USG senator to propose a Religious Student Assembly

first_imgUndergraduate Student Government Residential Senator Aziz Akbari has proposed the creation of a Religious Student Assembly to integrate faith-based student organizations with USG. Akbari is currently working on a formal resolution to create the assembly.Akbari is set to present the proposal for RSA to Program Board on Tuesday, March 24. If the proposal passes, it will reach the Senate that same day for another presentation preceding the final vote.To create the resolution, Akbari is working with Jim Burklo, associate dean of religious life; Varun Soni, dean of religious life; Andy Su, USG Diversity Affairs delegate and Luke Phillips, former Political Student Assembly director.Akbari said that the goal of RSA would be for students allow themselves to better connect to religious organizations.“We’re trying to create a network of religious [organizations] in USG so that they can mainly co-program to do interfaith work and bring awareness about the work that they’re doing individually,” Akbari said.According to Soni, the new assembly will help religious groups become more closely affiliated with to USG.“At USC we have more student religious groups than any American university,” Soni said. “There is this remarkable tapestry of diverse religious tradition on our campus. The idea of an assembly is that these students can work together with USG and collaborate in a way that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”Akbari explained that the creation of RSA would create a greater sense of diversity in USG.“The biggest way that [the assembly is] benefiting USG is through the diversity,” Akbari said. “It will be an addition of student [organizations] that are in program board which I think is the biggest benefit that USG is receiving from this because they’re getting more diversity in the types of organizations that are in USG and the voices that are being heard within USG.”Akbari also said that RSA would establish greater opportunities for religious organizations and leaders of other organizations to collaborate in putting on interfaith events.Additionally, Akbari said that he would like to see religious groups use the assembly to put on more volunteer events.“Personally, I would like to see a lot of engagement in interfaith community service, because community service is something that’s kind of pan religious and something that almost every religious denomination encourages, and I think that’s one of the great ways we can facilitate all these groups coming together and working with one another,” Akbari said.Soni said that the assembly would grant USG the opportunity to represent a more diverse set of perspectives on campus.“Undergraduate Student Government represents all students on campus … and having as diverse of a point of view as possible allows Undergraduate Student Government to fulfill its mission in serving the entire university student body, “ Soni said.Soni also agrees with Akbari’s view that the implementation of RSA will allow student and religious organizations to pull their shared ideas to work on large projects collaboratively.“Our religious student groups are interested in many of the same issues that other assemblies are interested in, especially in terms of social justice, environmental stewardship, free speech issues [and] civil rights. There’s a lot of collaboration that can happen within the framework of undergraduate student government,” Soni said.Soni accredited student leaders in creating the new assembly.“Our student leaders deserve all the credit and they’re working closely with other student leaders,” Soni said. “Undergraduate student government is for the students by the students, so I see my role as an advocate and advisor, but I really see the students as taking the leads on this.”last_img

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