Inclusion of Transfer Students in the Campus Community
Aside from incoming student orientation and the Transfer and Re-entry Center (TRC), welcome events tailored to transfer students are nearly non-existent, leaving many students feeling left out of the community here at UC Davis. This can have a devastating effect on a student’s first year here. Many transfer students have difficulty transitioning from semester to quarter systems; combined with a schedule often consisting of upper division courses, transfer students experience a unique level of hardship compared to other incoming students. Making sure these students have a smooth transition into the UC Davis community should be a top priority for ASUCD. Improving the transfer experience has the potential for a very large return on investment in terms of student well-being in their first year and the overall student experience here at UC Davis.
The solution for this issue is very simple and very achievable. The main disconnect seems to lie in the communication of events to transfer students, likely because many transfer students end up living off campus while much of the publication of these events is through residence hall bulletins and physical flyers on campus. Something as simple as the creation of a weekly listserv specifically tailored to the ALL incoming students that includes information and dates on campus wide events, such as the Welcome Week Rally or the BUZZ, could improve attendance at events and improve the experience for all students. Additional advertisement of the new Wildfire app could also increase overall student involvement within the community.
ASUCD Outreach and Participation
This election season and others in the past highlight the issues that ASUCD faces when it comes to student body participation in events and elections. There are six open seats on the senate table this fall and with only six candidates currently seeking to fill them. The diversity amongst these candidates does not fairly represent many groups on campus. The majority of the candidates, including myself, participate in Greek organizations on campus and there is only one woman running in this year’s election. It is my hope that this election season is one of a kind but either way ASUCD must work hard to increase interest in the inner workings of the association. Additionally, voter turnout on campus is nothing but abysmal. Of a total 29,546 undergraduate students in fall of 2016, only 2,116 students participated in senate elections.
Participation in ASUCD is a multifaceted issue that may require several changes. First, ASUCD should consider rebranding. This would include a new logo, upgraded website, and new campaign theme. Secondly, social media is a very powerful tool that is currently underutilized by the association. In addition to more posts by the accounts, advertising the accounts to freshman and transfer via posting in dorms and by presentation at orientation would help to spread the word about ASUCD and it’s events.