Associated Students kicked off the Spring Election season with open candidate forums for A.S. Presidential and Internal Vice Presidential candidates at noon yesterday in the HUB.

In the first day of this week’s forums, the three presidential candidates and three prospective IVPs discussed their platforms and answered questions posed by A.S. Associate Director Aaron Jones. Candidate forums will continue today and Thursday, with additional panels from April 12 to 14.

Voting will be held through GOLD from April 18 to 21.

Presidential candidates Marcus Rochelle, Stanley Tzankov and Harrison Weber will engage in a final debate on April 13 while IVP candidates Joel Mandujano, Chloe Stryker and Dina Varshavsky will only participate in one forum.

Better Our School System (B.O.S.S.) party presidential candidate Marcus Rochelle, a third-year political science major currently serving on the A.S. Finance Board, said he would advocate for students’ rights in the face of the budget crisis.

“During this political climate, the legislation in the state of California [is] pushing us down and kicking us,” Rochelle said. “I’ll be the one to step in and get us back on our feet. All it takes is one person to step up and make a difference on this campus. As A.S. President, I will be that one person.”

Democratic People’s Party candidate Stanley Tzankov, a third-year political science major and current Off-Campus Representative, said the office of the president is an invaluable resource in fighting for student issues.

“The unifying problem that we see today is budget cuts,” Tzankov said. “We need to work across the UC system. We need to assist faculty members in deciding where our money goes.”

Open Peoples’ Party presidential candidate Harrison Weber, a third-year history of public policy major and current Student Advocate General, said he hopes to address the university’s growing trend of student apathy.

“I think that the biggest underlying problem is a loss of hope — a loss of the feeling that students can make a difference,” Weber said. “You need to give students incentives … The president must be open to every student and take an active role in their education.”

Following the presidential forum, the three candidates for internal vice president discussed various campus issues they would seek to help alleviate if elected.

Joel Mandujano, a third-year black studies and feminist studies major running with DPP, said he hopes to increase A.S. Legislative Council’s productivity if elected for IVP.

“I hope to instill a sense of accountability, a sense of responsibility on Legislative Council,” Mandujano said.

Mandujano said he is devoted to reaching out to UCSB’s many diverse student communities and described himself as a holistic candidate for IVP.

“I truly believe in diversity and I truly believe in outreaching to students who are not normally outreached to,” Mandujano said.

OPP’s IVP candidate Chloe Stryker, a third-year political science major, said she is most qualified for the position because of her experience as representative-at-large.

“This school needs someone who knows the interworking of A.S., who has seen what has worked in the past and what has not,” Stryker said. “I am the only candidate who has immersed myself in the IVP office.”

Current Off-Campus Representative Dina Varshavsky, a third-year communications major and the B.O.S.S. party IVP candidate, said she seeks to create a cohesive atmosphere within the association.

“A.S. to me is a place where passions can be expressed,” Varshavsky said. “I want to take a more personal approach to [the office of] IVP.”