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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student representation shuffles as Undergraduate Student Government elections are underway

The+logo+for+the+Undergraduate+Student+Government
The logo for the Undergraduate Student Government

Every spring semester the Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student assembly host elections for the positions available for the following fall. This year, the elections will be hosted from March 31 to April 3.

All University of Massachusetts Boston students can vote via a link that was sent out through email. The positions that are available are student trustee, president, vice president, as well as senatorial positions. These positions are all open to students who meet the criteria and the candidates this year are ready to go.
The student trustee is a fully vested member of the board in which they sit on with all rights, responsibilities and privileges accorded to all trustees whether in administrative capacities or student ones. The student trustee candidates for this year are Nolan O’Brien, Ericka Gonzalez, Tausir Khan, Prajal Kukreja, and Vishwajith Reddy Samala.
Candidates were asked to make a brief platform statement. Candidate O’Brien wrote, “As your Student Trustee I’ve helped create a new Life Forum on the Board of Trustees and have pushed for another year of tuition and fee freezes. UMB is stronger than ever, continuity on the Board of Trustees can only increase that strength. Keep it rollin’, vote for Nolan.”
When asked about goals, O’Brien stated, “I want to leave a legacy. I want students to be able to have their voices heard by the trustees and the people who make the decisions that affect the entire UMass system.”
A student president is the leader of a student body and presides over its community’s cabinet or organization within a student community. This year, the tickets for president and vice president were Benjamin Whelihan running for president with Phillip Gustafson as vice president, and  Ignacio Chaparro running for president with Jennifer Mai for vice president.
Whelihan and Gustafson are running their campaign on the premise that “since 2009 the university has been building the campus of tomorrow at the expense of the students today. Students parking and quiet areas to study have been shrinking while fees, buildings, and administration continue to expand. If elected, Whelihan & Gustafson will make these growing pains the focus of USG.”
According to Whelihan and Gustafson, students should trust them because they “have been involved with student government for many semesters and not only are they engaged in student government, but they are also involved in student communities.”
They both are aiming for “more inclusiveness from within the student body, expecting more from senators serving in the student government body by engaging and developing relationships with not only other student government members but also club leaders as well as other students.”
They continue that they “have many methods planned out to make students aware that student government does exist on this campus and that its resources are available to all students wishing to have their concerns taken seriously.”
Chaparro and Mai are basing their campaign on the premise that, “Chaparro and Mai envision a student-centered university that ensures affordability and services that students want. With our experience, we will work to lower student costs, diversify our dining services, improve internet access, address parking/transportation concerns, and further your pursuits. A vote for Chaparro and Mai, is a vote for you.”
According to Chaparro and Mai, “our involvement with Student government has been extensive and our record should speak for itself when it comes to accomplishing what we put our minds to. I [Chaparro] have served in the student government for three years in many capacities as a senator, committee chair, and speaker, and my passion for this process provides me with the ability to fulfill all of these roles to the best of my ability.”
Chaparro and Mai add that “UMass Boston is making strides and there is still much room for improvement, but if we were elected into office we would continue to advocate for students, strengthen the role student government has, and make changes that are local for our student body national because we are setting a standard and on the global level because we are reaching out to international communities and hosting a plethora of students who are coming from around the world.”
The senator positions will be voted on to be filled by an array of students. These positions are the most abundant and serve as a direct link for representation for students’ concerns.
Similar to the U.S. government, UMass Boston has allotted a certain number of students based on the student population to represent the student body. One prospective senator, Mark Torres, wrote a brief platform statement and said, “In the time I have served as senator I have learned a great deal about UMB and if re-elected I would continue to strive towards its excellence and making sure to keep the student in USG.”
It’s important for students to go and vote for their representative just like it is important to vote for the United States government elections. Voting is the vehicle in which one’s voice can actually be heard. Elections will be hosted for a couple of days and the outcome of these elections could very well affect the day to day life of thousands of students on campus.
It is encouraged that every student takes their role and responsibility seriously and support the candidates that they believe would best serve our school.