Spring Quarter is the most active time of the year at UCSB.

High school students who have received their admissions notices flood the campus, and the Arbor is filled with student groups tabling in a final effort to recruit new members before the end of the year.

Spring Quarter also means student government elections. Over the last several weeks, there has been a lot of resentment toward our student government, Associated Students, due to some allegations over the misuse of student fees. As you may or may not know, A.S. oversees $9 million worth of your student fees. With this in mind, what A.S. elections are really about is who you trust to manage your resources, especially in a time of financial crisis.

One of the biggest flaws in the A.S. election process has been its exclusive party system. In the past, parties have selected their candidates through private invitation and closed-door interviews. The fault in this process is that unless you have connections with someone already in A.S., then you stand little chance at being selected as a candidate for a party. And although you can run for office independent of party, it definitely dims your chances of being elected. These private methods for choosing candidates to form a party contradict Associated Students’ own mission to be “A Place for Everyone.”

In an effort to democratize the A.S. party system and elections process, a group of student leaders from in and outside of A.S. has organized two informational sessions that will explain what A.S. is, what the elected positions are about and how to get involved. These info sessions will lead to an elections primary where all participating students will vote for the candidates who will form a party that will go on to run for the campus elections.

Our vision for this process is to open up the opportunity for more students to get involved with A.S. elections, whether that means voting for a candidate to represent them in the elections or to run for an office themselves.

Our mission is to attract students who have a genuine interest in serving the campus community, addressing issues that impact students and working toward improving the student experience at UCSB.

If you would like be a part of this new movement to enhance our Associated Students, join us on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Theater & Dance 2600.  If you have questions or comments, please send them to AnewAS@gmail.com.