For three short weeks, the Arbor transforms into a bustling bazaar. Students tirelessly attempt to lure you with their bright colors, enchant you with their written words and charm you with their spoken slogans. Sunburned faces call out hard-earned accomplishments and serious goals, desperately trying to convince a majority of the students not only that you should care about student government, but that they are best suited for the job. I am running with Students’ Party for external vice president of local affairs and am here to deconstruct the layers of campaign spectacles, convince you to care about student government and tell you to vote for Students’ Party April 18-21 on GOLD.
We live in a community unique compared to all others. In one square mile, 17,000 people live, move, study, play, work and experience Isla Vista. Separated from the rest of the real world by the Pacific Ocean, the mountains and our fine university, we live in a place rich with history where we truly have the opportunity to make a difference and impact our community. In 1973, Isla Vista residents were tired of having all decisions made by distant authorities they hardly knew.
Students and community activists desired a special community where open space was protected and where residents could have a say in the government of their community. Isla Vista therefore formed a special recreation and park district. We need to embrace our special community and work to take it to its full potential. I am gravely concerned that students and hardworking families are not celebrated, but taken advantage of through unsuitable living conditions and exorbitant rent. I am currently working on this as vice chair of Student Lobby — vote for the lock-in! — where I work on the I.V. Foot Patrol campaign. IVFP now has tasers, and we are actively informing people of their rights and what they can do in all situations. Through the Education for Sustainable Living Program — vote yes on the EAB lock-in! — students can now get four units of upper-division credit to be a part of an active research team on this issue.
Everyone has a landlord horror story, so Students’ Party is working to create a Tenants’ Bill of Rights and connect students to legal advocacy, and to have a website where tenants can rate and expose landlords. UCSB students make up about 60 percent of I.V.’s population and therefore truly have the opportunity and ability to make an impact. I have been active in Campus Democrats and have worked on many local campaigns, from Prop 54 to the Buttny campaign, with local groups. UCSB not only has the most students registered to vote in the state, but we are an influential voting bloc that imacts local and statewide elections. I am active on the Environmental Affairs Board, a Green Campus Council intern and I am passionate about environmental practices and creating a sustainable and healthy community.
Another priority is to support the community center so that I.V. families and community members can have services like a soccer field and an improved teen center. All students should come out and show their support and pressure the county to make this happen. Overall, I hold very strongly that all people in I.V. should be seen as vibrant, contributive and valuable members of society. I encourage a culture of ownership and respect in I.V.
Finally, I want to convey Students’ Party’s short but rich history. Students’ Party was created last year out of members from SAC, SUN, Gauchoholics and independent candidates striving to create a party that would include all students and have the greatest possible impact. This year, we have created our contract with UCSB and are striving to penetrate student government on all levels. We work on a statewide level to lower tuition and increase diversity on campus, and we sponsored a nationwide press conference on cheaper textbooks. On an internal level, we have worked to make readers cheaper, to make A.S. structure more efficient, to increase involvement and to provide fiscal transparency. For every goal we speak of in our plan – which is spelled out at www.studentspartyonline.com – we are either working on it or have explored its feasibility. All of our candidates have been working hard all year and are extremely qualified for the job. A vote for me is a vote for I.V. Vote Students’ Party.
Kelly Burns is a candidate for external vice president of local affairs.