With campus elections looming on the horizon, Associated Students Community Affairs Board (CAB), the A.S. Bike Shop and The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) have begun petition drives to get their measures on the ballot.
To get their proposals on the ballot, each group needs to collect roughly 3,000 signatures by Feb. 7. Besides asking for signatures, the three groups will ask students for lock-in fees that will pay for their programs. Elections are tentatively slated for the end of April, A.S. Elections Committee Chair Justin Pabian said.
The proposed initiative from CAB seeks to create a source of funding for volunteering events in the community, said Andres Mantilla, CAB external community coordinator. A similar program called the CAB Foundation, formerly funded by A.S., was cut amidst UC budget constraints in 2003.
“The [new] CAB Foundation is like a mini-Finance Board for volunteerism,” said Mantilla, a fourth-year political science major. “The fund is open to all students and faculty who want to do community service.”
According to the language specified in the petition, passage of the measure would cost 85 cents per student per quarter. One-third of the funds however, would be redirected to the “Return-to-Aid” program, which subsidizes financial aid recipients’ UC fees.
“Part of the lock-in fee that we gain will be put back into the financial aid pot,” Mantilla said. “We would return 28 cents of the money [per student].”
CAB has attempted for the past three years to secure an increase to its current lock-in fee of $1.15. However, the organization’s proposal this year differs in that the money will not go to CAB’s general lock-in fee, but to a fund that can only be used by other campus groups.
“[This money] is not for CAB,” said Christina Leets, CAB chair and fourth-year psychology and art history major. “My biggest fear is that people think we will take the money for ourselves.”
CAB has also chosen this year to get its proposal on the ballot through making it a campus-wide initiative, as opposed to placing it as an A.S. initiative. The two types of initiatives differ in that a campus-wide measure must collect 3,000 signatures in order to be listed on the ballot, whereas A.S. initiatives can be introduced without petitioning.
The tradeoff for being listed on the A.S. ballot is that the initiative must win with a two-thirds majority, or 66 percent, whereas campus-wide initiatives only need 50 percent plus one for approval, said Robby Cousart, CAB’s Public Relations Officer and fourth-year political science major.
Last year, when CAB’s initiative was an A.S. initiative, 64 percent of participating students voted yes on its initiative, which left the group just two percent below the requirement.
“We have collected about 700 or 800 [signatures],” Mantilla said. “We need 3,000 by Tuesday, Feb. 7.”
Meanwhile, Logan Green, a fifth-year business economics major, is spearheading spearheading TGIF which aims to implement sustainable practices across the campus.
“We got inspired by what Harvard [University] is doing,” Green said. “They have a ‘Revolving Green Fund,’ in which they give out zero-percent loans to help fund projects that reduce environmental impact.” TGIF proposes to introduce a $4 lock-in fee, of which $1.33 will go to Return-to-Aid.
“The total fund would come out to around $180,000, Green said. “We wanted enough money to have a serious impact, but we also wanted the cost [to students] to be reasonable. Four dollars is less than a burrito.”
About 2,000 students have thus far signed the petition, Green said. Were the initiative to pass, Green said he would continue to pursue additional funding for the program.
“We are asking the chancellor to match the fund,” Green said. “I think he will respond positively. We are also looking to contact alumni who are interested in funding sustainability.”
Green said a panel composed of students and faculty would administer TGIF’s endowment. The group would convene periodically and select proposals that they feel will have the most positive impact on the environment.
The project would facilitate the introduction of capital-intensive programs on campus, Green said. One program in which Green said he was interested – a solar panel system – would alleviate UCSB’s hefty energy bill.
“Investing in a solar [panel] system is expensive up front, but pays for itself over time,” Green said.
A third campus-wide initiative proposes to help fund the modernization of the A.S. Bike Shop.
“The current bike shop is being housed in pre WWII-era storage containers, and the facility is as of this point not safe to operate out of,” A.S. Internal Vice President Adam Graff said. “The initiative will allow for the use of a new safe and modern facility for the bike shop.”
Graff said the measure would add about $6 to student fees.