By Sebastian Moronta, SGA Correspondent
The student government association must communicate effectively with the student body, and the corresponding secretary’s job is to make sure it does. Junior business management major Tyler Varda currently holds the role, and over the past year he’s been working on what he thinks is the best way to keep students and senators connected: umassdsga.com.
The website is a newly built portal for students to get the latest information on the SGA, updated regularly. It houses resources to get involved with the SGA, including applications for membership, a list of senators/e-board members with contact info, and a finance guide for student organizations coming soon.
As the main UMass website undergoes constant renovations, it’s often difficult to find accurate information on the SGA online, so making sure that everyone who might go looking for SGA info actually finds it is another of Tyler’s priorities. All in all, he’s made this his pet project for the better part of a year. “This was one of my biggest things coming in as corresponding secretary…to really put the SGA out there.”
Varda joined the SGA his fall semester of sophomore year, following an uneventful first year for him. “My freshman year I wasn’t involved in anything, and I was miserable. That’s something I tell everyone I meet, get involved…It’s really satisfying to be able to walk around and see something that SGA has changed or helped, and that’s the best feeling.”
He knows he’s not alone. There are plenty of people who want to engage and make that same difference. Varda tries to identify those who are hungry for change and direct them to the SGA’s representative position, which gives students tons of access to SGA resources and contacts while having less responsibilities than full-fledged senators. Joining is simple, and more information is now available on the aforementioned website.
Since joining, he’s made the SGA’s outward arm his focus, and perhaps the biggest extension of that are the Shake the Ship events, where students and faculty can hash out issues and areas for improvement on our campus. The most recent Shake the Ship took place last week, and Varda had been planning it for months.
As a junior, he has a year left with the SGA, and Varda thinks he has more to offer eyeing the highest seats on the e-board. As the SGA enters what he calls a “rebuilding year” where the senate body recovers from the loss of so many senior members. If given the chance to lead, his “biggest thing will be empowering the younger senators to become better leaders…taking these fresh faces and showing them the ropes.” Work has already begun to that end, as the e-board has been preparing online resources for new senators to learn the procedures and processes in the SGA.
Going forward, a big goal for Varda is a rehabilitation of public and administrative perception of the SGA. “A lot of people see the SGA as just a bank, and we’re so much more than that.”
Coming up, Varda and SGA senator Silavong Phimmasone will be putting together a shake the ship-esque event just for the Charlton College of Business called “Let’s get down to business” on April 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the SGA, you can keep reading The Torch for all their regular SGA coverage, or visit the new SGA website umassdsga.com.