Incumbent president and vice president, Alex Killian and Macie Jones, were able to be interviewed by Mass Media over email to talk about their experience and viewpoints in Undergraduate Student Government. Polls for the election are open from April 27 to April 30 at 11:59 p.m..
Claire Speredelozzi: Do you have any experience in USG? If so, what?
Alex Killian and Macie Jones: We are the only ones presently in the Presidential/VP candidate pool with experience in USG.
Alex Killian: This is my second year in USG. I served as a Senator my sophomore year, from 2018-2019, where I was elected Vice Chair of the Campus & Community Affairs Committee. Prior to becoming President this semester, I also served as Student Body Vice President in Fall 2019.
Macie Jones: I joined USG in Spring of 2019 and was confirmed as a Justice. Then beginning in Fall 2019, I was Chief Justice. I was asked by Alex to be his VP when he took over for Sam and was confirmed in Spring of 2020.
CS: What made you want to get involved?
AK: I grew up in a family that put a high emphasis on service. As a commuter, I was outraged, like many other students, when Administration raised parking fees in Fall 2018. I knew at that point, [that] no matter the outcome, I wanted to have a voice in the decisions being made on our campus. Even now, much of our USG leadership lives on or near campus. Being one of the few commuters in USG leadership means I can provide a voice for my fellow commuters on campus.
MJ: I’ve always believed that if you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself. That’s one reason why I chose to get involved in USG because I saw certain issues that were going on on our campus and wanted to be part of that process that instigated change. I also joined USG because I wanted to advocate for people who either didn’t know how, or didn’t have time to advocate for themselves. I wanted to represent my fellow students, and still try to every day that I’m in this position.
CS: How long have you been thinking of running for president and VP?
AK: This question is an interesting one. I knew I’d have the most ability to make change as President, but as a senator I wasn’t sure what route I wanted to take in my career as a student representative. It wasn’t until Sam Zeno asked me to run as her Vice President that I truly considered the opportunities I would have in the Executive Branch.
MJ: I didn’t decide to run for this position in order to boost my resume. I joined the Justice Branch knowing I wanted to make a difference on this campus, but found it wasn’t as involved with the process of USG as I would have liked. I was content with staying where I was for the time being, but when Alex asked me to step up as his VP, it was clear what my answer was going to be. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities I’ve been able to have since joining the Executive Branch.
CS: What made you decide to run?
AK: Working with Sam was great, and I knew I wanted to stay in the Executive Branch, but when Sam resigned I suddenly became the President. With only a week or two to decide if I would run again for next year, I thought about the joy I’ve had in serving students and the new abilities I had to make real change. Coupled with the prospect of what USG could look like next year, I decided to officially run for President for 2020-2021.
MJ: With the new incoming chancellor, students on the UMass Boston campus are in a position where we can really make our voices heard. I want to be part of making that vision a reality for our peers and advocating for them. We might never get an opportunity like this again so we can’t waste it.
CS: What makes your team the best candidates?
AK: In the past year of serving in the Executive Branch, I’ve learned a few things. The responsibilities that you have to students as President or VP are a large commitment. While only required to do 10 hours of work a week, you end up doing a lot more. I decided to quit my other on-campus job in order to take up my role as President, as I knew it would require my full devotion. Additionally, you have to be willing to take responsibility. As with all governments, USG can’t always be sunshine. Sometimes we have to be the bearers of bad news, and in a role like the Presidency you have to accept responsibility for all USG actions, even if there’s no way to prevent it. On that note, advocating for students has to be genuine. You can’t ask what the issues are after you announce you’re running for President. You can’t only show up to USG meetings when you’re running for its highest position, or not show up at all. And you have to be able to work with those who have views that oppose yours; any other way would be ignorant and counter-productive to the mission of USG.
CS: How comfortable are you in GA?
AK: I would say I’m fairly comfortable at our General Assemblies. Having served in the Senate, I know the procedures; I own a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, and I’m comfortable speaking up to voice my thoughts. It would be wrong to say that I’m entirely comfortable, however. Every GA brings the potential for meaningful debate, and if I have an opinion that I have full confidence in, I have to be ready to debate it against those who have full confidence in their own opinions. You have to be willing to let others’ views inform your own, and adjust as you feel right, and GA provides the perfect - sometimes awkward - opportunity to do that.
MJ: I’m pretty comfortable in GA. While in my previous role as Chief Justice all I had to say was nothing to report, I still knew Robert’s Rules of Order, knew the Bylaws (because it was my job to uphold them), and understood the way we formulate debate. While technically as VP I don’t get a vote when it comes to legislation, I do voice my opinion when I feel it is necessary, while still listening to the opposing side to see where they are coming from.
CS: How do you think you can make a difference?
AK: Advocacy. It’s the greatest power delegated to USG. We’re entrusted with the voices of almost 13,000 undergraduate students, and to bring those voices—and their concerns—to the UMass Boston administration. There’s power in numbers. I think promoting action, encouraging dialogue, and being fearless against the obstacles that await us are necessary for student leaders. Macie was able to go from the Judiciary in USG—which typically has a limited role in the day-to-day work of student service—to being Vice President, and she’s proved that she has all of these qualities that a student leader should have. To speak for myself, I’ve been able to start an intercollegiate campaign to increase the student discount on MBTA passes. I use this example to showcase the extent to which Macie and I’s leadership has been taken, in order to advocate for students. We deeply care about the issues that affect all of us as students, and to that end we are beyond committed to doing whatever we can to improve the student experience at UMass Boston.
MJ: I think we can make a difference by being a unified student body and advocating for issues that we are united on. However to find those issues we need to meet with students on a regular basis, whether that be through tabling, hosting town halls, and meeting with on campus organizations. Alex and I plan on putting in the work to facilitate those conversations so every student at UMB feels like they can have an impact on our campus. Our voices as students are loudest when we stand together, and as President and VP Alex and I want to stand with you.