My name is Eva Long, and I am the ASUSF Senate President. I am a graduating senior, majoring in politics and minoring in public service and community engagement through the Leo T. McCarthy Center.
In my role as the representative of the undergraduate population, two of my biggest goals are to be transparent with all the decision making in the Senate, and to make more of a conscious effort to be truly representative of the students through my presence at campus events, and by finding ways to enhance the student experience at USF. With the largest freshman class in the history of USF being admitted in the fall of 2014, ASUSF Senate has anticipated that there will be large concerns surrounding first to second year retention rates along with housing opportunities for returning students.
Long conversations between Senate executives have taken place within Senate and committee meetings to find ways to address this issue. The Senate wants to make sure to continue reminding the university that although the growth in population is an exciting time for USF, we must continue to strive for programs and policies in place that support our current students and their needs.
In the fall of 2015, there will be an optional 1 unit course titled “USF101” that will serve as a pilot program for 400 incoming first-year students, and will both help students learn about USF’s mission, and acclimate them to the USF campus community. The course will cover topics that will help USF students navigate the resources available to them, hopefully ensuring a successful undergraduate experience, and providing students with tools for personal and professional development.
ASUSF Senate has been active in the process of developing this program, providing as much student input as we can. Additionally, we understand that the demand to live on campus is high. Although it is difficult to increase the number of returning students that are able to live on campus, our off-campus representatives, Kristina Ybarra and Mariam Bereket-Ab, alongside their executive pair, (who advises and supports the representatives) Laureano Figueroa, have met with Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) to find better ways to support students in the off-campus housing search. This entails how to better prepare students in the competitive San Francisco housing search, how to establish relationships with landlords and to understand their tenant rights to make sure that landlords are not abusing their privilege to increase the rate of apartments. Along the way, we hope that the university will create relationships with realtors and apartment complexes, to help us house USF students.
Although these concerns have not been resolved completely, ASUSF Senate feels that we are heading toward the right direction. If there are any other concerns that students feel need to be addressed to enhance their USF experience, we encourage them to come to a Senate meeting, which are held every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. in the University Center’s fourth floor lounge, or email their respective representative on the Senate. We hope that we can involve our peers in these discussions.