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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Meet the Student Senate

UMass Boston students who do not involve themselves in matters of the student senate may suffer financial losses because of it.

The student senate is the governing body of the Student Government Association (SGA) and therefore has total control over the Student Activities Trust Fund. Only a small amount of UMB students are aware of the senate’s activities. Fewer still are aware of the existence of the Student Activities Trust Fund and the 100 or so dollars taken from a student’s bill and earmarked for this Fund every year. The Fund does not roll over and any money left in the fund at the end of the semester is absorbed into the University’s coffers and never again seen by any student or student organization.

The senate has full discretionary power to distribute as much money as necessary for any activity shown to benefit the UMB community, including purely academic pursuits which could include the cost of trips and paying for arrangements for clubs and organizations to meet comfortably.

Any UMB student who presents a thoughtful and reasonable request for funds has a high likelihood of receiving funds. Fabio Dovalle, Chairman of the campus and community affairs committee, said he plans to tell every UMB student he can how valuable a resource the student senate can be.

“[The Student Senate] needs to encourage students to come to us with their concerns,” Dovalle said.

As Chairman of the committee responsible for communicating across UMB divisions, Dovalle has a great responsibility to fulfill. Dovalle must bring about a future where students’ argue over the allocation of every last dollar held within the trust fund while at the same time ensuring students are aware that senate meetings offer an outlet for voicing concerns even greater than money.

“The senate is interested in hearing complaints about parking and parking safety, ice and snow removal, recommendations about the choice of food vendors and their locations on campus, and even concerns about additional centralized spaces with chairs, tables, and outlets similar to the campus center,” Dovalle said.

Along with informing the student body of the senate’s existence and abilities, Dovalle said the senate is devoting a large portion of its early semester efforts into training new senators. The goal is to endow the new senators with the abilities to address and redress student concerns and work towards fully spreading the money from the Student Activities Trust Fund around the community.

The student senate allots a maximum of 30 seats for 30 senators and focuses in three different areas represented by the constituent committees of the senate body. At the time of the printing of this article, there are 23 seated senators, and runoff elections will be held on September 24 to fill the remaining seven seats. Nomination forms can be picked up on the 3rd floor at the Student Activities Office.

While Dovalle promises to do his part, the responsibility to enrich, improve, and better the UMB community and campus rests with those that fill its halls and classrooms: the students.