Freshmen making immediate impact on SGA

By Sam Hayes

Uminski/Collegian

Student Government Association (SGA) elections start this Wednesday, and freshmen look to be a major factor.

Running from Wednesday morning to Friday at midnight, elections will cover the SGA Senate, Area Governments and House Council. Voting will be held online at Campus Pulse and in the Campus Center concourse from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SGA President Akshay Kapoor is predicting a new group of young senators.

“It’s an exciting year,” he said. “We’re expecting about 50 percent new senators, a lot of new students. (The class of 2016) looks to be the most involved class to date.”

But freshman involvement is no accident. Kapoor and SGA Secretary of Outreach Reneé Barouxis mounted a campaign to get new students involved. They spoke at every new student orientation event they could this summer, and Kapoor gave a speech at convocation calling for more student involvement.

“You won’t care about UMass before you get invested in it. Once you get invested you want to be involved,” Kapoor explained. “The SGA is a good way to get involved.”

He also argued that students should vote this week and care who they vote for, because those people will represent not only the person who voted but the whole student body. Students can find out more information by talking with candidates or reading their biographies on the Campus Pulse page.

“We will be whatever you guys want, we want to hear your voice … We want to know what students care about day-to-day,” Kapoor said. “Student government is only as strong as the students involved.”

He explained that just because it is past the Sept. 13 deadline for signing up for the elections, it doesn’t mean that students can’t be involved with the SGA. Kapoor makes 200 to 300 appointments each year to a variety of committees, grant teams and even the faculty senate.

“It is so easy to get involved [with the SGA], we can find something that fits you. We want to be a gateway [to student involvement], not a monopoly on student government,” he said.

He asks that you contact him or Barouxis.

Although there is competition in the SGA senate races there is significantly less, and in many cases none with the Area Government and House Council races.

The entirety of Sylvan and Commuter Area Government positions as well as the majority of North and Northeast Area Government positions are vacant, while seven other area government positions are uncontested including Orchard Hill and Central Area governors.

The House Council has more positions and more candidates than the Area Government races, but the majority are still either uncontested or vacant. Almost all house council seats for Hamlin and Leach Residence Halls, John Quincy Adams Tower, Chadbourne and Greenough Residence Halls and North Apartments are still largely open.

The open positions can be filled through a senate appointment during the year.

Sam Hayes can be reached for comment at [email protected]