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Welcome to the Farm!
We are Erica and Isaiah, your student body President and Vice President, and we’re thrilled to welcome you all back to campus. We serve as the Executives of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU), Stanford’s student government organization.

We want to ensure that we’re always being transparent with all of you on the work we have been able to accomplish during our time as your Execs. One of the ways in which we do this is by sending periodic Executive Updates that contain important information about what we’ve been up to at the ASSU as well as opportunities for you all to get involved in student government and University decision-making processes.

Since taking office in the spring, we have been working diligently to turn our commitments into actions and to address long-standing student concerns. Our primary goals for this year fall under three key categories: (1) elevating student voices both within and beyond the University, (2) improving our community wellness by fighting for resources and recognition for all students, and (3) expanding the University's definition of community in order to protect the interests of campus service workers, the local community and the environment.
Elevating Student Voices
We believe that elevating student voices is core to our mission as your ASSU Execs. In the past, students have been left concerned, confused and unheard as the administration has made decisions with little to no transparency or accountability. Since taking office in the spring, we have met with a number of key stakeholders in the past several months in order to elevate student voices, including Provost Persis Drell, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and the Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response (SARA) office.
 
These meetings have focused on improving the sense of belonging for students of color on campus following the noose incident during the summer, advocating for better support and resources for residence halls, and partnering with student leadership to promote events surrounding Chanel Miller on campus. In the near future, we will present to the Faculty Senate about the importance of centering student voices in the upcoming vote on the recently released Future of the Major and First-Year Experience proposals. As our university is in the midst of Long Range Planning, we want to ensure that student input is provided at every step of the process and will continually reach out for your thoughts throughout the entire year. If you are interested in providing your feedback now, feel free to fill out this form!
Community Wellness
In order to ensure that all students on campus are afforded
with resources, recognition and respect, we are dedicating the majority of our efforts towards improving the wellbeing of all students. While there is still more work to do, the entire ASSU has been busy creating events, advocating for university resources, and collaborating with relevant parties to foster a better campus climate. Some of the successes so far have been the creation of a recurring food bank to combat affordability concerns, partnering with Vaden to craft a new CAPS model that better supports students, working with ResEd to make residential spaces more affordable and to improve social life on campus, and advocating for more Disability Studies opportunities within academics.
Expanded Community
A common complaint among the student body, faculty, and staff is that we as a campus are not sufficiently engaged with the community at large. Additionally, it is imperative that we use our position to advocate for a more sustainable Stanford. With these issues in mind, we have been working for the past several months to increase awareness of pressing matters that affect workers and local community members. On a local level, we have worked to disseminate information to the student body regarding the Stanford-SEIU 2007 labor negotiations throughout the summer. On a national level, we have partnered with peer institutions to advocate for issues related to climate change, college affordability for FLI students, and more. Finally, we partnered with Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) in the spring to provide affordable airport transportation to lower our carbon footprint and are looking to continue this work in the future.
While we have briefly shared what we have been up to, if you want to learn more about our present accomplishments and future plans, make sure to scroll down for all of the updates and announcements regarding the Graduate Student Council, the Undergraduate Senate, and the Executive Cabinet. The entire ASSU has and continues to work tirelessly to make the campus a place where everyone feels that they belong and can be successful. We’re here to serve you, so if you ever have questions about the work of the ASSU or want to get in touch with us, we encourage you to shoot us an email at president@assu.stanford.edu at any point in the year. 

Sincerely,
Erica Scott '20, ASSU President (she/her)
Isaiah Drummond '20, ASSU Vice President (he/him)
The Undergraduate Senate
This is the first of many update letters to be published over the course of this year. This is what your elected representatives have been up to this past week, and their efforts to improve student life on campus. Stay tuned for a regular spotlight on the things that matter to you, and what the Senate is doing to address them. 
Update Letter from the 21st Undergraduate Senate
Graduate Student Council (GSC)
Graduate Student Council (GSC) is a part of the legislative branch of ASSU representing the interests of the graduate community. GSC is comprised of 15 members and has three main functions: Funding, Social Events and Advocacy.

In the past year, GSC has been working on two major advocacy priorities, graduate student mental health well-being and affordability of graduate education. In the upcoming year, we will work closely with university administrators to ensure more measures are being taken on those fronts while also exploring new advocacy priorities. 

We are actively recruiting Co-Chairs for our Social Committee. A detailed job description can be found here, and please email us at gsc-chair@assu.stanford.edu if you are interested.

Subscribe to our mailing list at https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/gsc-members!
Executive Cabinet
The ASSU Executive oversees a dedicated team of cabinet members who are responsible for specific initiatives. They have been working extensively over the past spring and summer on their projects, and you can learn about some of the highlights of their work below.

Academic Freedom/Political Engagement
The Directors of Academic Freedom and Political Engagement, Megha Parwani and Andrew Dallakoti, strive to foster student civic engagement as well as constructive and open discourse through screening televised 2020 election debates and hosting "deliberative dinners" to give students the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with each other’s differing political beliefs. Megha and Andrew also seek to arrange a speaker series that puts diverse thinkers on key 2020 topics in conversation with each other, providing students with expert insights on complex political issues. Finally, the Directors are working alongside various campus groups to increase student voter registration and census reporting, furthering campus political engagement.


Affordability
Over the summer the Affordability Directors, Grace Achepohl and Irán Roman, were excited to collaborate with Second Harvest food bank, R&DE, the Graduate Student Council (GSC), and Stanford Solidarity Network (SSN) to provide thousands of pounds food to over 150 Stanford students and their family members. No one at Stanford should be hungry and they are looking forward to partnering with various groups to work on solving this food insecurity crisis. Besides food insecurity, both directors have been meeting with administrators and students to discuss areas for improvement one such being dependent health care. If you would like to get involved or have ideas, please email achepohl@assu.stanford.edu and iran@assu.stanford.edu. They are excited about the year to come!

Community Responsibility
This summer, the Co-Directors of Community Responsibility, Lizzie Ford and Olivia Fu, worked with SEIU 2007 to support the union during the contract negotiations for Stanford’s workers. We also met with representatives from Stanford’s Administration to discuss the status of the General Use Permit (GUP), and planned projects for the Committee  on  Community Responsibility for the quarter.

Disability Advocacy
The ASSU Disability Advocacy Committee is excited to continue advocacy around increasing Disability visibility and fostering community. This summer we worked hard to organize a variety of exciting projects including planning social events for the Stanford Disability community, creating alumni connections, organizing our social media, and planning opportunities to bring more Disability Studies to Stanford academics. For more information, or if you are interested in joining the committee please email our Director of Disability Advocacy, Rachel Wallstrom, at rjwall@stanford.edu

Diversity and Inclusion
The Co-Directors for Diversity and Inclusion, Kojoh Atta and Lizzie Ford, met with Matthew Tiews, Associate Vice President for Campus Engagement to help plan the renaming ceremony for Jane Stanford Way to center native voices and labor throughout the entire process. They also connected with Susie Bruebaker-Cole to involve students in the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment (IDEAL) initiative. Finally, they began preparations for a community center meeting involving all centers to foster solidarity and coordinate efforts on campus for the 2019-20 school year.

Environmental Justice and Sustainability
This summer our Environmental Justice and Sustainability Directors, Ayoade Balogun and Kelsie Wysong, hit the ground running with ASSU work. They began to set up plans to continue future airport bus shuttles during holidays, as well as to integrate waste trainings into future early year teachings of staff and freshman. Looking forward, Ayoade and Kelsie hope to foster more collaborative connec
tions between campus sustainability and environmental justice groups, push for standard Environmental Justice and Sustainability practices across campus, and continue working on past initiatives. Reach out to them at ayoade@assu.stanford.edu and kwysong@assu.stanford.edu if you have ideas or would like to participate!

FLI Advocacy
Over the summer, the Director of FLI Community Outreach, Jeff Rodriguez, has focused on removing dorm co-pays and course enrollment course fees. For Co-pays, he has met with Resed -- where they were very receptive. They will continue to meet with Resed on co-pays. For course enrollment fees, he has already met with VPUE Harry Elam and will continue to work with him and the working group on course enrollment fees to send recommendations to the provost. 

Mental Health and Wellness
Throughout the summer our Mental Health and Wellness Director, Vianna Vo, has been advocating for change in the academic, community, and administrative spheres. To begin addressing unhealthy advisor-advisee relationships as well as classroom culture, Vianna has been meeting with faculty from the Undergraduate and Graduate teaching teams. In addition, she has collaborated with CAPS to explore how student mental health can be better supported; for example, they have been working towards expanded CAPS sessions for community centers, a new access coordination model, and support with off-campus therapy. This year, Vianna will focus on building a mental health evaluation framework that encourages accountability and provides a foundation from which progress can be assessed. Above all, she hopes to foster a Stanford community that celebrates resilience and strives to uphold well-being in every aspect.

ResEd/Social Life
Throughout the summer our Director of Residential Living and Social Life, Jesus Cervantes, has been preparing for the upcoming year by meeting with Stanford administrators. Specifically, the meetings have focused on how the ASSU can help improve residential life and better amplify student voices in social life, ResX Implementation, and the hiring process for the new Associate Vice Provost (AVP) of ResEd. Over this next year, he will be serving on the hiring committee for the new AVP as well as working with the Social Life Committee headed by Nate Boswell. He also works closely with Jenn Calvert, the Interim AVP of ResEd, on ResX Implementation and ways to make ResEd more accessible for students through increased transparency and increased opportunities for collaboration. There are a lot of challenges facing the residential system at Stanford this year, but he hopes to enable the student body to be able to tackle these challenges and create positive and lasting change.
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