Even after extending its application deadline, the Viterbi Student Council’s Executive Board received only one application, causing the council to become inactive for this school year.The VSC is an umbrella organization that coordinates monthly meetings between the presidents and board members of various Viterbi organizations and the Viterbi administration.Paul Ledesma, associate director of undergraduate admissions for Viterbi and last year’s VSC faculty adviser, said he was not sure why there was so little interest in the VSC Executive Board this year.It is the responsibility of the outgoing Executive Board to organize and publicize elections, Ledesma said.“It’s possible that it wasn’t advertised adequately by last year’s leadership, but it’s also possible that students who may have run for the position found it more important to hold leadership positions within their specific engineering student organizations,” Ledesma wrote in an email.William Wu, last year’s VSC vice chair, said the organization had slowly moved away from its original role as a resource for students.“I think [VSC] is becoming obsolete because [organizations] were just going to it for money instead of using it as a resource and building a relationship with the administration,” Wu said. “It could have a big impact and could really make engineering present at USC. Right now, I don’t think there’s a need for it. Maybe there’s not a want for it.”Internal issues might also have played a role in this year’s suspension of the Executive Board, according to Wu.“The Board had its own separate communication issues to deal with [and] VSC also had to learn how to adapt to the regulations set by the administration, which previous Board members thought was always challenging,” Wu said.Wu noted that he doesn’t think an overarching committee is necessary.Traditionally, the VSC treasurer oversees the VSC Funding Board, which is responsible for allocating funds to various Viterbi clubs. This year, the Funding Board will continue to function as a separate entity despite the lack of a VSC Executive Board.“The Funding Board is operating as it always did,” Ledesma wrote. “With the exception of a few procedural changes and an updated, streamlined application, there are no changes to the Funding Board’s operation.”In fact, some club presidents feel that a separate funding board is more efficient than the funding board that was part of VSC in previous years.“The only change that has been made is pretty positive. They streamlined the [funding application] procedure,” said Lynn Ho, president of the Society of Women Engineers. “There’s only one form to actually get the money. Before, you would apply and it was harder.”The new funding board is also functioning well without a VSC Executive Board, according to those involved.“I’m kind of the person who is communicating between the [administration] and the student organizations right now, since there’s no VSC,” said Ken Diedrich, director of the Funding Board.Ledesma said the transition to a separate funding board has been a smooth one.“Ken made sure to inform student organization leadership of the change and reassure them the funding sources would remain unchanged at our first event of the year,” Ledesma wrote.After speaking with the leaders of various Viterbi organizations, Ledesma said he believes these groups will be unaffected by the lack of a VSC Executive Board.It has yet to be determined whether or not VSC will be active next year, but it will largely be based on student interest, Ledesma added.He wrote, “If students want to get VSC back up and running, I look forward to working with them,” he wrote.
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The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) is set to launch the first part of its 2019 harmony campaign on Friday at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown in its bid to foster cohesion in society.The activities are scheduled to commence from 18:00h with a national unity song performed by prominent Guyanese artistes Mark Ferdinand and Tshanna Cort. Adding to the excitement, there will be five harmony-themed public service announcements, four posters, a harmony “passport”, and designs for two billboards and the Commission’s new website, which will also be presented as the night unfolds.Meanwhile, a stage play, “I AM US”, which speaks to “unity and which examines some societal factors that impact on social cohesion”, will also be presented to the public for the first time.The theatrical presentation will feature prominent Guyanese actors and actresses, and will be staged on March 2 after the gala opening ceremony and on March 3, at the National Cultural Centre. Both performances are slated to begin at 19:00h and admission is free of cost.According to the Commission, this campaign seeks to promote its constitutional mandate of establishing good relations and a sense of togetherness among the people of Guyana.“The Commission firmly believes this campaign, which is in keeping with its constitutional mandate to promote harmony and good relations, is vital in helping to enhance the environment to foster unity among all Guyanese. It remains optimistic that Guyanese will find useful the materials which will be made available and will be conduits to aid distribution countrywide.”All are requested to attend and the invitation is extended to all stakeholders.