UCSB CABbies say they feel misunderstood following the failure of the increase in their lock-in fee to pass during the recent Associated Students elections.
The Community Affairs Board (CAB) is a division of A.S. that aims to help the campus community by providing volunteer opportunities for students. Students voted not to pay for the fee hike, which would have raised the board’s lock-in fee from $1.15 to $1.75.
“We’re able to work with the current budget, but it really limits what we can do,” said Pam Van Dyk, a community volunteer coordinator and adviser to CAB.
She said the CAB budget funds not only CAB’s projects, but other organizations as well; resident advisers and the greek system’s philanthropy chairs come to CAB to find suitable community service projects and funding for their organizations.
Ali Sprott, a third-year political science major and chair of CAB, said she believes the Daily Nexus is to blame for the failure of the lock-in fee increase. The Nexus editorial staff opposed the fee increase in its April 19 A.S. endorsements.
Sprott said the Nexus’ opposition piece, which said the paper “prefers the kind of volunteerism that doesn’t require an exchange of money,” was misleading, as CAB volunteers do not receive money for their services. She said the extra money would have been used for special projects and supplies to help increase the quality and effectiveness of the existing programs.
“All the hard work from CABbies to support the community was shut down by several uneducated sentences from people who are unaware of what CAB does,” Sprott said.
The failure of the lock-in will leave CAB’s annual budget at its current $57,000, but the organization’s operating budget will be effectively less next year because of state budget cuts affecting UCSB. Van Dyk said more of CAB’s lock-in fee money must be used to cover the salaries of two paid staff positions, since the university has less money to subsidize them.
In addition to maintaining an extensive database of charities to help student organizations find community service projects and volunteer opportunities, Van Dyk said CAB members have projects running all year that require financial resources. She said these include Thanksgiving dinners for the homeless and toy drives for underprivileged children in the Santa Barbara community, which require extra time and money. Other ongoing services, such as CAB’s family literacy programs, while not needing any extra money, would greatly benefit by purchasing new books.
While the proposed hike would have increased the lock-in fee by more than 50 percent, the actual operating budget for CAB is pretty minimal, A.S. administrative analyst Denise Renauldi said.
“[CAB is] the biggest, most active committee,” Renauldi said. “$1.15 is small – really small, I think.”
Despite the setback, CAB members said the board would continue to serve the community. Van Dyk said new, more creative ways would be implemented to try and work with the smaller budget.
“Students with a heart to serve are innately fiscally responsible,” Van Dyk said. “CAB will survive because service is contagious.”