UCSB climate check — Our UC fees have gone up 65 percent since 2002, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol is currently training for the use of Tasers and our open space in I.V. is being threatened. Student groups continue to struggle with dried-up funds, tenants continue to be ripped off by landlords, academic decisions are being made without student input, purchasing policies do not follow the environmental and social standards that they should and the lack of diversity and cultural awareness in the UCSB community persists — sounds pretty dreadful, huh? The future for UCSB students is not all “doom and gloom;” everything on this list can be changed for the better through the collective power of the students. Naturally, this sort of change cannot come to bear overnight. This year we propose a plan to truly empower students and sustain our developments. Get pumped and get hyped because Students’ Party is back with a vengeance.

This is our vision: Student government should be a catalyst for effective and lasting change. It should be a place that provides information and tools to help each individual make the greatest possible impact in their community. In the past nearly impenetrable cliques have run our student government; that era is over. Students’ Party has changed the Associated Students atmosphere so that anyone who is serious and interested can do his or her part to serve the campus community. A new kind of involvement has emerged out of the Students’ Party’s mission — helping busy, but concerned, citizens find their political voice.

Students’ Party will continue to take an active and innovative role in tackling all of the issues listed above. Because sustaining activism is the main objective of our party. In our first year of office, we worked with the A.S. Flacks Intern to create the first A.S. Congress. We took over 30 students to the capital to lobby, we put on a voter registration concert and we ran a campaign to increase funding for Associated Students, with the intention of expanding A.S. to its full potential and simultaneously providing more funding for student groups. Though the initiative didn’t pass, the campaign made students more aware of what A.S. is and all of the resources that it offers. Following this, we attempted to use other methods to raise capital for our organization through projects such as our A.S. Reader Corps drive.

Students’ Party is committed to the I.V. Foot Patrol campaign, cheaper textbooks, environmental consciousness, accessibility for people with disabilities, the shared governance of the university and full access and representation in A.S. for all students regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or political persuasion. We feel that diversity of opinion is just as important as diversity of background, and we aim to create an organization that accomplishes both. We propose a revolution of change, progress and support of all aspects of the UCSB community.

One year later, Students’ Party is still working on issues important to students and attaining victories. We are currently drafting a new Associated Students Constitution, and working through A.S. Finance Board to contribute to quality student social and cultural events. We want to see more student socials, such as barbecues before sports games and events in I.V. Free hammocks for students to borrow would be nice too. And, of course, parking on campus and in I.V. must remain free for students, including weekends and holidays such as Halloween. We have worked with the University of California Student Association to lobby the UC Regents and our governor to demand a fee freeze and we got it. We have sent students to New Orleans to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina and are planning a second trip to bring supplies.

Students’ Party is based on the principle that student government has a duty to all students; therefore, the party is open to all students. We are currently recruiting students who are interested in running for all positions — executive and legislative. It does not matter if you are currently active in student groups. We are looking for students who are truly motivated to affect positive change in the student community. No other party has its selection of candidates publicly stated to be open to all students. For more information, contact whatley.chaz@gmail.com. An open forum will take place February 21 at 7 p.m. in the Mission Room in the UCen from 7 p.m.-8p.m. Please note that you will need a two-three minute prepared statement about why you want to run for office and your vision for Associated Students. More involvement, more progress, more integrity — and more good times to UCSB. Cheers!

Chaz Whatley is a senior sociology major and A.S. president.