ASUCD senators, chairpersons and other campus leaders highlight their focus on promoting housing affordability as the search for next year’s housing begins
By LILY FREEMAN — email@example.com
As next year’s impending search for student housing quickly approaches, several student-run organizations have placed an emphasis on promoting housing advocacy campus-wide.
The re-establishment of the Aggie Housing Advocacy Committee (AHAC), an external ASUCD committee, marks major ASUCD efforts to increase affordable housing for students, according to their mission statement. ASUCD Senator Priya Talreja, a fourth-year environment policy analysis and planning major, explained the goals of AHAC, as she is currently spearheading the revival of the organization.
“The AHAC aims to address housing insecurity in the city of Davis,” Talreja said. “[It] will serve as a hub for all housing advocacy on campus, organize student voices at the university, city, county and state levels of government and will partner with other local housing advocates, such as Aggie House.”
Talreja went on to detail AHAC’s past projects before it became inactive in fall 2022. Previously, the organization wrote legislation, such as ASUCD Senate Resolution #28, which called on the city of Davis to implement plans to make housing more affordable. She also described their efforts to increase pedestrian-, cyclist- and transit-friendly infrastructure in Davis.
AHAC is currently in the process of hiring its new chair, according to Talreja, but once the position is filled, the organization plans to find more ways to increase housing affordability as the time to sign leases for the next school year approaches.
Mehalet Shibre, a third-year political science and cinema and digital media double major and chairperson of the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission at UC Davis, has also been at the forefront of revitalizing AHAC.
“After deliberations with the past Housing Committee Chair, Chairperson Lopez, Senator Talreja and I determined the committee needs a more precise focus,” Shibre said. “This new housing committee will pay special attention to effective transportation along with housing advocacy.”
Shrey Gupta, a first-year computer science major and an interim ASUCD senator, said that increasing housing advocacy is a goal on every senator’s mind.
“We need to work with student housing and third-party apartment complexes to make living on or off campus more affordable,” Gupta said. “I want to work with student housing to improve amenities like increased water bottle fillers or more reliable laundry services. These are concerns that need to be addressed, and we are hoping to fix them through future legislation.”
In addition to the re-establishment of AHAC, members of Davis College Democrats (DCD) have also been increasing their lobbying efforts for legislation that addresses local housing issues. Zaid Arroyos, a third-year political science major and a member of DCD, explained the organization’s goals when it comes to affordable housing.
“We were lobbying for Senator [Scott] Wiener’s Senat Bill (SB) #4,” Arroyos said. “This bill essentially streamlines the process of building affordable housing.”
Arroyos highlighted UC Berkeley’s housing crisis last year, explaining that the school had to freeze thousands of admissions because of a lawsuit in which residents sued the university for violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). SB #4 would override CEQA, according to Arroyos, so that universities have fewer hurdles to jump through when it comes to creating more housing.
“I feel like what happened in Berkeley last year would’ve been a living nightmare for most college students, and that’s what makes this bill so personal to us,” Arroyos said. “It might seem scary to go talk to your representatives, but at the end of the day, that is literally their job, and they’re more than happy to hear from you. Making sure your voice is heard directly should really be treated as normally as any other civic duty.”
Written By: Lily Freeman — firstname.lastname@example.org