From the Red Room: April 18 AAS Meeting Updates

The Association of Amherst Students (AAS) met for the 10th time this semester on April 18. The meeting covered funding requests, a public comment, and numerous AAS updates.

On Monday, April 18, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) met for the 10th time this semester. The meeting was held in the Red Room with some senators joining over Zoom, and its topics included funding requests, a public comment, and numerous AAS updates.

The meeting got off to a slow start, as low attendance raised the question of whether the AAS would be able to achieve a quorum of 18 senators. If they couldn’t, the meeting would be postponed to the following week. One senator suggested sending out a Zoom link so that senators could join remotely.

While they waited for senators to join the Zoom, the present senators went over funding requests. Isaiah Doble ’25 requested $50 for publicity for the major fair Senate project. Gillian Quinto ’23 requested funding for 10 $50 gift cards to use as incentives to fill out the form for her internship database project. Treasurer Dania Hallak ’24 then presented the Budgetary Committee (BC) discretionary funding requests, which included requests from the Food Justice Alliance, Black Students Union, Queer Athlete Alliance, and more.

Secretary Jeffrey Ma ’24 then reassessed whether they had a quorum. With the additional senators who joined over Zoom, it was determined that they had achieved a quorum. Attendance was then formally taken, and the BC recommendations were unanimously approved.

Vice-President Jaden Richards ’25 then informed the Senate of a public comment brought forth by former Treasurer Jae Yun Ham ’22, asking the AAS to consider petitioning the administration for a Mountain Day, to help ease the strain from the eight straight weeks of classes after Spring Break. Several senators mentioned that the biggest pushback will likely come from faculty, noting that faculty members were upset at the Mammoth Days that were offered last year. It was decided that Mia Griffin ’24 and Doble would draft an email to send to the administration in support of the effort.

After last week’s minutes were approved, officer reports were given. Richards provided an update on the initiative to set up AAS office hours, as a way to promote engagement with the student body. Office hours will be held in Valentine Dining Hall every Friday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Griffin noted that the establishment of office hours presents an opportunity to start requiring senators to attend a certain number of events as part of their responsibilities. For now, attendance will be optional, although Richards encouraged all senators to show up if they can.

Senators then had the opportunity to provide on-campus check-ins. Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22 asked if the e-board was still having regular standing meetings with Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students Liz Agosto. President Sirus Wheaton ’23 said the previous e-board hadn’t looped him in on such meetings. Student Activities Coordinator Monica Soto, who regularly attends AAS meetings, recommended that they reach out to Mimi Odgers, Agosto’s assistant, to set up the meetings.

Next on the agenda was committee updates. On behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee to Evaluate the January Term, Ma asked senators to tell students to fill out the J-term evaluation survey, which was sent to students on April 14. He noted that J-term will likely not occur this coming year, but the college is considering making it a permanent feature of the academic calendar over the course of the next few years. The results from the survey, Ma said, will shape the committee’s recommendations to the Committee of Six about the matter.

Senators then moved on to Senate project updates, during which Griffin reminded everyone of the AAS prom taking place this Saturday, April 23, and urged everyone to come.

Following this, the Senate had originally planned to revisit their recently passed bylaw establishing salaries for AAS officials, but Richards decided to push the discussion to next week due to low attendance at the meeting. He then called for the meeting to be adjourned.

The next AAS meeting will be held on Monday, April 25.