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

Profile: 2023-2024 SGA Speaker and Associate Speaker

Jackie Fallon and Carol DeRose, discuss their roles and goals for the year
Dylan Nguyen
Daily Collegian (2023)

Prior to the first University of Massachusetts Student Government Senate meeting of the year, Jackie Fallon and Carol DeRose discussed their new roles as speaker and associate speaker for the 2023-24 academic year.

Fallon, a senior legal studies major, was intrigued by a friend’s involvement with the SGA on social media and decided to interview for the senate her sophomore year. While being at UMass Fallon has worked on Residential Life Assignments as a customer service lead, participated in the Chamber Choir and was a research assistant at the Center for Justice Law in Societies. Currently, she is an intern at the Student Legal Services Office and volunteers with the International Programs Office.

DeRose interviewed for SGA during her freshman year;  she was involved with student government throughout high school. “It was kind of just a natural transition,” DeRose said.

On campus, she has worked as a Campus Recreation lifeguard and then an operations supervisor. She is a fellow for UMass Women Into Leadership and recently got an internship with the School of Earth and Sustainability. She is currently a junior studying political science and natural resources conservation.

As the speaker of the senate, Fallon leads weekly senate meetings and is responsible for hiring the committee chairs and overseeing committee appointments. The speaker also meets with administrators, the SGA president and vice president to forward plans and with senators on an individual basis to support their initiatives. As speaker, she has the opportunity to work with, “anything really UMass related.”

DeRose assists Fallon in these tasks, while also having the individual responsibilities of writing weekly agendas for senate meetings and taking minutes.

As the two work closely with the eight committee chairs, Fallon introduced some of the projects they are working on this year.

“Colin Humphries, who’s the chair of the Undergraduate Services Committee, is doing several different food insecurity campaigns. So, he’s working on a specific initiative called ‘Swipe Out Hunger,’” Fallon said.

Academic Oversight Committee Chair Emmanuelle Sussman is working on getting individualized Zoom rooms for students who may need privacy during telehealth appointments, interviews, etc. Additionally, Social Justice and Empowerment Committee Chair Marckenson Ulysse has been working on making reproductive health resources accessible to students.

“We kind of work as a team to back and support the chairs [in] accomplishing these goals, and then Jackie and I have obviously been busy incorporating the freshman senators who were recently elected into our body,” DeRose said, referring to the ten-hour training they held for incoming senators.

A new feature introduced within the legislative branch this year is a mentorship program started by the Outreach and Development Committee Chair Mackenzie McNeil. The program pairs an experienced member with an incoming senator to help them gain footing in a new environment and create more connections within the senate.

DeRose called on the importance of making newly elected senators feel comfortable in their body, acknowledging the fear that may come in joining a new space. “I think we’ve already made good headway on that with our Senate training this past weekend,” DeRose said.

Looking at the year ahead, Fallon hopes to cultivate an interconnected SGA, with more interaction between the legislative and executive branches. “Working with the executive branch more closely has made us just like so much stronger in our shared goals and working with administrators,” she said.

“I think last year they created an amazing culture within the senate and a really positive healthy one,” Fallon reminisced on the previous year, where she held the position of Associate Speaker. “I hope I leave behind a lasting culture of inclusivity hopefully.”

She hopes to maintain that culture, to keep attendance up and help students get their initiatives through.

DeRose referred to Title I of their Bylaws, which mentions a defined member of the SGA is any undergraduate student at UMass.

“Everybody’s a member of SGA and they should feel welcome coming and feel like their issues are accessible to us because that’s really the point of it all,” DeRose said.

“Everyone’s welcome at SGA meetings if they want to come they’re open to everybody. And if people have like ideas or concerns or thoughts or any issues, question…I really want people to know that [our email] is an open line. Fortunately, some students do take advantage of that, but it’s definitely something that could be more known.”

Ambika Joshi can be reached at [email protected].

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