By Timothy Howard, Staff Writer
Last Monday, elections were held to fill seats in UMass Dartmouth’s Student Government Association. Multiple vacated seats were up for grabs including two open seats representing the College of Visual and Performing Arts, an open seat representing the
College of Arts and Sciences, one seat for the Class of 2019, one seat for the Class of 2020, and lastly three new seats which were created to represent the students who’ve transitioned to UMassD from the now defunct Mount Ida College.
All of the aforementioned seats were filled with the exception of the two seats College of Visual and Performing Arts.
One of the three students chosen to represent Mount Ida students, Mackenzie Bumpus, agreed to be interviewed by The Torch to discuss issues Mount Ida students are facing, the transition from Mount Ida to UMassD, and a few other things pertinent to her constituency.
“It was obviously difficult to take in the news that a place that I called home for the last three years wasn’t going to be my home anymore, Bumpus says, “but people here made it easy to transition.” She also stated that the Housing and Residential Education department made the arduous process of transferring to a school far away from Mount Ida’s campus in Boston, to Dartmouth a smoother transition.
She went on to praise Vice Chancellor Finning’s willingness to hear some of the questions and concerns that Mount Ida students presented in regard to housing and academic scheduling. “She was kind of that person I voiced all of those concerns to,” Bumpus said.
Considering around 200 Mount Ida students have assimilated into UMassD, Bumpus stated that the transition for them was much smoother than she was initially anticipating, a sentiment to which she expressed gratitude for. Bumpus is evidently very passionate about the wellbeing of the students she represents.
Last year she was the president of the Student Government Association for Mount Ida, making it only natural that she would pursue a similar path at UMassD. She states that “it seems like it’s the same type of environment… everyone respects each other’s opinions which I feel is very valuable in a student government.” Bumpus said that this kind of environment can be found throughout UMassD as her meetings with the chancellor made clear to her. “When I met with the chancellor Johnson I felt immediately like my voice was being heard,” she said. “Everything that I’ve said has been respected and acted upon which is really nice.”
Delving further into the politics of the Mount Ida acquisition and subsequent transition of their students to UMassD, I gathered Mackenzie’s opinion on why UMass Dartmouth was the UMass school chosen to take Mount Ida students rather than the more obvious choice of UMass Boston, the latter much closer to Mount Ida’s campus than the former. “All my friends are from Maine, New Hampshire… I was only thirty minutes away from Mount Ida and now I’m an hour and half away from here so it’s like I have to live here, I know a lot of my friends feel the same way, not that we didn’t have a choice but it if you want to go to school and you want to finish your degree on time, come to UMD, live here.”
She did stipulate that UMassD’s faculty had been very helpful in ensuring their residential needs are met and that those from mount Ida may remain located near each other. “They’ve been very accommodating in giving us a place to live, which given the timing of the circumstances was very helpful,” said Bumpus. She also expressed that she didn’t feel taken advantage of because UMassD had many more of the resources required for the mount Ida students to complete their degree than those available at UMass Boston. “A plan was already put into place for us.”
Bumpus, a senior, feels as if her position in the SGA can still be used to bring about change. “I feel as if having students’ voices heard, not just from Mount Ida, but from the whole campus is going really important,” she says. “There have been some students who have been struggling with the transition here and I believe that some students still don’t have an advisor, so that’s something I’m going to try to work with on the other two mount Ida Senators.”
In summation, it appears as if the Student Government Association is going to be more important this year than ever before, as two schools become one and UMass Dartmouth advances into the future. Congratulations to all the new members of the SGA and we hope you have a great year here at UMD.