The State of the U(MB)

Ben Whelan

Juana Matias, UMass Boston senior and Undergraduate Student Senate president, just finished her first semester in office and is back for more with some big plans and new ideas for her final term. The Mass Media decided to sit down and have a chat with Madame President to check on how things are going and to see what she has in store for the coming semester.

MM: What was your proudest accomplishment, achievement or goal that you met in your first semester in office?

JM: Well, I feel that there are many proud accomplishments and achievements the Undergraduate Student Senate has attained this far. In my view, the proudest achievement would be the successful completion of funding clubs/centers for the academic year, under a critical time constraint. We were under extreme pressure and had a limited amount of resources and knowledge with the new budget process but were able to deliver the goods. I feel that the Undergraduate Student Senate was capable of showing dedication, hard work, and passion throughout the funding process in the name of providing clubs and centers with resources they needed to properly function for the academic year. The Senate was able to diligently work ’til late hours of the night, not giving up in completing this process, one that was strenuous and long. I feel that this is our biggest achievement because in a time where Senators, who are foremost students, parents, and who juggle work alongside all of their responsibilities, were able to dedicate time away from their already strenuous schedules to tackle the new funding system and provide effective results.

MM: Looking back, what do you think you could have done better or would change if you could go back and do it all again?

JM: I would have to say that I would not take back any of the decisions or actions I took last semester. I feel that there were many things I said and did that were the results of learning a new system, and process. I did not come in into the Undergraduate Student Senate with all the answers and solutions to all the problems, but I came in with the passion, effort and desire to serve students and to try to work hard towards listening and serving student interests.

I feel that all the decisions that I made have been in the interest of the undergraduate student body. I would not go back and do things all over again, I believe that everything that I have gone through, which has been a substantial amount, has been such a great learning experience, and would not change it for the world. What I can say is that this experience has provided me with the proper tools to properly function in different situations and environments in the future where I will be able to take my experience from here and implement wiser and more appropriate decisions.

MM: If there were one thing that you could get done before you leave office, what would it be?

JM: The three goals that our executive committees have concluded upon would be the three things that I would like to accomplish before leaving office. I would like to leave [with] these three goals accomplished because I feel that they will not only affect the Senate currently, but will affect future Senates in serving student interests.

The three goals that we would like the Senate to address are, firstly, the completion of the bylaws. We would like to leave a concrete, bylaws packet for the upcoming Senates to come. We believe that this is a critical need, in regards to the functionality of the Senate. This process is one that needs to be completed before the end of the year. Second, we would like to see the resolution of the printing issue. We believe that this has been a hot topic amongst our students and feel that we would like to come up with a solution. The Budget and Finance committee has been working assiduously with the UMass Administration, as well as the Information Technology Department, to develop a reasonable standard for student printing on campus so students may be provided with an adequate amount of resources to academically succeed. Third, we would like to have more student outreach on behalf of the Undergraduate Student Senate. We believe that outreach throughout the undergraduate student body is both necessary for the representation of the undergrad student body and necessary for the effectiveness of the Undergraduate Student Senate. We would like to figure out ways and processes to get the undergrad body familiarized with the Undergraduate Student Senate and our purposes here.