By Julia Schemmer | June 25, 2016
In August, the city of Pomona will be filled with hundreds of University of California students for the annual UCSA Congress, now called Student Organizing Summit, made possible by the UC Student Association.
As delegation applications are released across the campuses during the summer, you may be wondering what UC SOS is and whether or not it is the conference for you. Check out the top five reasons why you should send in an application today!
- You will have the opportunity to meet new people from your campus. My first UCSA Congress was the summer before my freshman year of college, before I knew any students at my campus. Attending UC SOS was an incredible way to meet new people at UC Riverside, who I then collaborated with on projects, took classes with, and became close to during the rest of the year. Students come from all sorts of different organizations, are passionate about a multitude of causes, and provide diverse perspectives towards the UC experience. Congress is a great way to solidify your bonds with your fellow peers and create tangible action at the campus level.
- You will have the opportunity to meet new people from across the UC system. Some of the best friends I have made have been through conferences such as UCSA Congress, regardless of the campus they attend.. As students, we ought to stick together and remain unified in an administrative system that thrives upon anything but. When we work together as a unified body to create change, our impact is amplified. Although we are from different campuses and studying different topics, we are all one University of California family, and Congress is a great way to become united with your UC brothers and sisters.
- This is your chance to take action towards causes you care about. No conference would be complete without generating action or progress towards vital causes. During the 2015 UCSA Congress, participants phone-banked their elected officials on legislation that deals with the accessibility, affordability and quality of the University of California system. You will work directly with creating action plans towards developing campaigns for causes you can take back to your campus during the academic year. You can leave the conference feeling like you were able to make a difference towards the causes that matter.
- During the conference, you will learn about issues affecting undergraduate, graduate and professional University of California students. Since I went to Congress before entering college, I had no idea what issues were actually affecting UC students. It was a completely new world to me, having just come from my experiences as a high school student. During the conference, students have the opportunity to create campaigns based on issues affecting their educational experience at the UC. From food insecurity to mental health to voter registration, I came home to Riverside feeling equipped to tackle these issues with a newly informed perspective. Whether you have been in the UC system for one week or four years, it is always useful to become briefed on the issues affecting both undergraduate and graduate students.
- UC SOS is your chance to exercise your voice. During the conference, each delegation will vote on the next two-year campaign for the UC Students Association to focus their efforts towards. Last year, the campaign was #HowAreYou, a plan to rethink mental health services within the UC. You will work with people from all across the University of California to develop various issue-based campaigns, in which the winning campaign is voted on by all attendees of the conference. It could be anything this year, and we need people like you to vote and decide what the next campaign should be.
With all of these reasons and more, UC SOS is an incredible way to develop as a student, activist, and trailblazer. Don’t miss out on the chance to change the University of California with your narratives, experiences, and voices.
Julia Schemmer is a first-year Public Policy major at UC Riverside and Media Intern for the UC Students Association. Her goal is simple: to put the lit back in politics.