Associated Students gathered in the UCen to discuss topics such as reduced financial aid and an iClicker borrowing program
The Associated Students Senate met Wednesday night in the Flying A room at the UCen to discuss insurance-based financial aid decreases, P.O box changes for Santa Catalina residents, a new iClicker rental program and updated recycling bins around campus.
A.S. Internal Vice President Angela Lau discussed the Student Health Board’s plan to reduce financial aid for students who waive Gaucho Health Insurance.
“What they want to do is reduce financial aid packages for students who waive Gaucho Health Insurance. Currently around 50 percent of students waive Gaucho health insurance,” said Lau. “However they don’t account for the fact that currently, to be a student at UCSB you are required to have health insurance.”
According to Lau, the Student Health Board’s new plan will financially hurt students, many of whom struggle to pay for tuition and school expenses already.
“It doesn’t really make sense to reduce financial aid for not having Gaucho Health Insurance when you’re making every student have it,” Lau said, “Essentially that means that they’re penalizing students for not using the Gaucho Health Insurance brand by reducing their financial aid package.”
Later in the meeting Senator Zach Goulhiane of the UCen Governance Board reported that changes are being made to the campus mail system so that first-year students living in the Santa Catalina dorms will have to collect their mail at the UCen post office.
“They’re planning on spending $93,000 to re-do pretty much all the P.O. boxes for the freshmen so all the FT mailboxes, all the University-owned mailboxes will be moved here [the UCen],” Goulhiane said.
According to Goulhaine, the move is directed to increase foot traffic around UCen businesses and to simplify mail distribution.
“They’re trying to get more traffic into the UCen so that more people will go around the bookstore and whatnot buying stuff here,” Goulhiane said, “And that way they centralize all the mail because now apparently it takes them a while to send it out.”
Also during meeting, A.S. Recycling Program member Sam Breyfogle outlined the organization’s proposal to update recycling bin signs to reflect a new comingled recycling program that aims to provide specific instructions for waste management. The proposal is seeking funds from The Green Initiative Fund, a student-supported fund that funds eco-friendly projects on campus.
“They [bins] were installed about 20 years ago. They currently say ‘newspapers, aluminum, plastic,’ and ‘glass’ as well as ‘trash,’” Breyfogle said. “We’d like to get signs that say ‘comingled recycling’ and underneath that a sign that lists out what can be recycled.”
Breyfogle also said the organization wants to upgrade the BigBelly trashcans on campus.
“We’d like to buy new bins for the interiors of the berthas,” Breyfogle said, “Many of the bins have holes bit through by rodents causing them to leak and make a complete mess of the interior.”
After further discussion surrounding Gaucho Health Insurance, the Senate heard from A.S. Controller Amir Khazaieli about updates surrounding the iClicker rental program.
Khazaieli explained that the goal is to make iClickers free for students to rent, but there will be a suggested $5 donation upon returning the iClicker to keep the program sustainable.
“Based off our research, students are highly inclined if not really ecstatic to provide up to $5 to the association for providing such a service if it meant that that money was going to go to expanding such a service,” Khazaieli said.
Khazaieli addressed the specific concern of the $7 re-registration fee for students on used iClickers and suggested that donations generated from the $5 program could reduce the fee. Khazaieli also suggested potentially “striking a deal” with iClicker to get reduced rates.
A.S. will be holding a finance meeting on Monday to “secure funding for the program,” according to Khazaieli.
“If revenues are generated from the iClicker program … that money can go towards subsidizing this,” Khazaieli said.
The meeting concluded with senators passing two resolutions in support of a tuition hike op-ed and a BigBelly label and bin upgrade.
A version of this story appeared on page 6 of the February 5, 2015 print edition of the Daily Nexus.