The UC Santa Barbara Associated Students Senate unanimously voted to support the university using 100% clean energy by 2035, and support forming a temporary committee on housing justice, at its Nov. 1 meeting.
The Associated Students (A.S.) Senate convenes weekly on Wednesdays in the University Center Flying A Studios Room to pass legislation and discuss campus and student issues.
The first resolution, written by Senators Alvin Wang and Sydney Yamanishi, calls on UCSB to “commit to 100% clean energy by 2035, encompassing a 100% reduction of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions without carbon offsets.”
The authors of the bill acknowledged the university’s previous and current advancements and goals in sustainability, but stated in the resolution that they “believe in UCSB’s ability to undertake more ambitious decarbonization goals.”
Various environmental organizations on campus and within A.S. endorsed the bill, including the UCSB California Public Interest Research Group chapter, Gauchos Go Green, the A.S. Environmental Affairs Board and the A.S. Environmental Justice Alliance, among others. Several faculty within the environmental studies department also endorsed the bill.
Senators Renee Faulk and Emily von Zedtwitz authored a second bill that aims to create a temporary committee called “Gauchos for Housing Justice.”
According to the bill, the primary goal of the committee is to “conduct student outreach through social media, tabling, and meeting with relevant student groups to inform the campus of UC’s irresponsible investments in housing,” referring to the UC’s investment in Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust.
The Council of UC Faculty Associations and several UC unions called for the UC’s divestment from Blackstone on Jan. 13, 2023, citing the firm’s role in worsening the housing crisis in California and instances of evicting tenants in its affordable housing units.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the UC has invested over $4 billion in Blackstone, even though many UC students are impacted by a lack of affordable housing in California.
Other duties of the committee include collaborating with political and student activist groups on campus, posting information on social media and conducting student surveys on housing education with regard to how investment in entities such as Blackstone affects student housing.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Jan. 18, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.