Meet the Student Government Association Vice President

By Eleanor Harte

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Emily Hajjar has big plans for this year.

A senior political science major, she is also a student athlete and vice president of the Student Government Association. She has a lot on her plate. But that isn’t stopping her from trying to make this year her best one yet.

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Hajjar grew up in Quincy and when she came to the University of Massachusetts in 2010, she joined as a walk-on to the rowing team and has not looked back since. Now a varsity coxswain, she practices at 6:45 a.m. six days a week, and most weekends she has a race.

“We’re competing every weekend in October, and then from spring break until after finals is our championship season, and our busiest,” Hajjar said.

Along with the rowing team, Hajjar also won the election for SGA vice president in April alongside current SGA president Zac Broughton.

Hajjar’s favorite part of being vice president of the SGA is the people she meets.

“I like meeting people when they come in the office,” she said. “I like getting to know them on a more personal level and answering people’s questions.”

As vice president, Hajjar describes her role as being in charge of the internal functions of the SGA.

“The cabinet is my responsibility, as well as area governments and also agencies,” she explained.

Hajjar and Broughton went into the election in April with a list of goals that they want to accomplish during their tenure, and with student trustee Megan Kingston, that list has grown.

“We want to be more visible and approachable to the students,” Hajjar said. “We also want to help with construction issues and we’re expanding the bike share program this fall too.”

She wants more open communication with the students about construction, and to further automate the bike share program.

“We already got the funding for it, and we’re going to purchase a couple more bikes and make it easier to use,” she said.

This summer she acted as interim president while Broughton was away, and part of her role was to help design the Spot, a flexible lounge and meeting area currently being built in the Student Union.

“The furniture is going to be really cool,” Hajjar said. “It’s going to be a flexible space so the students can use it however they want to. I’m excited about it.”

She also wants to hear more from students about what changes they want to see.

“We’re going to do a campaign to get student feedback, we want to hear more from the students,” said Hajjar. “Outreach and visibility are my top issues. I also try to go to a lot of student events. I just went to the Easton Corbin concert the other night that was put on by the University Programming Council.”

Along with being a political science major with an environmental science minor, Hajjar is also enrolled in an accelerated master’s program in the political science department, where she’s studying public policy. This means she’ll graduate from the undergraduate program in spring 2014 and receive her master’s degree in public policy in spring 2015.

Last fall, she worked as an intern in Washington, DC. at the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President, and because of this experience, she she wants to work in environmental policy after graduation.

“I really loved interning there,” she said. “I’d like to go back down to DC for a couple years after I graduate, and then maybe move back up here. Some of my favorite classes at UMass have been about the environment. I took organic farming, and I really liked energy politics. I also took world politics with Vinnie Ferraro and that was one of my favorites too.”

She is really interested in sustainability issues, and she hopes to carry that into her future work.

In her free time, Hajjar likes to go to yoga and dance classes, which she also did in high school.

Eleanor Harte can be reached at [email protected]