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UCS leaders plan for upcoming semester

Steele ’18, Srinivasan ’19 aim to develop projects such as increasing access to wellness resources

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Undergraduate Council of Students gathered for the group’s first general body meeting of the 2017-18 academic year Wednesday night. The meeting, which lasted for over an hour, was focused on introductions and ice breakers, mostly directed toward new first-year members, and included brief updates on prior UCS initiatives and future goals.

After the introductions and ice breakers, UCS President Chelse-Amoy Steele ’18 and Vice President Naveen Srinivasan ’19 gave a brief outline to first-years about initiatives UCS had enacted in prior years and future projects that the pair hope to implement.

The two gave an overview of last year’s UCS initiatives such as the initiative to put tampons in University bathrooms; the Campus of Consent bill, a project aimed at promoting sexual assault prevention training and the No Apologies initiative, a public letter to universities calling for an end to college application fees.

Looking forward, Steele and Srinivasan hope to expand prior initiatives. Building on the tampon project, Steele would like to push the University to facilitate the project instead of having individual members distribute the tampons.

“This year, we’re pushing for it to be done under the University — the same way that (it) provides toilet paper and soap in bathrooms,” Steele said.

They would also like to implement the campus of consent bill, which was proposed last year but not fully implemented.

In addition to growing past projects, the pair want to develop their own initiatives. According to a presentation they delivered at the meeting, potential new initiatives include “improving financial aid for low-income students,” “streamlining climate- and bias-related incident reporting,” “increasing access to health and wellness resources” and “expanding (internship) opportunities for humanities students,” Steele said.

Six university administrators came to the meeting to introduce themselves to new and returning members. In attendance were Eric Estes, vice president for campus life and student services; Rene Davis, title IX program officer; Tanya Purdy, director of B’Well health promotions; Marisa Quinn, chief of staff to the Provost; Lynn Hernandez, director of University inclusion programs; Marc Peters, health educator and Vernicia Elie, assistant dean of the college for financial advising.

General body members of UCS usually serve in committees that are focused on different aspects of the University. Chairs of various committees, including Chair of Student Activities William Zhou ’20, Chair of Student Wellness Sharon Zeldin ’20 and Chair of Campus Life Camila Pelsinger ’20, introduced themselves to new members and described their committees in an effort to aid new members in deciding which to join.

The meeting ended with Steele and Srinivasan calling on new members to apply to over ten currently vacant UCS positions, including the chair of academics affairs, chair of appointments, chair of alumni relations and the position of UCS treasurer.

Any student can join UCS by collecting the requisite 100 signatures. New UCS members interviewed by The Herald, such as Claire Heiden ’21 and Henry Drewes ’21, said they primarily collected signatures at dining halls and in dorm lounges.

“I’m really passionate about making Brown a better community for everyone and representing my class and also the student body as a whole in policy decisions,” Heiden said. “It’s really cool that Brown empowers their students to serve as leaders in the community and to have a say in administrative actions. That really appealed to me.”

“You all are just as much a part of this as we are,” Steele said to new members.

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