Newly Elected Senators Outline Goals, Visions for the Future

Following a competitive election with 27 candidates, the elected senators reflect on their motivations for running, their goals for the upcoming semester, and their visions for the future of AAS.

Newly Elected Senators Outline Goals, Visions for the Future
Among the top priorities of the first-year senators are providing opportunities for campus-wide friendly competition, defeating the stigma around accessing resources for first-generation college students, and bridging the gap between the college and the town of Amherst. Photo courtesy of Amherst College.

27 candidates, a lively Speech Night, and a flurry of campaign posters. After a competitive election, the senators from the class of 2027 were sworn into office on Oct. 2, marking the start of a new term.

As the semester kicks off, the senators are working to pursue their goals, craft new initiatives, and launch their mandatory senate projects.

Sebastian Pollock ’27, for instance, is determined to combat concerns over the AAS’ lack of awareness and transparency, an issue that matters deeply to him. He hopes to improve representation and help the student body gain a better understanding of the senate’s goals and responsibilities. To accomplish this, he plans to engage in frequent conversations with students on campus, or contribute to a column in The Student.

“I know it doesn’t seem like much, but a quick conversation with somebody and just hearing them out, or listening to anything that they have to share, would actively help me represent their voice,” Pollock said.

GeorgeDaniel Dixon ’27, on the other hand, hopes to represent the voices and needs of first-generation or low-income students. Coming from a low-income background, Dixon believes in the importance of not only publicizing the resources available to Amherst students, but also helping students feel comfortable accessing them.

One of his ideas, Dixon said, is to implement “Take Your Friend Out,” a program similar to Take Your Professor Out (TYPO) or Take Your Staff Out (TYSO), which would provide students with funding to explore the Amherst community and neighboring towns with their friends, instead of being limited by financial challenges.

In addition, Angelina Flores ’27 is interested in collaborating with Dixon on a project to expand AC bucks, in hopes of providing low-income students with more inclusive opportunities. She has also drafted a variety of ideas for her senate project, such as implementing more eco-friendly policies, organizing self-defense classes for women, and organizing programs to help students navigate the gym equipment.

As the only woman elected, Flores encourages other female students to take the initiative and run for senate next term. She hopes to see a more inclusive senate that represents the perspectives and identities of a larger portion of the student community.

“I really wish that there were other people to represent that part of the student body,” Flores said. “We are supposed to be representing the entire freshman class, and when you have seven men and one woman, how good of a job are we really doing?” (There are now only six male senators following the resignation of Oscar Gosling ’27.)

In addition to expanding resources for low-income students, another goal shared among multiple senators was to bolster class spirit and offer more bonding activities for first-year students. Noah Turbes ’27, for instance, suggested hosting friendly competitions or field days between different dorms on campus, in order to foster a greater sense of community among students of diverse backgrounds.

“Some dorms don’t really feel like a community, [so I want to] try to make sure that people know the people in their dorm [and] across their floor through different dorm-hosted events, so people can come out and get to know each other across different social boundaries that a lot of times in these four weeks I’ve seen hold us back,” Turbes said.

Similarly, Jeb Allen ’27 said his primary goal is to provide Amherst students with a Mascot costume, which he believes will bring greater camaraderie to athletic, academic and artistic events on campus. A few senators are currently working on this initiative, Allen said, and he has joined their efforts by reaching out to alumni and brainstorming opportunities for fundraising.

To bridge the gap between students and the town of Amherst, Prakhar Agrawal ’27 plans to host fundraising events, such as 5K runs and bake sales, to raise money for charities and local causes. Although Amherst is a college town, Agrawal said, he notices that students do not often interact with the broader community. Through these events, Agrawal strives to help students step outside of the “Amherst College bubble” and engage with the community around them.

During their first meeting on Oct. 2, senators from the class of 2027 were elected to the Budgetary Committee (BC) and the Judiciary Council (JC). Rizwan Ayub ’27 and Dixon were elected to the BC, which is tasked with handling the finances of all student organizations at the college. Dixon said he was interested in joining the BC because he believes that clubs and student-run organizations play an integral role in building community.

“Putting funding toward clubs cultivates community,” Dixon said. “And if clubs don’t have that funding to cultivate community, how do you expect [students] to be more involved with the Amherst community?”

In addition, Flores and Turbes were elected to the JC, which handles issues related to the AAS’ constitution, ranging from amendments to formal complaints. As someone who is interested in pursuing a career in law, Turbes said, he was drawn to this opportunity.

“Someday, I would love to serve, especially in defense and different court levels across the nation,” Turbes said. “[I want to] see how a court, our Judiciary Council, would implement the constitution across these different rules, because that’s the kind of thing I’d love to go into in the future.”

Ultimately, with the start of a new term, the newly elected senators said they are eager to make an impact and represent their community. Even though the election has concluded, Ayub said, he wants to emphasize that he will continue hearing and acknowledging the voices of the student body.

“Everybody voted, [and] now they don’t even think about it until the next election comes up, [but] you should really feel free to contact any of your senators, [and] feel free to contact me,” Ayub said. “We work for you, and we want to hear your ideas.”