Junior Lucia Perez brings plenty of experience and a whole lot of passion to her role as the Resident Housing Government (RHG) president at UC Merced.
As a freshman, she was one of three students representing Kings Hall in RHG. She spent her time constructively, getting to know the other residents, addressing their needs and concerns, and sharing events and activities that could enrich their campus experiences.
By her sophomore year, Perez was RHG vice president. She is particularly proud of the part she played in the effort to include a laundry plan on the UC Merced CatCard . The CatCard is a multipurpose identification/debit card that is also used for checking books and periodicals out of the library, and paying for services like meals in the dining hall and making photocopies on campus.
"We invited Leslie Santos, the director of housing and residence life , to brainstorm with us about adding laundry expenses, and she was really receptive. Together, we made it happen," Perez said.
As she begins her third year at UC Merced, Perez is more delighted than ever to be living on campus -- and even happier to share how great the experience is with other students.
"I think it is important to keep students informed about what's going on around campus. We tell them about events, organizations to join, activities that are going on, and the opportunities that are out there to experience what UC Merced has to offer beyond the classroom."
Perez is majoring in economics and political science , with a minor in Spanish . Throw in the five or six hours she devotes to RHG each week, and that translates into the need to manage her time wisely. Living on campus gives her an advantage that allows her to thrive academically and socially.
"I really like the fact that I can go back to my room during the day and relax or study; I don't have to hang out at the library just waiting around between classes," she said.
The convenience of living on campus is a big benefit for Perez and other residents.
"It's cheaper to go off campus for banking, but other than that, everything about living on campus is easy for me. All my needs are met. I don't cook much so having the dining hall here is very convenient," said Perez, who gave a nod to the chicken piccata for being one of her favorite dishes coming out of the kitchen.
Perez is fully immersed in the resident lifestyle and would like RHG to be recognized as an effective resource for all students living on campus.
"We are here to serve the students who live here, to make their lives better." Perez said. "Housing is very supportive; we go to them first to solve problems. They usually include easy fixes like installing a second printer or putting up more signs."
However, there is a limit to what RHG can do.
"Complaints like "the laundry rooms are too small' deal with infrastructure issues. We can't really do anything about that except bring it to the attention of Housing and trust that they will take it into account when planning future resident buildings."