This week in SGA: Civic engagement with Josue Rivera

By Sebastian Moronta, SGA Correspondent

Last week the SGA didn’t meet on account of the holiday, but behind the scenes they were still hard at work, preparing for the end of the semester and the transfer of power to the incoming senate body. After the SGA elections, there are still some positions open to represent each class or the schools of study. There is one such opening for the college on engineering, who as of now only have one representative for next year, sophomore computer science major Josue Rivera, current senator for the class of 2020. 

This past year is Josue’s first year with the SGA in an official capacity. He’s served on the public relations and campus services committee, and this year he was the head of the Civic engagement committee, which focuses on getting students more involved in the community, both on campus and in the South Coast area. They organize events and connect students with projects in the area that serve a community good. 

A recent work of the committee organized a trip to Battleship Cove, a nonprofit maritime museum and war memorial in Fall River, where students and senators worked on polishing ships and learned about the exhibits. 

Being that Josue is the only incoming senator for the College of Engineering, it’s safe to say that SENG is underrepresented in the Student Government Association, although Josue says it has been worse. “Brian and Rachelle, the current president and vice president, were the only students from the College of Engineering in the SGA before I joined, and since then I’ve been trying to get more people involved and informed on what we do.” 

As a senator and student in SENG, Josue is focused on issues local to science and engineering majors. Next year, he wants to direct his attention to the physics department, which students have complained is in need of new equipment. He’d also like to see what he can do about the hardware in some of the computer labs, which is aging quickly. Surely the same can be said about any department, but as a computer science major, Josue recognizes the value of up-to-date hardware in the hands of a SENG student.  

More broadly, the computer science department doesn’t have as many professors as many of the other departments on campus, which leads to limited course offerings for students. Josue hopes that driving more involvement and contribution from the students in that department will bring visibility to these issues. 

For Josue, the connection between the community and the SGA is instrumental to accomplishing things that make the most impact, so he’s running for corresponding secretary, the public outreach arm of the SGA executive board. With some demonstrated experience in community engagement, Josue thinks he has a lot to offer the role. For example, this year’s corresponding secretary Tyler Varda just recently launched the new iteration of the SGA website, and Josue is already looking forward to applying his web design experience to improving the site for students, as well as bolstering the SGA’s social media presence.  

There are still positions open and plenty of ways to get involved with the 2018-2019 student government association body, so for more information visit the new SGA website at umassdsga.com. Until next semester –this is Sebastian Moronta Blanco, SGA Correspondent signing off.  

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