Vote Amazan and Sullivan for two years of progress

They will foster a welcoming campus community for all


(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

By Jon Blum, Collegian Contributor

Since its inception, the Student Government Association has been the official representative body of all University of Massachusetts undergraduate students. The SGA is responsible for apportioning $2 million to Registered Student Organizations as well as working with the administration to advocate for needed campus policies.

Governments have come and gone, and yet many pressing issues remain. Over the past three years there have been consecutive tuition increases. The Campus Climate Report revealed that a significant portion of the student body, especially minority and non-cis students, do not feel that they live in an inclusive campus. And, if not addressed, environmental issues of waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions pose great threats to us and posterity.

Luckily, this year’s SGA presidential election features a ticket that has placed these issues at the forefront of their campaign. The names on the ticket: Nat Amazan and Timmy Sullivan. You might remember them from last year when they ran for the same office as just freshmen. Now, one year later, sophomores Amazan and Sullivan are prepared to lead the SGA not just for the next year, but for the year after as well.

Why two years? The outgoing SGA executive branch, led by Anthony Vitale and Lily Wallace, is the first to serve two terms in office since 1999. It has also been one of the more productive governments in recent memory. The Hatch Eatery experienced a massive overhaul and the renovation of the Student Union is finally on its way. With the potential to serve two years, Amazan and Sullivan will have more time to carry out their ambitious polices to create a more affordable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable campus.

On affordability, two years would allow Amazan and Sullivan to appropriately address rising tuition. Every year, the Massachusetts state legislature agrees on the amount of funds to give to public universities. Since 2001, higher education appropriations have decreased by 14 percent and per student higher education appropriations have decreased by nearly a third. As the leaders of the SGA, Amazan and Sullivan will partner with administration to lobby for greater state funding, and ultimately, the elimination of tuition.

On inclusivity, the potential of holding office for two years would allow Amazan and Sullivan to foster a welcoming campus community for all. Too long have the needs of underrepresented students not been addressed. With the creation of a People of Color Caucus and greater dialogue with marginalized students on campus, Amazan and Sullivan will build relationships and address the needs of those who feel that they have no voice.

On environmental sustainability, two years would allow Amazan and Sullivan to take bold action to create an energy-efficient and climate-conscious campus. The most important action is to put UMass on the trajectory to 100 percent renewable energy. Amazan and Sullivan also plan to implement zero waste practices and heighten climate action urgency.

Also, since the renovation of the Student Union will not be completed until 2020, such a complex project requires close supervision. Thus, it is essential to have the same leadership from beginning to end of construction to hold the SGA transparent and accountable, and to prevent any mishandlings that may happen with a transition before the project is completed.

If these policies are going to be a success, then vote for Amazan and Sullivan for two years of progress.

Jon Blum is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected].