In universities and high schools across the United States, student governments exist to advocate and represent the needs of the student body. At UMass Boston, the Undergraduate Student Government exists to support the student body through a variety of means, including meeting administration and passing legislation supporting the student body. The role of the student government is to serve the student body and ensure their needs are met. The value and importance of a student government cannot be understated, particularly in such a large university such as UMass Boston. This article will introduce the student government and the leadership that ensures that the student government acts in accordance with its bylaws and serves the student body in the best possible means.
The Executive Branch
At the head of USG is the executive branch, headed by President Macie Jones and Vice President Hadley Zibel. As the executive leaders of USG, President Jones and VP Zibel meet with representatives from the university's administration and faculty. The Executive Branch acts as a liaison between the student body and the UMass Boston Administration. The Executive Branch also consists of Cabinet positions that are filled by students who represent specific needs of the student body. For example, there is a Commuter Officer and a Diversity Officer. The Executive Branch serves to communicate with the student body and ensure that needs are being discussed with the administration. The President and Vice President also approve or veto legislation after it is passed through the Senate.
The Legislative Branch
The core of the Undergraduate Student Government is the Legislative Branch headed by Speaker Farrin Khan and Vice Speaker Divya S. Madhavaiya. The Legislative Branch is key to the operations of the Undergraduate Student Government, and without it, legislation would never reach the desk of the President. This branch consists of the Speaker, Chairs, and Senators. Senators debate legislation and are in constant talks with the student body to ensure that legislation is in line with the requests of the student body. The Speaker and Vice Speaker manage meetings and ensure meetings are maintaining decorum. Within the Legislative Branch, there are three committees that meet regularly to discuss specific legislation. Legislation must pass through the committees before it can be discussed and voted upon in the Senate.
Within the Legislative Branch, there are three committees that lead meetings and discuss potential initiatives and legislative.
Campus and Community Affairs
CCA is the main point of contact between the student body and the Undergraduate Student Government. CCA hosts tabling that familiarizes the student body with USG and the ways we can support the student body. CCA also hosts various polls to gauge student engagement and ensure that students are being served well by USG and the UMass Boston administration.
The Campus and Community Affairs committee is responsible for interfacing between the USG and the student body at large. One of CCA's primary methods of interaction is polling through the Campus Connect initiative. CCA polls hundreds of students to find out what is important to them and uses this data to develop goals and campaigns for the entire Undergraduate Student Government. CCA is led by Chair Isabella Loboa Velasquez.
Student Events and Organizations Committee
SEOC exists to support and fund the various clubs and organizations around the UMass Boston Campus. SEOC is the main source of contact for clubs looking for funds and looking for support from USG. Without SEOC, many clubs may struggle to host events and secure funding. SEOC exists to serve and support the many clubs that call UMass Boston home.
The Student Events and Organizations Committee is responsible for overseeing and funding all Registered Student Organizations on campus. Anyone interested in starting a club should go through this committee. While any group of students can meet and operate on campus, being an RSO with the Student Senate enables clubs to request space on campus and acquire an operating budget to run events on campus. SEOC is lead by Chair Angie Muse.
Budget and Finance Committee
The B&F Committee is in charge of allocating the Student Activities Trust Fund which collected through student activities fee. B&F engages in financial initiatives to support and help the student body through the money it receives through student activities. B&F exists to support the student body by ensuring the budget is responsible and supports the student body. Put simply, the Budget and Finance Committee is responsible for allocating the Student Activities Trust Fund, which is made up of the Student Activities fee. This fund covers all student clubs, the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, the Harbor Art Gallery, the Student Arts and Events Council, as well as funding for special events and new student initiatives. B&F is led by myself, Chair Matthew Reiad.
The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch is critical to the regular activities of the USG. The Judicial Branch exists to hold USG to the standards and rules set by the USG bylaws. Without the Judicial Branch, USG would struggle to maintain the rules set forth in the bylaws. The Judicial Branch’s main job is to read and analyze the USG bylaws and ensure that rules are being followed. On occasion, the Judicial Branch will hear petitions from the student body and students may petition the Judicial Branch if they believe USG has violated a certain bylaw.
The Judicial Branch is responsible for keeping all USG activity in accordance with our governing documents and all overarching policy. The Judicial Branch also keeps all official USG records and assists other branches of the USG as necessary. Members of the Judicial Branch are called Justices. Justices are typically logical individuals with a mind for regulations. Justices are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve a two-year term. Currently, the Judicial Branch is led by Chief Justice John Patrick Moylan.
In addition to these branches, the student government has an additional position called the Student Trustee. The Student Trustee represents the student body on the UMass Board of Trustees. Student Trustees attend UMass Board of Trustee meetings and advocate for the rights of students and ensure that the Board of Trustees is acting in the best interests of the student body. Some years, the UMass Boston Trustee may have a vote on the Board of Trustees. However, two voting seats rotate between the UMass campuses, and we do not have a vote this year. Currently, Jake Bates is serving as the Student Trustee.
Altogether, USG serves the student body and ensures that students are being heard. USG is critical in ensuring that students’ needs are being met by the university. Students interested in the USG may run for elections in the spring, as the current round of elections has just finished. USG is critical to the student body and while some students may not know what we do, the services we provide to the students make sure they are heard, appreciated and represented by the UMass Boston administration.