ASUCR update: outdoor classroom in community garden approved

Wesley Ng/HIGHLANDER
Wesley Ng/HIGHLANDER

On Nov. 26, members of the ASUCR Senate listened to Fortino Morales, Staff Coordinator of the UCR Community Garden, as he gave a quick presentation about three new projects that were approved by The Green Action Campus Plan (GCAP). Later on in the Senate meeting, funding for each project was approved by ASUCR.

The projects are: A student restroom made out of compost material, a structure that surrounds the toilet, and a classroom. Engineers Without Borders is focusing on the compost toilet, Society for Hispanic Engineers is building the structure around it, and Cultivate R’Space is in charge of building the classroom.

“These three different projects have been kind of, in the works, since the inauguration of [the community garden],” stated Morales during the public forum segment. “So it’s been something that we’ve been playing around with. I’ve been talking…to different campus folks about the idea of building some type of earthen, sustainable structure. So that’s what these three projects would be.”

Engineers Without Borders and Society for Hispanic Engineers both asked for $3,000 for their respective projects while GCAP asked for $3,000 to build the classroom. Each measure was approved in the Senate after Vice President of Internal Affairs Kevin Jo gave the report.

Vice President of External Affairs Lazaro Cardenas gave his report about several University of California Student Association (UCSA) campaigns. One of them includes the creation of “uniform UC wide literature…in regards to who are the regents and why they are at where they are at,” as Cardenas stated. “I know it’s important of having students aware of the people who basically make the major decisions of the University.”

Also discussed during the meeting was the Nov. 28 Q & A session regarding the proposed Middle Eastern Student Center. Senator Ian Cavasos and Academic Affairs Director Shadi Matar both mentioned the event during the round table and announcement segment, with an anticipatory establishment of a Middle Eastern Student Center on campus.

Senate Meeting Highlights

President Liam Dow reported on his visit to the regents meeting the week prior to the ASUCR meeting. According to Dow, some of the topics discussed for the 2012-2013 budget proposal were potential tuition increases for the next year, alleviated funding, increased enrollment of out-of-state students, multi-year funding agreement with the state and professional fees.

Academic Affairs Director Shadi Matar is currently working with the Academic Probation Office to reform the process of academic probation. Academic Affairs is suggesting that students who are put on probation should be required to attend a minimum of three academic workshops and at least one meeting with a counselor.

President Liam Dow gave his report about Student Advocates to the Regents (StAR), a program that the University of California Students (UCSA) offers. StARs meet with and build relationships with Regents and speak about student priorities. They are provided direct access to the Regents, without the constraints of the line separating approved guests from the public audience. StARs meet Regents during informal parts of the agenda, which includes breaks and meals.

Personal Chair Director Marianne Melleka and Senator Ian Cavasos are planning to meet with UCR organizations, such as UCPD or the HUB, to create a risk management committee.

Personal Chair Director Marianne Melleka spoke about her meeting with the Title IX Resource Service Consultant and outlined her plans about creating a sexual harassment committee.

ASUCR along with GCAP will be hosting informational documentary as part of “Recycle Mania,” a competition between Aberdeen and Inverness and Lothian residence halls to see which one can recycle the most.

An event called “What Can You Do with a Life Science Major” is being spearheaded by Senator Johnny Ta. It’s projected date is Tuesday Feb. 12, at HUB 355.

Supplemental instruction sessions (SI) are often perceived as being overcrowded, which led Senator Johnny Ta to propose a live stream of the session using Adobe Connect.

Academic Affairs sent out a survey requesting information about library hours for finals week. The results showed that students were in favor of the change, in which the Orbach Library will be open for 24 hours and the Rivera Library until 2 a.m. These hours would go into effect the friday prior to finals week until the following Wednesday.

Senator Ben Pengson is currently working to improve the CHASS Connect program by including second-year undergraduates.

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