On Monday, March 21, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) held their sixth meeting of the spring semester. The meeting was held in the Red Room, with a handful of senators joining over Zoom. The meeting’s agenda included funding requests, a committee election, officer reports, and committee and Senate project updates.
After attendance was taken and the previous meeting’s minutes were approved, the Senate reviewed the Budgetary Committee’s (BC) discretionary funding recommendations and a Senate project funding request. Treasurer Jae Yun Ham ’22 presented the BC’s recommendations, with the most sizable requests coming from Humphries House, The Amherst Student, and Intersections Dance Company. Before a vote to approve the expenditures was introduced, Hannah Kim ’25 requested $3,231.40 from the Senate Fund for her Senate project, which aims to establish a fair for academic majors. Both the BC recommendations — which totaled $30,398.86 — and Kim’s Senate Fund request were unanimously approved by the Senate.
Next, Vice-President Basma Azzamok ’22 opened the floor to nominations for an unfilled position on the BC. As the lone nominee, Min Ji Kim ’24 won the position without need for a Senate vote.
Officers then provided their weekly reports. Azzamok announced a March 25 social gathering for student government members from each of the Five Colleges. Open to approximately 10 members from each college, the event will be hosted by UMass’s Student Government Association. Azzamok also relayed that, due to scheduling conflicts, the officers were unable to meet with Dean of Students Liz Agosto before Spring Break, but will meet with her on Thursday this week, and biweekly moving forward.
The meeting shifted afterward to committee updates. On behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee to Evaluate the January Term, Jeffrey Ma ’24 announced the creation of a survey to assess student experiences during J-term, and also asked for Senate input on the topic. Some senators expressed appreciation for the existing full-credit J-term classes, while others advocated for less involved programming or reducing the duration of J-term and adding more in-semester breaks.
When Azzamok solicited on-campus check-ins from senators, Gent Malushaga ’25 mentioned seeing a poster in Valentine Dining Hall that said, “All ACPD [Amherst College Police Department] Cars Are Now Unmarked. Do You Feel Safe Yet?” He asked whether anyone knew if the claim was true. While senators were not able to definitively confirm the claim, several expressed concern, and Azzamok agreed to discuss it with Agosto during the officers’ biweekly meeting.
Several senators offered updates on their Senate projects. Jackson Lee ’24 — who, along with Taha Zafar Ahmad ’24, Cal Gelernt ’24, and Ma, is working to host a blood drive — told the Senate that the drive may take place on or off campus, and they may incentivize students to attend by offering food, which would require Senate funding.
Gillian Quinto ’23 and Chloe Metz ’23 announced that they have been working with the Loeb Center to think about how it could better serve student needs. Their ideas include introducing career path-specific cohorts, working with the Orientation and First-Year Life Committee to add more career-planning resources to first-year orientation, and creating a database of information on student internship experiences.
Lastly, Isaiah Doble ’25 — in tandem with Hannah Kim and Min Ji Kim — asked for permission to use the AAS email to publicize their major fair project, and whether they could get Senate approval to send the email outside of the Red Room. Senate officers agreed that it would likely be possible to approve the email over GroupMe. The senators working on the project also encouraged other senators to tell their friends about the major fair to promote student involvement and representation of niche majors.
The next AAS meeting will take place on Monday, March 29.