Welcome Back PELAistas!

Welcome back to a new semester! We hope that you are re-energized and ready for a semester packed with PELA activities!

Just to recap – last semester, PELAistas kept busy with: assisting in Diversity in Planning workshops for the MPL program; a workshop on Counter-Tourism; three “Beyond the Gates” community-led tours in South LA near USC, Boyle Heights, and Watts; a happy hour with alumni; a documentary viewing on food worker justice; and organizing in solidarity with USC Hospitality Workers as they re-negotiate their contract with the university. In addition, we’ve been planning for the Spring through our ongoing Board and member meetings. A huge thanks to everyone who participated and helped make our Fall 2014 a successful one!

This semester, PELA will continue to organize social justice oriented programming, but with some changes based on responses from members and our partner organizations. First, the “Beyond the Gates” series will now be volunteer days to serve community-based partners with relevant projects. Though tours have been great ways for students to get out of the classroom to hear first-hand from community-based organizations, PELAistas desired to “give back” to our community partners rather than just listening without connecting to their work. Secondly, we will assist members with professional development through two partner organization led trainings on skills relevant to social justice policy and planning work and a networking event with non-profits focused on social justice. We will also launching a resource on our website that lists non-profits around town that are doing work you might be interested in. Stay tuned for these events and more! We will also be hosting a panel discussion on Participatory Budgeting, organizing student groups to discuss issues of diversity and social justice in the curriculum with the administration, and continue organizing in solidarity with USC Hospitality Workers. Finally, we encourage first-year students, particularly those who might be interested in leadership opportunities in PELA, to get more involved. Elections for Board positions for next year will be held at the end of the semester.

As always, stay tuned to our newsletter and Facebook page for our programs, other relevant events, and job/internship opportunities. A reminder that we welcome submissions from you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you want to advertise an event or a job listing! Have a fantastic semester and hope to see you soon at our events!

On behalf of the PELA Board,

Heddy Nam and Jessica Medina, Co-Chairs

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