Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Work already underway for SGA speaker Sïonan Barrett

(Cade Belisle)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

With a year of experience under her belt, Sïonan Barrett is back for a second year as speaker of the student senate in the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association, and is looking forward to things to come.

Barrett, a junior journalism major, was a senator in the SGA during the first semester of her freshman year. That spring, she took on the role of associate speaker of the student senate. It wasn’t until last fall that she stepped into her role as speaker of the senate.

“This year I know the avenues to go through. I’m more of a resource for people to go through instead of the person asking the questions,” Barrett said. “Last year I would say a lot of my time was spent learning about my role and about the behind the scenes stuff of SGA, because usually sophomores aren’t put in that kind of position. That was one of the first times an underclassman had received that position in anyone’s recent memory.”

This year, Barrett said she feels much more prepared for her role and already has a number of projects planned, one of which is a student business spotlight week planned to take place in October.

“There are so many issues that are facing the student business community that no one knows about, so I really want to have people learn more about that and learn more myself too,” she said. “I want to make sure they’re successful this year.”

According to Barrett, there are seven student businesses she wished to highlight, five of which are devoted to food. Barrett said those businesses are getting pushed aside by UMass Dining. The spotlight week she’s currently planning is intended to change that trajectory.

“I don’t want to see any student business fail during the time we’re here,” she said.

Aside from that, Barrett has begun initiatives for several of SGA’s committees. The Diversity and Student Engagement Committee is coordinating a “Get Out The Vote” event and registering voters for the November election.

“We’re going to hopefully have some party buses going out to voter polls and get students involved that way,” Barrett added.

She is also working on a peer-to-peer influence program designed to reduce aggression at day-drinking events. Titled MinuteMarshals, the goal of this program is to help calm any binge drinking and disruptive behavior, according to Barrett.

“We’re hoping that with people you know and faces you might recognize, it’ll build a better sense of community and a better sense of UMass pride,” she said.

Beyond those projects, Barrett’s main goal right now is making sure the student senate runs smoothly and successfully.

“The first semester for senate is usually a huge adjustment period because a majority of the senators are first timers, a lot of them are freshmen. So not only are they getting adjusted to the school but also to SGA,” she said. “My goal for first semester is usually to help facilitate a transition for all those first years and hit the ground running for all the projects our chairs have been planning all summer.”

With SGA elections taking place this week, Barrett said she is looking forward to the incoming students who are “going to knock it out of the park this year.”

“I know a lot of people have some really great ideas and I can’t wait to see them happen,” she added.

Barrett noted that she would also like to change the SGA’s image among students, noting that the senators “have something to prove this year.”

“I hope people see SGA in a good way this year and see all the good work we do. Because we do a lot of good work, it’s just no one knows about it,” added Barrett.

Barrett said there are many ongoing projects that student senators have been working on, yet students are unaware because their work often goes by unheard. Despite this, Barrett still just wants to make a difference.

“We don’t really care to have our face on there, we just want to see the University be better as a whole,” she said. “We’re ready to take on this challenge.”

Eleanor Harte can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *