ASUCR is working on creating Student Democracy Day, a day aimed to institutionalize Midterm Election Day as an official school holiday of civic service, ensuring UCR students a day off on the day of the Midterm Election, allowing students at UC Riverside the opportunity to exercise their right to vote by utilizing on-campus class and work time.

Speaking to the Highlander, ASUCR President Semi Cole claimed that ASUCR believes that with the upcoming 2018 midterm election, “it is crucial for students’ voices to be heard especially with ballot initiatives that directly impact the Riverside community.”

ASUCR is applying direct pressure to campus administrators by working with impassioned students, community leaders and faculty. Cole wrote, “As conversations continue taking place with the chancellor and other members of the administration, we hope to persistently raise support and awareness of our initiative via our student petition and faculty endorsements.” The resolution recently passed in the ASUCR Senate on Oct. 17. Cole hopes to champion student support into securing more support from faculty across different departments. These efforts also coexist with voter education and registration led by the External Staff of ASUCR.

“I believe the goal that ASUCR is striving to achieve is to push the level of civic engagement on our campus and UC system by extension. With a strong part of the UC’s mission tied to public education as a means of public service, we believe this is a vital initiative towards ensuring the mobilization of a politically-engaged student body,” stated Cole. Even if ASUCR does not succeed in ensuring this upcoming midterm election day as a day off for UC students, they hope to continue this movement through advocacy and grassroots activism to make UCR’s campus and the UC system realize that a change is necessary. ASUCR believes that students not only on UCR’s campus but in the state of California are “hungry and ready for change.”

Cole stated, “With current institutional barriers at play, we recognize the difficulty for students with multiple classes and more than one job in actually making it to the polls. With students not having the time or energy to participate in the political process, we hope to empower our constituency with the promise of making an impact with freedom from class and on-campus work obligations to do so.”