Profile: UCLA General Representative #1 Zoe Borden

This week, Her Campus UCLA was lucky enough to interview our general representative #1 Zoe Borden to hear about her work for the student body of UCLA and some of the ideas she has for our school! Take a look below to see what she said: 

Her Campus: What year are you?

Zoe Borden: I am a third year at UCLA

HC: What is your major?

ZB: I’m an International Development Studies and Political Science Double major. I'm also an Entrepreneurship minor. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of social entrepreneurship, law, and ethical business expansion.

HC: Where are you from?

ZB: I’m originally from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It's a small town in Western Massachusetts on the New York State border. Smithsonian Magazine named my hometown “The Best Small Town In America” in 2012 and we basically haven't stopped talking about it since.

HC: What does a General Representative do?

ZB: General Representatives at UCLA are responsible for representing the collective interests of the student body on the Undergraduate Students Association Council. General Representatives act as a link between the student body and the administration and as a resource to aid student organizations in programming and advocacy endeavors. General Representatives are also responsible for initiating and pursuing legislation and programming in accordance to the needs of the student population.

HC: What are you working on in the General Representative #1 office?

ZB: My office has been dedicated to working on projects centered around scholarship, career planning, mental health resources, and school spirit.

 My office is working to connect UCLA students to scholarships that they are eligible to apply for. The rising cost of higher education is a financial burden affecting students across the country. The UC Regents just passed yet another tuition hike this year and governor Jerry Brown is proposing cutting middle-income scholarships. Student access to scholarships is more important now than ever. UCLA and UCLA donors offer students many scholarships and each year there are many scholarships that are underapplied for at UCLA . My office is working to increase transparency around these scholarships. We are working in conjunction with the Scholarship Resource Center on campus to highlight these scholarships and actually help students write and submit their applications. The General Representative 1 Office created the #ScholarshipSpotlight which is an online campaign that highlights three UCLA scholarships per week.

We are working with various student organizations on campus, including the LGBTQ center and the Community Programs Office to provide these groups with comprehensive lists of scholarships that are applicable to their student population.

In addition to this my office has been in contact with the directors of IT for UCLA to work on creating a comprehensive scholarship page on the UCLA student login page that all UCLA students use.

We are working with the Career Center to make this year's Career Week more applicable to current day students. In response to student feedback, the General Representative 1 Office is working to add a “Corporate Social Responsibility” component to Career Week.  Corporate Social Responsibility is a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship through their waste and pollution reduction processes, by contributing educational and social programs and by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.

My office is helping the Career Center plan a week-long series of events that centers around what's trending in the job market. From artificial intelligence and virtual reality to entrepreneurship and social media marketing, this years Career Fair will help Bruins find modern, exciting jobs.

Access to mental healthcare resources is also a central focus for the General Representative 1 Office. Our office is working with the Counseling and Psychiatric services on campus to find ways in which mental health services can be extended to the undergraduate dorm area. We are working with the Director of the Counseling and Psychiatric Services, as well as the student leadership for on-campus housing, to discuss the best ways to implement these services.

HC: What made you decide to run for General Representative #1?

ZB: Community is something that's extremely important to me. From the day I set foot on campus three years ago it was apparent that the UCLA community is uniquely complex—unlike anything I’d ever experienced living in a small town. The student body is diverse, both in background and opinions, and that diversity should be fostered. Ive seen the power of this diverse student voice first hand.

Last year I worked in the External Vice Presidents Office as the Legislative Director. In this capacity I worked with students from all areas of campus to share their stories with legislators in D.C. and Sacramento. We’d work together to lobby for bills on issues ranging from sexual assault prevention to college affordability and student loan debt relief.

I decided to run for General Representative because I wanted to serve the UCLA community I’ve come to value so highly. I strive to give students of all backgrounds a platform to amplify their voices.

HC: What made you decide to advocate for rental hammocks and when do you think they will be available?

Arguably one of the best parts of going to school in Southern California is the fact that it is sunny year-round. I want students to be able to take advantage of this and be able to enjoy relaxing on the beautiful UCLA campus.

UCLA students don't often have time to relax because of our demanding academic schedules. But when hammocks and lawn blankets are easily accessible on campus students can de-stress on campus between classes and even get some studying done outside in the sun. Having a place to destress outdoors is an important part of mental healthcare. We want all students to have fun while getting work done with Gen Rep 1.

Students should expect to be able to rent lawn blankets and hammocks with the swipe of their Bruincard in the beginning of Spring Quarter.

Photo Courtesy of Zoe Borden