2023-24 External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Vero Caveroegusquiza spoke with the Nexus about actions her office has taken over the summer, and what can be expected in the upcoming school year.
As External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA), third-year political science major Caveroegusquiza is a member of the UC Student Association (UCSA) executive board alongside EVPs from all other UC campuses, and acts as an advocate for students on a statewide level.
As the only returning member from the previous year’s EVPSA office, Caveroegusquiza made sure to hire her core staff immediately when entering the position in June, and said the expediency of the process greatly helped with running the office smoothly.
“We had our first core staff meeting in June, and basically the week after school ended we were right back [to work],” Caveroegusquiza said.
One major step forward is the ability to grant travel funding requests, something the office was unable to officially do until previous EVPSA Marvia Cunanan authored legislation permitting so. The office has received several requests over the summer and expects to fulfill more throughout the year.
These requests are made possible by the office’s sizable budget, only one-third of which was used last year, according to Caveroegusquiza.
“We got our audit report last year [and] even though we thought we spent so much money it was still only a third of what our budget had been at the time,” Caveroegusquiza said. “I’m going to be getting a lot of rollover I’m pretty sure, and I want to ensure that that is going to students.”
The budget is set, Caveroegusquiza said, after the current office was able to pay off all previous debts from the past year. She hopes to make the office’s vast amount of resources available to students through the updated EVPSA website and revitalized social media accounts.
The EVPSA office’s largest endeavor this summer was the annual UCSA Student Organizing Summit (SOS), which took place this year from Aug. 4-6 and featured discussions on the coalition’s upcoming campaign goals. The UC Santa Barbara EVPSA office helped organize and also brought one of the largest delegations to the conference, which Caveroegusquiza was unable to attend but expressed pride in the success of.
“We received a lot of very thankful messages from people who went and said they really enjoyed their experience, and I genuinely don’t think SOS would have been as successful as it [was] if I didn’t have the core staff that I do,” Caveroegusquiza said.
Prior to SOS, UCSA held two orientations for their membership of EVP offices across the UC system, during which the UCSA board of directors was solidified. Caveroegusquiza is University Affairs Committee Chair, and said four other UCSB students hold UCSA positions as well: EVPSA Internal Head of Staff Dan Siddiqui is UCSA campus climate officer, EVPSA Legislative Director Pradeep Kundu serves on the UCSA Campus Action and Governmental Relations committees, EVPSA Organizing Director Melody Torres is an organizing director with the campus action committee and UCSB student Açucar Pinto is S.E.E.D. Campaign vice chair.
As part of the board, members will act as the voice of UC students and advocate for five primary campaign goals: Racial Justice Now, which seeks to establish a permanent endowment fund for Black student retention and recruitment, Fund the UC, focused on extending Cal Grant eligibility, UC We Vote, aiming to increase UC voter turnout by 20%, Acquire, campaigning to improve student safety and wellness, and Students Enacting Environmental Defense (S.E.E.D.), advocating for sustainable transportation for all.
“I think UCSB is going to end up being pretty involved in S.E.E.D. because our vice chair for that goal is from UCSB, and public transport plays a very large part in our campus,” Caveroegusquiza said.
As far as organization within campus, Caveroegusquiza worked with External Vice President for Local Affairs Osaze Osayande to release a statement condemning the Supreme Court’s overruling of affirmative action, and said she and Osayande are planning an event together in conjunction with the MultiCultural Center for the fall.
Caveroegusquiza said she is looking forward to recruiting for the EVPSA office in the fall and hiring for all vacant positions.
“We’re hoping to [have everyone] hired by the fall,” Caveroegusquiza said. “What’s so nice about our office is being able to find students who are so passionate about the work and are looking for excuses to get it done. It’s been amazing meeting so many people and I’m excited to meet more.”