The Central Student Government has joined forces with the South Asian Awareness Network to advance social justice on campus.
Last week, the CSG Assembly passed a resolution that formalized a partnership between SAAN and the legislative assembly. In return for a $1,750 sponsorship from the assembly, SAAN will promote social-justice events hosted by CSG, and two members from the assembly will serve as ex-officio members on the SAAN board.
While the majority of student organizations apply for funding through the Student Organization Funding Commission — the executive commission responsible for distributing funds to student organizations based on established need — the resolution established that CSG would sponsor and support SAAN for the academic year. The $1,750 would go toward supporting the annual SAAN conference in January.
A partnership with SAAN, out of all the active organizations that focus on social justice, was far from arbitrary. LSA sophomore Meagan Shokar, vice speaker of the assembly and co-author of the resolution, said a partners will give the assembly access to SAAN’s vast network.
“SAAN has a really strong message and a really strong network that they’ve already created in the social justice community on campus,” Shokar said. “It’s an issue that isn’t really brought up enough unless you really seek it.”
The resolution also established a partnership between SAAN and the newly created Commission on Social Justice.
LSA sophomore Arielle Wisbaum, chair of the Commission on Social Justice, said her goal over the course of the year was to bridge the gap between organizations that work on social justice on campus and CSG.
As per a new structure instated by CSG in August, all executive commissions are researching and preparing reports on projects they will be undertaking throughout the course of the year. A formalized partnership with SAAN was the first step in what Wisbaum hopes will be a greater network.
“I wanted to have the social-justice organizations realize that they can use CSG as a resource and use it to be more effective,” she said. “SAAN is a really good place if CSG really wants to get involved with the social-justice community.”
As the SAAN talks — biweekly dialogues hosted by SAAN that are dedicated to various social-justice issues — take place at the same time as the weekly commission meetings, Wisbaum said she saw the talks as an opportunity to join the two events and organizations.
Gaurav Ahuja, co-president of SAAN, said he hopes the student government’s reputation will aid SAAN in securing a greater variety of guest speakers for their annual conference.
Over the next month, SAAN and CSG will pilot a program with the Residence Hall Association that will introduce University freshmen to the importance of social justice on campus. The program will likely begin in Baits II Residence Hall and Couzens Residence Hall by the first week of November, Ahuja said.