Presidential and vice presidential candidates, Janrey Javier and Jaely Pereira, were able to answer some questions over email with Mass Media on the upcoming Undergraduate Student Government election. Voting takes place from April 27 to April 30.
Claire Speredelozzi: Do you have any experience in USG? If so, what?
Jaely Pereira and Janrey Javier: We do not have any experience as elected officials. However, we have been attending and engaging with General Assembly as well as committee meetings since the beginning of the semester.
CS: If you haven't had any experience, what made you interested in USG?
JP and JJ: Being extensively involved on campus over the past three years, we’ve seen the challenges that students face within the different facets of the university. We want to utilize the experience we’ve gained and numerous relationships we’ve cultivated, alongside these influential positions, to be a strong voice for the UMass community to address challenges and fight for the needs of students.
CS: What made you want to get involved in USG?
JP and JJ: The significance of a presidential and vice presidential role within USG holds the weight to be able to truly make a change on campus. Observing the current and previous administration, there has always been a lack of genuine engagement with the student-body. Being involved with USG encourages us to become even more engaged with the student body than ever before. For us, being able to bridge those gaps that previous leaders hadn’t tried to fill would allow for better communication and support to different clubs or organizations.
CS: How long have you been thinking of running for president and VP?
JP and JJ: We’ve been thinking of running as a ticket since fall semester last year.
CS: What made you decide to run?
JP and JJ: We decided to run because we began to see the lack of support and advocacy for the students in USG and wanted to make a change. Our multiple encounters with administration as well as how the current and previous USG administration interacted with students are what influenced us to decide to run. We’ve seen a trending lack of support and advocacy from administrators throughout the different offices and departments on campus. Holding these executive roles would allow us to truly hold administrators accountable to their actions and remind them that the decisions they’re making directly impact students, sooner or later. Similarly with current and previous USG administration, there is a lack of engagement with students from that organization. Students have expressed time and time again that USG is a “bubble” that no one knows about. As student leaders who have made connections with students all over campus, we’re popping that bubble and shifting USG’s presence on campus with our relationships.
CS: What makes your team the best candidates?
JP and JJ: We’ve been coworkers and student leaders together since our freshman year, working for the Office of New Student and Family Programs as orientation leaders as well as in the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement as mentors for The First-Year Leadership Institute. Over the years, we’ve grown together and learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We balance each other out while also holding each other accountable in whatever work we are doing, whether it’s in orientation, OSLCE, or our own academics.
With our hometowns on complete opposite ends of Massachusetts, we each bring in our own cultural backgrounds, experiences, and the obstacles we’ve faced ourselves with family or finances while being full time students. We understand where students are coming from and are willing to support them however we can.
CS: How comfortable are you in GA?
JP and JJ: After a semester of attending GA, we’re quite comfortable and acknowledge the order and professionalism it takes to be in these roles. We have spoken about ourselves to senators who have given us insight into their roles and the responsibilities they hold individually as well as in each of the committees they’re in. We’re grateful to the Campus Community Affairs Committee, the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Students Events and Organizations Committee for allowing us to step into their spaces, introduce ourselves, and learn how they operate. We’ve grown confident in our knowledge about the structure and organization of USG and are fully confident in stepping into these roles if elected.
CS: How do you think you can make a difference?
JP and JJ: Cultivating community has always been a strengthened passion for the both of us. We are invested in giving our energy to others because it inspires them to be the best they can be. We will bring that strength into USG as we step into these roles that encourage us to enter student spaces and continue creating genuine and meaningful relationships. The relationships that we create will unify the UMass Boston community and inspire each individual to step up and voice the challenges they face. Especially during this time of crisis, we need to come together as a community and build an integral foundation of how we want to move forward. In this time of uncertainty, we are advocating for the future vision of the UMass Boston community and are committed to spearheading this vision as President and Vice President of USG.