A high percentage of UCSB students would take a free burrito from Freebird World Burrito; only 2 percent have ever attended an Associated Students Legislative Council meeting. When faced with the choice of a free burrito and Associated Students, the burritos outnumbered the students.
A few students, Associated Students candidates and burritos gathered in the MultiCultural Center Monday night for an A.S. “meet and greet,” and so A.S. Flacks Intern Sara Aminzadeh could present the results of a survey looking at students’ understanding of A.S. and the services students find important.
A.S. created the internship – named after sociology Professor Richard Flacks – with the primary purpose of trying to bridge the gap between A.S. and the student body. Aminzadeh, a junior political science and environmental studies major, took the position at the end of last school year and has spent much of the school year revising and conducting the survey. She is now working with the Statistics Dept. to study the results, which are based on 250 students randomly surveyed from door to door.
With 24 Legislative Council representatives, it is hard for each one to know the needs of such a large student body as is at UCSB and Aminzadeh said there is no way to tell if their ideas are representative of the student population. Aminzadeh is paid $500 per quarter to evaluate the effectiveness of A.S. and through this evaluation come up with ways that A.S. can better serve and represent the student body.
“There’s so much good of A.S. that we can project,” Aminzadeh said. “I think that’s what the Flacks Internship is really all about.”
The primary question that the survey asked students, and the one Aminzadeh found to be most crucial, was whether or not they know exactly what it is that A.S. does: 50 percent of students did not.
“I think that’s really important,” she said. “I think that people should know what A.S. does.”
Aminzadeh will be attempting to make A.S. services and benefits common knowledge through a heavier emphasis on public relations.
As far as the issue of implementing a $10 base fee for A.S., 60 percent of students said they would support it. Aminzadeh said the result is surprising since student voters recently rejected a similar proposition on the most recent A.S. ballot. She said she thinks this discrepancy might be a direct result of people not knowing about A.S. elections. Again, she feels that more advertising on the part of A.S. needs to be done in order to remedy this problem.
Although the survey found that up to half of the UCSB student population takes advantage of one or more A.S. services such as A.S. Notetaking and Publications, Bike Shop and A.S. Ticket Office; 20 percent use none of the services. Aminzadeh found that the Tuesday Night Movies were the most popular A.S.-sponsored events, bringing in over 37 percent of the students surveyed, while a high proportion of students thought more money should be spent on concerts.
Many students reported parking, safety and housing as issues they feel A.S. needs to address.
A.S. members have high hopes for applying the results of this survey to improving the A.S. organization, in addition to A.S.-student relations.
“It’s hard to really get a feel for what the students want, that’s why the survey is important,” Legislative Council member Manual Silva said. “[From] the survey, I’m hoping we’ll find out what we can do and hopefully we’ll actually take the results and do something.”
Besides presenting the results of her survey, Aminzadeh also organized the “meet and greet.”
“It was a good chance for people who don’t necessarily interact to come together in a social atmosphere,” external vice-president of local affairs candidate Scott McDowell said.