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StuGov confirms new representatives for the year

Boston University Senate Chair Vincent D’Amato. The BU Student Government convened for its first meeting of the semester on Monday. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University Student Government in a virtual meeting Monday night confirmed new representatives for the 2020-2021 school year and discussed how Learn from Anywhere — the University’s hybrid learning model — will affect the group.

The first confirmation was of Vice Chair Shashi Shah, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Shah cited the hybrid model as the biggest challenge of the semester for StuGov, and said there is a need to ensure everyone could contribute and be listened to across time zones.

“As a senate, we need to make sure we’re able to overcome this distance gap,” Shah said, “and still continue collaborating together and working together to make sure that we are efficiently putting forward new ideas, new proposals and that we’re making sure that everyone’s voice is heard.” 

Aditya Jain, a senior in the College of Engineering, was confirmed as the chair of Food Equality, Accountability, Sustainability, and Transparency, a program that focuses on advocacy and sustainability in BU dining halls.

In the past, FEAST has advocated for the implementation of electronic boards in dining halls to make menus easier to update in case of mistakes. 

The initiative also created two annual traditions: a Meal of the Month program that highlighted vegan diets from cultures across the world, and a capstone project that challenged students during Earth Week to go vegan or vegetarian.

This year, Jain said he wants to look into how the changes to the George Sherman Union have impacted eating habits and deliveries for students in quarantine.

He also said that if BU resumes a hybrid model second semester, Meal of the Month will not be able to go digital, though the capstone project will.

Other confirmed candidates were the Student Election Commission co-chairs, Questrom School of Business junior Vanessa Rodriguez and CAS junior Daniel Daponte.

Rodriguez said the need for technological flexibility right now takes precedence.

“What we want to prioritize right now,” Rodriguez said, “is how to make the rules work in a hybrid mode.”

Some senators were concerned about voter turnout and the potential advantages of on-campus candidates for elections.

Addressing turnout, Daponte said the SEC is “looking to social media to get the word out,” but also said that last year’s entirely-online election had strong voter turnout.

For candidates campaigning while living away from campus, Rodriguez said the SEC would have Zoom information sessions with guides available afterward for those who are unable to attend. 

Rodriguez also said that in terms of promotion, the SEC would try to hold events so candidates could market their slates off campus.

Senator Ezra Bale, a senior in the College of Communication, said he is optimistic about this semester.

“I feel very confident about [the confirmed candidates] … I was very satisfied with their answers,” Bale said. “I could see the confidence in what they were saying, and I knew that they would be well-suited for their appointments.”

All confirmations were passed with at least a two-thirds majority.

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