UCSA to Hold 13th Annual Student Congress at UC Riverside

Delegates from Across the UC System Arrive Thursday for Three-Day Event

RIVERSIDE, Calif (www.ucr.edu) – UC Riverside will open its doors to more than 400 undergraduate and graduate student delegates Thursday as the University of California Student Association (UCSA) holds the 13th annual Student Congress. It will mark the first time that UCR has hosted the three-day event.

The congress runs from Thursday, Aug. 18, through Saturday, Aug. 20, and features workshops, training, clinics and social events. The primary purpose of the event is to allow delegates to discuss, lobby for and vote on the campaigns that UCSA will organize and advocate for in the coming year.

Delegates will present their recommendations for the 2011-12 campaigns through a series of poster presentations. This science fair-like process promotes discussion and sharing of ideas between the delegates. Initially, three undergraduate and graduate proposals will be selected, with two finalists emerging from a final vote at the end of the conference.

Adam Jackson-Boothby, the executive vice president of the UCR Graduate Student Association (GSA) and a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Administration program, said he was excited to see “what issues students are passionate about this year.”

“Since UCSA Congress is a student-run, student-led conference, the topics that will be discussed will be decided once students arrive on campus,” he said.

At the 2011 Congress, held at UC Irvine, undergraduate students supported a platform of providing financial aid to all students and worked toward passage of the California Dream Act. Graduate students voted to work towards the implementation of a Graduate and Professional Students Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. UCSA also decided to make the issue of budget and tuition concerns — subjects that had been raised by students perennially — a permanent part of their bylaws.

In addition to the presentations and meetings, which will primarily take place in the Highlander Union Building (HUB), there will also be several social events, including ice-breaking games on Thursday, open mic night on Friday, and a post-banquet dance at Latitude 55 on Saturday.

UCR was selected as the host site after a vote at the UCSA Board of Directors meeting in April, beating out a bid from UCLA. In the months since, dozens of UCR students have devoted hundreds of hours in preparation for the event.

“We are blessed to have such passionate and hardworking students at our campus,” said Albert Yum, 2010-11 external vice president for ASUCR and a fourth-year business major who was primarily responsible for submitting the bid. “This would not have been possible without the help of ASUCR, UCSA, and GSA and the great staff at UCR.”

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danny Kim was excited about the chance for UCR to show how much it has grown and improved over the last few years.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students from other UC schools to visit UCR,” Kim said. “We’ll be able to showcase all the progress we’ve made on campus, such as the HUB.”

“UCR has really grown tremendously within the past few years, and I want (students from other campuses) to erase any misconceptions they might hold to this university,” Yum agreed. “I am proud to showcase our campus diversity.”

Yum added that UCR staff and faculty are encouraged to interact with the delegates during their visit.

Jackson-Boothby said that the congress provides a great opportunity to meet and work with students from across the UC system.

“I’ve noticed in my time as both an undergraduate and a graduate student of UC that the various campuses rarely work together, which tends to create unnatural silos,” he said “Conferences like these are amazing venues to allow students to meet and discuss and eventually realize that we are one system comprised of numerous campuses — a fact that we need to embody as we fight for higher education issues.”

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