The last time UC Santa Cruz held campus elections to approve campus-based fee measures in 2020, students were asked to approve funding for the campus sustainability office and permanent spaces for Slug Support, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Cove in the new Kresge Renewal project. 

The ideas proved to be popular and received 80 percent and 66 percent of undergraduate approval, respectively. 

Despite that, the two measures failed. The reason why? 

Low voter turnout.

Next week, UCSC will hold its annual campus-wide elections, including proposed or amended campus fees, officers and representatives in the Student Union Assembly (SUA), and potential amendments to the SUA Constitution. It is through these measures that student organizations and various facilities across UCSC operate for the benefit of the students, making voting in these elections crucial for both current and future students.

If voters don’t take the time to fill out their online ballot, this year’s measures will find themselves in the same place as last election’s — dead on arrival.

The spring 2020 elections saw UCSC’s lowest student election turnout rate since the start of the century, with only 11 percent of students filling out an online ballot. 

This is particularly damning for campus-based fee measures, which support many student-run organizations and student-oriented programming. These measures need at least a two-thirds approval on the ballot and at least 25 percent turnout from the student population. 

Student organizations are not the only services funded through campus fees, as facilities like  ATH-REC and recreational programs are funded this way as well. Student necessities like campus childcare, free and anonymous HIV testing, and transportation are results of past measures and now are an integral part of our student life. 

Additionally, this election includes several crucial opinion polls to survey the student experience and help guide campus on issues relating to Black students on campus, environmental policy, and letting students’ voices be present at the decision-making table. 

On this ballot, we have to determine whether or not we tax ourselves to reestablish funding for the Sustainability Office and to pay KZSC Radio student staff, respectively.

It’s not our job to tell you how to vote on each measure. That’s up to you. But whether or not you decide to approve or reject each measure, this campus needs you to vote to give these measures at least the chance to be subject to our approval.    

Now is not the time for us to be complacent. It’s time for UCSC students to participate in their democracy and be a crucial force in the university’s decision-making. We must make our voices heard when it comes to our student experience, and enact the change that our campus needs to see.   

As we look toward a 100 percent in-person campus for fall 2022, it is more important than ever for UCSC students to make their voices heard. 

So when the time comes, log in to the UCSC elections website, two-factor authenticate, and fill out your ballot.