Mamata Elangovan / The Highlander

The Associated Students of the University of California, Riverside (ASUCR) Senate passed legislation last Wednesday outlining changes to the bylaws governing the First Year Fellow Program, which provides mentorships for first-year students with ASUCR Executive Cabinet members. The 18th senate meeting of the year also saw legislation to promote inclusive food options on campus, Green Grant approvals and senator reports. 

The First Year Fellows legislation, SB-S24-001, intends to further define the responsibilities and structure of the First Year Fellow Program, focusing on “required assignments and accountability,” according to the text of the bill. The amended bylaws contain new provisions outlining the responsibilities of those involved in the program, and other logistics. 

Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) Senator Anjana Narasimhan, a primary author of the bill and former executive fellow, stated that the legislation was mostly “small edits and more explanations of what we’re going to do, because the bylaw itself originally was very broad and isn’t really specific.”

The legislation also sets up more concrete measures of accountability, adding a section in the bylaws for disciplinary proceedings. Adam Ramirez, Head of Staff for the office of the President and a primary author of the bill expressed concern that previously, “there hadn’t been much recourse if a fellow or if an ECAB member would neglect their fellows or their duties.”

Senator Philson Ho, another primary author and former executive fellow, said in years past the Fellows Program “lack[ed] a lot of visibility from the rest of ASUCR” and that “not a lot of people take them seriously.” Senator Ho hoped the legislation would help address those concerns. 

SB-S24-001 passed 14-0-0. 

Also passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday was SR-S24-002, or the Dietary Inclusivity and Sustainability Act. The resolution stated that ASUCR events with food must include a “vegan and/or vegetarian option,” pointing to diversity and sustainability concerns. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) Senator Rachit Shah, a primary author of the legislation, stated “beyond just mandating vegetarian or vegan options [at ASUCR events], we’re trying to encourage more student orgs to actually incorporate vegetarian or vegan diets for sustainability reasons.” 

The Senate also approved about $8,000 of Green Grant proposals. $3,991.75 went to the Vegan Food Fair, an annual event which showcases the “diverse array of vegan cuisine provided by UCR Dining,” according to the grant proposal. The fair this year will be held on April 14, 2024. $4,000 was granted to the Sustainable Housing project, which, as stated in the grant proposal, aims to tackle “house design, construction, and sustainability” through the design and construction of a model sustainable house on UCR’s campus. 

During roundtable and announcements, several senators described new developments in their office. CHASS Senator Ray Khan spoke on multiple meetings he has had with campus partners, such as the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), Student Life professional staff and African Student Programs (ASP). Khan stated that he discussed collaborations with his office in his meetings with ASP and the WRC. BCOE Senator Narasimhan promoted an upcoming BCOE fair in May and Ground Up, an art fair in collaboration with the UCR Arts department. School of Public Policy (SPP) Senator Naia Pizarro advertised an upcoming Basic Needs CalFresh event on Wednesday the 17th. President Pro Tempore Abby Choy gave Legislative Review Committee updates. CHASS Senator Teesha Sreeram publicized upcoming events in the Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education (CARE) office. CNAS Senator Grace Su promoted the GCAP Earth Week Festival which runs from April 15-19. 

The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:28 p.m. Senator Alex Lu was absent and Senators Leila Haidar, Kaden Ho and Amariah Peedikayil were excused. School of Education (SOE) Senator Crystal Toral and SPP Senator Naia Pizarro were initially marked excused, but joined the meeting at 7:07 p.m.