On Monday, Nov. 1, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) held its sixth weekly meeting of the semester. Senators discussed Budgetary Committee (BC) requests, reviewed officer reports from President Angelina Han ’22 and Vice President Basma Azzamok ’22, and appointed members to a series of new committees.
The meeting began with approval of the BC’s requests, led by Treasurer Jae Yun Ham ’22. Some of the organizations that requested funding included Club Volleyball, Mock Trial, the Asian Students Association, Liyang Amherst, Health for Humanity, and the Black Student Union. This week’s budget requests totaled $18,398, and all funding requests were approved.
Following the BC requests, Han and Azzamok gave their officer reports. Han discussed the possible implementation of a diversity committee, a collective of members from different student organizations and affinity groups on campus that would meet to discuss diversity and inclusion. The main goal of the diversity committee would be to create a space for students and groups to raise concerns to the Senate regarding equity on the Amherst campus, so that the Senate could ultimately bring those concerns to administration or the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The committee is now in the process of being approved and formed.
Azzamok reviewed the creation of the AAS’s “Fund for Indigenous Peoples,” which would “allocate grants to Indigenous people’s organizations and charities, as a part of a larger effort to give back to Native American, Native Alaskan, and Native Hawaiian communities.” According to Azzamok, the AAS worked with the Native Indigenous Students Association (NISA) to identify a Native nation to receive the donation, ultimately deciding to give $5,000 to the Nipmuc Nation from the AAS general fund. The funds will be distributed during the spring semester, and in coming years, the AAS plans to continue working with NISA to donate $5,000 each year.
Following the officer reports, Senators were nominated to represent the AAS at a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding a complaint filed against the Senate about an email sent last Spring. The email expressed solidarity for Palestinians in the context of the Palestinian-Isreali conflict. Senators nominated to defend the Senate’s right to send out communications of this sort included Kya Rincon ’22, Mia Griffin ’24, and Dania Hallak ’24.
Senators were also nominated to serve on a number of new committees. One committee is the Sustainability and Climate Committee, which is charged with evaluating and promoting sustainability on campus and offering ways for the student body to be represented in climate equity and sustainability efforts of the college. Each member of this committee must serve a term of two years. In addition to the Senators, two members will be chosen from the student body at large. Senators chosen for the Sustainability and Climate Committee include Gent Malushaga ’25 and Hannah Kim ’25. Senators serving on this committee for their second year include Allie Ho ’24, Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22, and Sofia Guerra ’22.
Other committee nominations that occurred include the selection of Lorett Alarcon ’24 to replace Taha Ahmad ’24 on the Library Committee, and the election of Kim, Griffin, and Isaiah Doble ’25 to the Arts Committee. The Arts Committee’s purpose is to make the arts more visible and accessible on campus, as well as continually seek new opportunities to advance art creation and expression on campus.
The last committee election was for the Powerhouse Committee, which will put together more student events at the Powerhouse and work closely with the Office of Student Activities to make the Powerhouse a more accessible space for student use. The Senator chosen to serve on this committee is Fareeda Adejumo ’23.
Finally, Malushaga and Yvette Kiptoo ’23 discussed updates for their Senate project. Malushaga, who is working on developing the app SuperFan for campus-wide use, said that the app is in its final stages and is almost ready to be released. Kiptoo mentioned the need for more college involvement with the town of Amherst. Kiptoo volunteered to work with the Senate to create a community service day for the campus at large. This project is in development and will be discussed at future meetings.
The AAS will meet again next Monday, Nov. 8.