About 115 students turned out for last night’s third annual Associated Students Congress to vote on what issues student government will focus on for the year.
At the meeting, titled “Give Thanks,” students and on-campus organization representatives debated which three of eight proposed issues would be of top concern. Voters eventually decided on diversity within the UC, safety in Isla Vista and environmental sustainability.
The other suggestions included supporting I.V. rent control, changing the I.V. noise ordinance, having consistent late night programming and improving disability access.
Jennie Beeson, a third-year political science and women’s studies major, said she was happy that diversity was of great concern to audience members.
“I think [the meeting] was successful because the number one cause that was voted for was diversity,” Beeson said. “I was disappointed the I.V. noise ordinance was talked about for so long because it just helps people party more and that the issue of diversity was so far down on the list.”
During the meeting, audience members expressed concerns they had for people’s safety in Isla Vista, especially in regards to sexual assault and violence toward the queer community.
“Queer people safety is a huge issue in Isla Vista,” A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Joel Rodriguez-Flores said. “Violence limits the things people can do when they go to Isla Vista.”
As the third agreed upon item, sustainability was widely discussed among audience members, including how students can decrease their use of electricity and learn to recycle more.
A.S. Environmental Affairs Board co-chair Ryan Andersen said making small changes on campus would positively affect global sustainability.
“Sustainability is about preserving our planet for future generations,” Andersen said. “A.S. will fall behind if we don’t represent this issue. It’s about the little things we can do.”
Andersen said students should be more environmentally conscious concerning consumerism by using such products as energy efficient light bulbs. After the meeting, Andersen said EAB will begin working on these issues after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Brendan Finch, commissioner of the Associated Students Program Board, said he was pleased by this year’s turnout for the meeting.
“It was nice to see where issues stand,” Finch said. “I think we had a great turn out, more than last year’s congress meeting. A lot of different organizations were represented.”