ASI senators discuss Beach Pantry partnerships, child safety and a new escalator

Whether students worry about feeding family members at home, maintaining the safety of their children on campus or something as simple as retaining their ability to use an escalator, all topics were fair game at Wednesday’s meeting of the Associated Students Inc. Senate.

Students who hate stairs are in for a treat this coming September

The 20-year-old escalator in the University Student Union, with a downward stairway that has been out of order since the first day of school, is set for a multi-part replacement and upgrade in late September. Last year’s ASI set aside roughly half a million dollars to replace all of the steps, chains and pulleys within the escalator, according to ASI Executive Director, Richard Haller. After its last breakdown, it was decided that the escalator posed a safety hazard, which is why only the up escalator is working.

“We decided to shut down the down escalator,” Haller said. “We communicated that to the university and to Disabled Student Services.”

Graduate enrollment falls short

This year, local graduate student enrollment dropped for the first time in 10 to 15 years across many disciplines, according to Associate Vice President of Student Life and Development, Jeff Klaus.

“It was truly unexpected,” Klaus said. “We’re literally having to go back and do research to figure out what happened. A long-term trend like that could have a very significant impact for graduate studies on our campus.”

Beach Pantry receives donations and partnership proposals

  • The organization, Giving Children Hope has offered a partnership with the Beach Pantry where ASI will be able to purchase pallets holding up to thousands of dollars worth of food and supplies for only $200, including delivery. Beach Pantry representatives will be able to indicate which kinds of supplies they’re looking for, and volunteers at Giving Children Hope will attempt to build the pallets around the needs of the pantry.
  • Giving Children Hope will kick off its first university-level partnership with a pilot program with the slogan, “We’ve got your back.” Students will receive two backpacks, one of which will be filled with three to four days worth of food supplies for a family of four. At the end of the week, students will bring the first empty backpack and exchange it for a new backpack full of supplies.

“The initial population we want to target are the parenting students,” Klaus said.

The cost of the program is $24 per student per month.

  • The Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living is currently conducting a city-wide food drive to collect donations for the Beach Pantry.  
    “We’re already having lines out the door of the pantry,” Haller said. “It’s important that we find these partnerships with people who can keep the pantry stocked.” HPI Architecture, a firm that has worked for the university in the past, stocked up the pantry last week.

Security at the Child Development Center

  • Families will now have to be “buzzed in” to the CDC thanks to new entry and exit security gates that are in the final phases of completion.
    “It was very accessible to anyone coming in off the street,” Haller said. “Ever since the Sandy Hook incident, we’ve been concerned about the security of the Child Development Center.”
  • Parents can now use biometric imprints, such as a fingerprint, to sign their children in and out of the center.
  • New LED lights have been installed in the parking lot adjacent to the CDC to provide greater illumination, according to Haller. The lot has also been repaved.
  • Privacy slats have been installed around the perimeter of the play yard. Previously, anyone could see children playing through the wire fence, Haller said. The installation of the slats ensure that passerbys cannot see the children.

Campus says goodbye to old tech and torn up furnishings

  • The Game Center will now be renting out locks for use in the USU lockers. Previously, students had to provide their own locks to use the storage spaces.
    “That was identified as problematic, in case we ever had to get into the lockers for any reason,” Haller said.

So far, the Game Center has rented out 76 lockers.

  • The patio furniture in the Central Court and Plaza have been upgraded with new slings due to damage.
  • A new shed has been built for the University Grow Garden.
  • All booths and chairs of the food court were reupholstered during the summer.
  • There is a new hydration station in the East Wing Lobby.

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