Important Election Issues at UCSB

UCSB Students

By Stephanie Pande

By Stephanie Pande
Unigo Campus Rep at UCSB

The buzz about the election this fall can be heard all over campus. In the Arbor and in front of the University Centers various groups are tabling to get their voices heard about national issues issues from saving the environment to abortion rights. Along the bike paths are signs stating, “Voting is sweet. Apathy isn’t.”

Professor Eric Smith of the UCSB Political Science Department noticed that, “The registration is up and turn out has increased.” Environmental issues are a big topic on campus. “Students care more about the environment than older voters,” said Smith.

The Environmental Affairs Board at UCSB is doing everything they can to save the planet. While board members are not permitted to support a specific candidate, they can support certain propositions. At this time, they are supporting Propositions 1A, 2, and Measure D, which will improve highways and bike trails and increase public transportation. They are in opposition to Propositions 7 and 10, which graduate students and co-chair Quentin Gee says, “Look good but are either a mess or are only giving money to certain people.” On campus, The Environmental Affairs Board holds weekly meetings in which they simply let people know , “Here’s what we support and why,” said Maile Smith, co-chair and senior. They also put on a lot of zero waste events including a party in the park on Earth Day. Locally, the EAB provides recycling on campus, does beach clean-ups, ecological restoration at Coal Oil Point, environmental education at Isla Vista Elementary School, and more. They are promoting Green buildings on campus and are a major commentator on the Naples Project, which proposes a large development of mansions on the Gaviota Coast, home to an array of wildlife.

Students are also very passionate about the war in Iraq, and of course, the economic crisis we are facing. Our economy’s problems have made a big impact on how involved the student body is in the election. At this point, concerning the economy and the environment, we are really trying to save our planet and our nation.

There are many ways to get involved in the election on campus. One way is to help the Associated Students recruit voters to register. Tejinder Barayah, a second year Chinese major and global studies minor, decided to do just that this year. “Seventy percent of all voters are over the age of 45, leaving only 30 percent of voters to be young adults,” said Barayah. “These young adults fail to acknowledge that voting today will help provide a better future for us in years to come.  If more students were to vote, then we would be able to get the future we strive for.  Seeing that politics in this country has taken so many wrong turns has forced me to reach out.  I have some hope that this up and coming election will help get us back on the right path.  I believe that by encouraging college students to register to vote I can help make a difference. “

Barayah says that she, along with other student volunteers, puts in about an hour each day to guide students as they register.  “By making sure every area of the application is thorough and complete, we ensure that each individual will get to vote in the 2008 election.  If the forms are incomplete in any area, we then contact the student via email or phone.  This experience has helped me realize how many people do not vote or take the time to register.  Many are unaware of the deadlines, process, or locations. By putting forth some of my time, I have learned that the tiniest effort goes a long way. You don’t have to protest or do anything extravagant to make a difference. But simply taking three hours out of your busy week can help pave the way for a better tomorrow.”

College campuses are a great way to get your voice heard and to take a part in the government. We definitely are taking advantage of that at UCSB and we are making a difference across the nation.