AS Beat Reporter
Associated Students, or AS, is the student government of the University of California, Santa Barbara, which aims to improve student life and voice student input on issues on campus and the UC system via various entities. AS comprises of a plethora of boards, commissions, committees, and units, which form the student government system and serve the UCSB and Isla Vista community. There are resources for everything from bike safety to LGBTQ+ rights, and it’s important that students become better acquainted with at least some of the services their student fees go toward. Here is the information you need in order to utilize the services that AS provides.
Twenty-five undergraduate elected students from on-campus, university-owned, and off-campus housing, as well as the three colleges at UCSB, make up UCSB’s governing assembly. Senate’s Finance & Business Committee manages a $10.9 million budget, drawn from student fees and put toward enriching campus life. The fees are distributed to AS entities that request funding for different projects on campus.
In recent years, Senate has debated legislation that includes divesting from funding gun corporations, the University of California Student Association (UCSA) budget, and UC worker demands. Other decisions have made a significant impact on lobbying local senators, congressmen, and the UC system.
In addition to their regular meetings, senators also belong to standing committees that further elaborate on bills passed in each senate meeting. The three senate standing committees are Finance & Business, External Affairs, and Campus Affairs. Each deal with issues, student concerns, and legislation brought up at regular meetings, along with other challenges raised by the community and UC system.
Senate meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM in the Flying A Room, located in the UCen. Meetings are open to the public and include a public forum where speakers may bring issues forth to the assembly.
The AS Food Bank makes a valiant effort to combat food insecurity on our campus. UCSB undergraduate and graduate students are able to pick up groceries and toiletries on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 AM to 6 PM at the Food Bank, located on campus on the third floor of the UCen. Fresh produce is available on Mondays and Wednesdays. In order to ensure that students are comfortable taking what they need, the Food Bank ensures that users’ information is kept confidential. AS also distributes free meal tickets for the dining commons via the Food Bank.
Last year, the Food Bank supplied 2,500 students with food. “We, the AS Food Bank, will never be able to serve ‘enough’ students when there are ongoing institutional challenges that contribute to student hunger,” wrote AS Food Bank Coordinator Tuyen Nguyen in an email. “In understanding this, we are working in conjunction with the campus to create a campus food security plan to ensure that every student is able to concentrate on their studies without having to worry about where his/her next meal will come from.”
For the Hunger Action Month in September, the AS Food Bank will be advertising CalFresh, a program to help California residents purchase groceries, and hosting a donation drive. Interested parties can purchase an “I’m Sorry for What I Said When I’m Hungry” shirt at the IV Food Co-Op, and wear the shirt on Sep. 30 from 11:30 AM to 2 PM at the AS Annex Lawn to raise awareness. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank.
Isla Vista Tenants Union (IVTU)
At the Isla Vista Tenants Union, students form a grassroots coalition that works to educate and aid people facing problems with their living situations, such as issues with rental companies that overstep or ignore tenant rights.
Ultimately, IVTU aims to advocate for the tens of thousands of residents living in the parameters of UCSB’s beachside community, regardless of whether they attend the school. Formed in 1998, the union has helped many families living in Isla Vista fight for compensation after being unlawfully evicted from their homes. Its goals are to educate tenants in the community on what they are entitled to from the companies they rent from, and how to fight for their rights as residents.
IVTU works out of the Pardall Center, located at 6550 Pardall Rd, Suite B, and is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 AM to 5 PM. Any resident of Isla Vista is welcome to enter and seek advice, regardless of whether or not they are a UCSB student. Answers to some commonly asked questions can be found at ivtenantsunion.com.
Legal Resource Center (LRC)
If you are in need of an attorney to consult with on issues that are not between UCSB students, or a student and the university, the Legal Resource Center can help. The LRC can provide resources for students who want to learn about their legal options. While those working at the LRC cannot represent you in the courtroom, they can help you through the legal process with any questions or concerns that arise along the way.
Approximately 1,200 students seek help from the LRC every year in search of a way to deal with legal troubles they encounter, including, but not limited to, minor in possession citations, parking tickets, and restraining orders. You can find them on the second floor of Pardall Center.
According to Robin Unander, an advising attorney with the LRC, the center is an underutilized resource on the UCSB campus. “We know there are more than 1,200 students out there who would benefit from our service, and we have [the] ability to accommodate more students,” said Unander.
AS Program Board is in charge of putting on concerts, events, and festivals on campus throughout the year. The most widely-attended events each year are funded and planned by the group, including Extravaganza and the new Halloween concert. Students should be on the lookout for the various artists they bring in to perform, which have included big names like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Young The Giant in years past.
Last year, Program Board curated a variety of musicians to better accommodate different musical tastes, bringing recognizable artists like Mac DeMarco and Purity Ring to the The Hub and Thunderdome. Additionally, they have sponsored many other projects, like the widely-attended free bagels events during finals week, and advanced screenings of movies.
To follow updates on what Program Board is putting on, students can follow the “AS Program Board Presents…” page on Facebook, which includes updates about different forms of entertainment for the UCSB community.
Located at 6550 Pardall Road, Pardall Center is home to two AS spaces on the second floor, IVTU and the LRC. The first floor of the building is designed to be used as a public study and meeting space, and also serves as the place for self-help on legal resources. Many groups and students frequent the space in search of a place to gather and find some quiet in Isla Vista.
Pardall Center offers free printing and a fix-it-yourself bike repair station, and their website also hosts the Isla Vista Resource Guide. During finals week, Pardall Center is open 24 hours, and hosts study jams with free coffee and healthy snacks.
AS Bike Shop
If you are ever caught with a flat tire on campus, or your chain is popped off and you can’t fix it yourself, chances are that the AS Bike Shop can help you. Open on Mondays through Thursdays from 9 AM to 4 PM, and Fridays from 10 AM to 3 PM, visitors can come by for generally any bike service necessary at the shop, located next to HSSB and behind CAPS.
The AS Bike Shop provides bike rentals, sells bike packages, and teaches people how to repair their own bikes. With a UCSB ID card, any student, staff, or alumni can come in and get service. According to their website, the shop stocks thousands of repair parts for a low cost. Additionally, if you are ever in need of compressed air or chain lube, they provide it for free.
Community Financial Fund (CFF)
The little-known Community Financial Fund helps students learn about their finances, be it credit building or general financial literacy. Throughout the year, they provide financial literacy workshops at different places on campus in order to prepare students for the realities of the working world. This often includes going over the financial aid process.
CFF allows students to take a certain amount of money as an emergency grant, if needed. The entire undergraduate student body is eligible to receive the CFF grant, as long as they complete the application process. The maximum that students can receive is $600, once per fiscal year (July 1-June 30).