At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Associate Speaker, Julia Fox, helps bridge the gap between the legislative and executive branches for the Student Government Association.
Fox, a sophomore majoring in political science and environmental science, was elected as a student senator in the fall of 2018 and then elected as associate speaker in the spring of 2019. With a legislative body comprised of 60 student senators, the speaker and associate speaker lead the Senate.
Staying true to the theme of President Timmy Sullivan’s administration, Fox demonstrates a passion for the environment and her determination to create change through legislation.
When discussing campus issues, she reiterated President Sullivan’s goal of having a renewable campus by 2025 and emphasizing racial justice on campus. She also mentioned the availability of compost bins around campus.
“I know [composting’s] been a big issue, [such as] getting bins within residence halls,” Fox said, but did not go into further detail about the matter.
The workload of being an associate speaker can be tough on a student. “When you think something is simple, it definitely is not,” Fox said.
This year, Fox is learning how to be an effective leader from Speaker Rachel Ellis, who was unavailable for this interview. Fox has a long list of responsibilities, ranging from taking down the time at SGA meetings to putting legislative members in contact with one another. She sends out the legislative agenda to fellow members of SGA as well. Her position has played a huge role in her ability to take on her difficult responsibilities.
She explained how taking things step-by-step has been her biggest takeaway from being an associate speaker thus far. “You have to learn as much as you can and work as hard as you can,” she added.
Fox capped off her interview with a message to the student body at UMass: SGA is a resource for students and SGA is here to support and represent everyone at UMass.
“We’re a body of hard-working, dedicated students that are here to work for students,” she said.