SGA discusses upcoming Lobby Day, Blue Wall renovations

By Katrina Borofski

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Student Government Association senators on Monday discussed the upcoming Lobby Day as well as renovations taking place at Blue Wall next semester.

President Zachary Broughton introduced the meeting with a debriefing that took place between the University of Massachusetts Police Department and Senate members where they discussed the World Series celebrations. Broughton noted the discussion included a review of the event as a whole and the after-effects with UMPD. Reinforcing the positive feedback of this event, Broughton said, “This was a very positive conversation.”

Progress has also been made on “What Defines UMass” campaign. Secretary of Public Relations and Outreach Kabir Thatte noted his interest in increasing awareness of the campaign through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Thatte plans on interviewing students across campus, adding a multimedia aspect to the campaign.

Broughton also noted a letter sent to the Events Planning Board for the Blue Wall renovations that are projected to take place next semester. Due to the planned construction, space in the Campus Center will be limited.

Events Planning was hoping to temporarily use the Student Union Ballroom as a space for students who would normally use the space in and around Blue Wall.

“This means Monday through Friday from about 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. that space will be occupied,” Broughton said. “This is a huge issue for many groups and organizations that use that space.”

This conflict prompted Broughton and other senators to send a letter to the Events Planning Board, requesting to change this intended plan. Fortunately for groups and organizations that use the Student Union Ballroom, the Events Planning Board for Blue Wall Renovation agreed to alter this plan and find another space for excess students in the Campus Center.

Members of the SGA also discussed Lobby Day, which will take place Tuesday at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Many SGA members will be participating.

Lobby Day will give students from all five UMass campuses the chance to discuss pressing topics with state legislators. The topics of discussion for Tuesday’s Lobby Day include House Bill H.1088 and Senate Bill S.588, which address student representation on the UMass Board of Trustees and the establishment of a Finish Line Scholarship for students, respectively.

“What we want to do with (House Bill H.1088) is make all five student trustees from each school have the right to vote all the time,” said Special Assistant Chris Czepiel, a freshman political science major at UMass.

Currently, the Board of Trustees for the UMass system has 19 trustees. Each of the five UMass campuses has a trustee, but only two schools have representatives with voting rights each year.

“Right now the trustees that can vote are from Boston and Dartmouth,” Czepiel said. “We’re not necessarily getting neglected, but it would be a lot harder for us to get something done this year than if we had a trustee in office.”

Czepiel and many other SGA members will spend Tuesday talking with legislators in attempt to gain their support for this change in the Board of Trustee system.

“Our biggest reason why we’re trying to pass this bill is to enable fair equity between all schools all the time,” Czepiel said.

Katrina Borofski can be reached at [email protected]