confirmed after months of empty chair 

ASUCD Vice President Shreya Deshpande called the Feb. 20 Senate meeting to order at 7:11 p.m. in the Mee Room on the third floor of the MU. Senator Khalil Malik was nominated and elected as interim Senator pro-tempore, the official representative of the Senate. 

Darin Schluep, UC Davis Food Service director, presented the CoHo’s quarterly report. Schluep highlighted Fall Quarter events, such as the chancellor’s Moonlight Breakfast that served about 1,200 students for free during finals week and the Night to End Campus Hunger Benefit Dinner on Dec. 2 that donated all proceeds – about $7,000 – to The Pantry. Schluep talked about the implementation of new protocols for CoHo employees on late and missed shifts, as well as about sick policies to accommodate the student staff’s academic needs while also maintaining day-to-day operations. 

“We want to make sure we listened to [student-employees’] needs and made changes with mental health concerns being more prevalent,” Schluep said. 

Additionally, Schluep discussed future plans to work with the Basic Needs Committee on finding recipes for a $2 meal served in the CoHo on weekdays as an option for students on a tighter budget. Other updates include creating an educational fund and providing testing materials for student employees, increasing the team of volunteers to maintain the Tower Gardens, transitioning the South CoHo to a vegan and vegetarian menu, collaborating with the MU Games Area for food packages for birthday parties or other events and incorporating dispensers for free menstrual products in CoHo bathrooms in collaboration with PERIOD.

Schluep also said beignets will be added to the South CoHo menu and an oat milk option in the Swirlz menu will be added within the coming weeks. 

Following the CoHo quarterly report, the table moved to confirmation of the DREAM Committee Chair. Deshpande and Senator Juan David Velasco provided a recommendation for Alejandro Cervantes, a second-year economics and political science major, to be confirmed.

“I chose to be the chair for the DREAM Committee because I have been personally impacted by the immigration system,” Cervantes said. “I come from a mixed status family and it’s the root of my identity that has inherently been politicized.”

Cervantes said his goals as DREAM Committee Chair include bringing more professional development opportunities in the undocumented community, expanding resources for food insecurity for those who may not have access to EBT and emphasizing interpersonal communication and healing through art. 

“Being an immigrant and having an undocumented or mixed status is tough and comes with trauma, but how can we engage with the healing practices that we’re already learning and how can we apply that to our communities?” Cervantes asked. “I’m a firm believer in art being transformational and a way to publicize and raise awareness for undocumented communities.” 

Cervantes was confirmed with no objections. 

Next, the Committee on Committees and Campus Center for the Environment Chair Yasmeen Qursha presented both committees’ quarterly reports. 

For CCE, Qursha outlined the progress of Project Compost, saying the electric vehicle known as “The Cyclops” had successfully collected compostable organic matter from around campus to the windrows pile at the Student Farm. Qursha also discussed a pending proposal at the Office of Sustainability regarding Project Challenge which would allow students to educate themselves on environmental initiatives. Qursha discussed future plans for weekly workshops for Earth Month this year and a long-term goal of planting fruit trees as a 24-hour resource for students to have access to fresh produce. 

The table moved to ex-officio and elected officer reports, during which time most people reported being mainly focused on elections and referendum outreach. Senator Samantha Boudaie noted her work on the Kosher initiative on campus. 

Deshpande also introduced their project with the Basic Needs Committee which updated the resource box for students on the Canvas webpage to include contact information of the Crisis Text Line and Student Health and Counseling Services. 

“Now, basic needs resources and mental health resources are more accessible to people while they’re freaking out on Canvas,” Deshpande said. 

Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission Chair Jonina Balabis mentioned finalizing the annual Pass the Plate event on March 3 and an upcoming cultural humility training for the Senate. 

Following Ex-Officio and Elected Office reports, the table moved to public announcements after all new and old legislation were tabled. Balabis called for support in the March for COLA and all solidarity efforts. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:51 p.m. 

Written by: Graschelle Fariñas Hipolito — campus@theaggie.org

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