From L to R:
Jocelyn Ortiz, Fourth-Year, Business Admin-Finance
Preeti Juturu, Second-year, Public Policy
Natalie Hernandez, Third-year, Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology

ASUCR hosted an open house event on Friday, Oct. 18, starting at 9 a.m. at the ASUCR office for people to come meet and speak with their representatives. ASUCR gave free doughnuts, candy, coffee and pizza.

The open house was designed to be a senator project to network with ASUCR senators and ASUCR members and understand the layout of the ASUCR office. More than 50 students attended the event, approximately. Students were given tours, free bluebooks and scantrons. ASUCR Vice President of Internal Affairs Jocelyn Ortiz and Vice President of External Affairs Luis Huerta announced a few of the main issues they plan to concentrate on during the school year.

During the event, Huerta claimed that his office plans to collaborate with CalFresh to combat the issue of food insecurity stating that, “roughly 60% of students are food insecure.” CalFresh is a state mandated government program that provides monthly food benefits to low-income households.

The Highlander also spoke with Ortiz who stated that she wants to focus on basic needs. She said she planned on having a housing mixer event this quarter to get 15 to 20 off-campus apartments together and have students come and get information about the different housing options, prices and amenities for the future. Ortiz stated, “I know often times it’s hard for students to get on-campus housing and then they’re left having to find off-campus housing without any guidance.”

Ortiz plans to work with the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI), which focuses on integrating formerly incarcerated people into the school system. The goal of USI, according to their website, is “to bridge the popular academic theoretical discourse of mass incarceration with one that is grounded in the real lived experiences of UCR students and the surrounding community.”

A collaboration with R’Kids, a student-parent organization that focuses on making the best UCR experience for student-parents and their children, is another focus for Ortiz. According to the website, the goal of R’Kids is “to empower students with children by providing the necessary resources to succeed in higher education or whatsoever their future goals may be.”

Huerta said, “some of the things I plan on prioritizing is civic engagement.” He added, “my office is going to spearhead voter registration efforts … and we are going to see how the team within the external affairs office works together.” Huerta said that his office will table at the Bell Tower with food and snacks to have students register to vote. Another effort that Huerta plans to work on is lobbying. He stated he is in collaboration with UCR junior Governmental Relations Director Vincent Rasso to make sure students have a doorway to go to the state capital in Sacramento and engage with elected officials. Huerta also noted, “I’m really lucky to have a good team and good government relations director.”

President Pro Tempore Preeti Juturu said, “This event helped us get to know a lot of students and introduce them to the space. It could have been more impactful if there was a better presence and engagement from the executive cabinet and senators.” The event ended at 1 p.m.