2023-24 UC Santa Barbara Associated Students President Tessa Veksler spoke with the Nexus on new initiatives planned for the upcoming school year and work done over the summer in the President’s office.

Veksler said she sees the upcoming A.S. ONE retreat as an opportunity to create a stronger association post-COVID-19. Emmett Ruhland / Daily Nexus

Fourth-year political science and communication double major Veksler’s biggest undertaking so far is planning for the upcoming Associated Students (A.S.) Orientation Networking and Empowerment (O.N.E.) Leadership retreat. The conference-style retreat is for all A.S. members, scheduled for Sept. 26 and 27, and includes mandatory training sessions along with presentations on leadership, mental health and A.S. as a whole.

Veksler said she sees the retreat as an opportunity to create a stronger association post-COVID-19, as last year’s retreat was at a smaller scale and had been previously “fundamental” to how A.S. members would bond with one another.

“Over the past year, a big concern that people have had with A.S. is that there isn’t a lot of communication between entities themselves,” Veksler said. “​​A big drive for me while I was planning this was making it a bonding experience for everybody to get to know each other.”

Veksler also implemented legislation she introduced at the end of spring quarter, A Resolution Directing a Process for Summer Executive Officer Honoraria. The bill mandates a summer work report from each executive be given to the executive director prior to dispersal of summer honoraria to hold executives accountable.

All of the positions in Veksler’s office have been filled as of the end of July, and she said she is planning to reintroduce the president’s cabinet as a regularly-meeting A.S. body that discusses campus issues. She noted hiring a Facilities Commissioner to assess usage and budget efficiency of A.S. facilities such as the A.S. Food Bank and a Chief Technology Officer to upgrade A.S. social media and websites.

“Our social media and websites, everything is so inaccessible, and also really outdated,” Veksler said. “When [students] look up Associated Students, an accessible website should come up where they can click on anything and know exactly where they’re going and who to find and what to do … so we’re working on modernizing that.”

Along with social media, she plans to send regular newsletters to the student body by e-mail detailing resources and notable events. 

On the subject of ongoing issues, Veksler plans to tackle the elimination of Saturday exams. She said that as a Shabbat-observant student that observes the day of rest on Saturday, she has the perspective to push against it. 

“It’s something where I feel like I can use a part of my identity to better the student population as a whole,” Veksler said. “I know [Saturday exams] are not something that just affects me as a Shabbat-observant student, but all students that work really hard five days a week and shouldn’t have to sacrifice one of their two days off to be taking an exam.”

With a new cohort of students arriving in the fall, Veksler said her priority is making A.S., her office and herself readily available to the student population.

“As an executive, I want my office to be visible and open, and for students to know they can come in and grab a snack or whatever they need. I don’t want it to be a daunting relationship,” Veksler said. 


Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year, the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com.