Hi, Class of 2016 and new transfers! Welcome to Amherst! The whole Amherst community has been excitedly gearing up to welcome you all.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Tania Dias. I am a Black Studies major, and I am the President of the student body. I come from Lisbon, Portugal, I am a huge Federer fan (shout-out to all the tennis fans out there), and I am an avid milk drinker! I am currently a Big Sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program sponsored by the Center of Community Engagement, which is on your left as you enter Keefe Campus Center (Tip 1: Check out the CCE, they’re a great resource). I also work at the post-office (Tip 2: Get to know Don, the postmaster, and his great team. They’re such a help when you’re desperately waiting for or trying to send a package!).
Every week, you will find this AAS column here: Written by different senators every time, it documents the ins and outs of AAS affairs. What is the AAS, you must be thinking. The AAS — Association of Amherst Students — is the student government of our fair college on the hill. Every Monday, at 8:30 p.m., we meet in the Red Room in Converse Hall to discuss, report on and move forward with initiatives that benefit the student body. The AAS is a tripartite organization comprised of the Senate (eight senators represent each class), an executive board and a judiciary council.
Every year, the AAS gets close to one million in funding (which comes from every student’s Activities Fee). With this serious amount of money, we are responsible for funding student clubs, organizations, activities and events. We also use it to fund senator projects that improve Amherst life in general — from TV screen s in the gym, New York Times every morning in Val and free PVTA bus service to the other four institutions, the AAS is behind it (Tip 3: Check out Amherst Scrutiny if you haven’t — it was restarted by a former senator, and it evaluates different classes and professors). As a student government, we also place class representatives in important student, faculty and administrative committees. There they serve and represent your perspectives on issues ranging from social life to diversity and educational policies.
Has any of this peaked your interest? There are many ways you can get involved! The obvious one is, run for senate! Elections to fill the Class of 2016 spots will be held on September 27. Rally up a campaign, and become a senator for your class. Even if this isn’t your thing, you should definitely come check out our open meetings every Monday at 8:30 p.m. You can also come up with funky, new ideas to improve our collective Amherst experience and share them with your representatives. If you need feedback or support for an idea or event you are trying to organize, come present it in Senate, and we’d love to help you out!
This year, we have exciting new things to work on. We want to start a new tradition of a “Community Hour” that would bring all of campus together. We are also hoping to revamp the role and location of the Multicultural Resource Center. We are working on having a bike exchange program on campus, and a Campus Ride Board for breaks. This month, we will be bringing The Wall Street Journal to Val, as well as setting up a calculator borrowing system in the College’s libraries.
If you want to know more about the AAS, go to amherst.edu/campuslife/aas, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org, check us out at the club fair next Monday or come chat with current senators at the AAS Barbeque this Saturday, September 1.
I am really looking forward to getting to know all of you, so don’t be a stranger! If you see me in Val or walking across the quad, feel free to sit down and have dinner with me, or strike up a conversation. I am very excited to get your fresh new input, so that we can all make Amherst the best four years we can have in college. Good luck with this year, and I can’t wait to see you around campus.