For Fall Quarter 2014, six of the seven candidates running for Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) senate will be elected. They will play a part in our student government that will, in some way or another, directly affect you during your time at UC Davis. They will communicate with higher administration, they will assist the units that you go to everyday and they will handle money that comes out of fees you pay. It is important that the people you want to see in our student government get elected; it is important to vote.
Did you know that ASUCD has an annual $11.8 million operating budget? I didn’t know that until I reported on my first senate meeting for The Aggie a little over a year ago, and if I had never been a reporter, I feel that I may never have known that fact. That money goes toward funding their 30+ units, like the CoHo, Unitrans, The Pantry and more, and it is raised through $40 from students’ tuition every quarter. It’s something that a lot of people either do not know or don’t think about.
When I realized that this money is heavily controlled by 12 students who were essentially just like me, the intense pressure it takes to be a part of our student government became clear. These students have power, and it must be a huge weight to handle the responsibility that comes with overseeing our money and the many units ASUCD runs. Although not every student at Davis wants to run for senate, it’s possible for everyone to play a part in who gets that power.
Recently there were a lot of promotions encouraging U.S. citizens to vote in the midterm elections. Many of those advertisements went toward young people, like college students, who have the power to shape election outcomes but tend to not take the time to vote. There are a plethora of reasons that we choose not to vote in U.S. elections; apathy, not being registered or not being aware. However, it’s important to realize that voting in the ASUCD elections is different. These senators can directly affect things that you are involved in right now. They can make the changes you want to see, or at least listen to what you have to say. They handle money that you are paying every quarter. You can email them and get a response, or you can talk to them in person if you want to. You can tell them what you want to see change around this school.
In light of the possible tuition increase coming next year and the protests surrounding it, take this opportunity to make a difference in where your money goes. You can have an effect on who sits at that senate table every Thursday night, who looks at the budget and who communicates with officials in the higher education system. You can vote. Look at those senators’ platforms and think about who will truly serve your interests. With changing policies that we sometimes seem to have no control over, here’s your chance to make a difference.
MELISSA DITTRICH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.