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A candidate for trustee interview: Mina Lam

(Photocourtesy of Mina Lam) “Mina Lam is running for student trustee against her opponent, David Levine.”

Qinglong Diep
Connector Staff

Mina Lam, who is Student Government Association (SGA) senator for the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell is running for student trustee to advocate for more mental health resources, college affordability and more varieties offered in dining halls. Lam is a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance and marketing. She also has an economics minor.

Lam was a senator at large back in 2020 when she served in three committees within the SGA–the Finance Committee, Public Relations and Events Committee and the Campus Life and Environment Committee. She joined back as senator for the Manning School of Business back in December 2021 where she currently serves on the Governance Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee. She is the vice chair for the Academic Affairs Committee.

Lam was inspired to run for student trustee as she saw it as an opportunity to make big changes.

During her time in the SGA, she felt one of her skills that would carry over if elected as the next student trustee is interpersonal communication.

Outside of SGA, she is very involved on campus and works a few on-campus jobs.

“I just really enjoy meeting people and help[ing] students have a really great high quality experience. Just helping them create that kind of experience…I wanted to do something more where I can help students…through these campus involvement. I believe that it gives me a great perspective on what students would like to see at UML,” said Lam.

Lam said this position would be an opportunity and a privilege to share student’s voices. “I wanted to prioritize the needs of students and having their voices heard,” Lam said.

She believes there needs to be more mental health resources such as having more professional counselors. “I believe it is good to have more because by having more counselors, [it] allows more students to be able to reach out better. Just because I know each counselor—they might have a certain schedule, and so it is better to have more counselors…[it] allows the student to feel more comfortable in knowing that oh, there is a counselor available,” said Lam.

She also would want an organization established through the Wellness Center where students can meet each other as there were not many opportunities to socialize during the past semesters, particularly last fall semester.

Lam has concerns about college affordability. She believes these increases are not justifiable at all.

“The room and board is the same kind of most room, most residence halls. There’s the same status as before yet the cost is still increasing. There’s not really much renovations for like certain residence halls as well, especially for tuition,” said Lam.

Additionally, she would want to increase more scholarship opportunities.

In terms of textbooks cost, she believes the books and the online homework systems that most professors use in courses should be provided through the class.

In an interview, Lam said textbook and online homework systems should be included in tuition and that this would not be a separate fee at all. “They have to really give us these resources. So they should be the ones that are providing the homework and the books to the students,” she said.

Lam will also be advocating for changes to happen in the dining halls such as more varieties at dining halls and better meal standards. During her freshman year, she had pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, that was offered at one of the dining halls. “I realized that they just really just put these frozen yet warm noodles, and the broth wasn’t really like chicken broth. It was more like chicken noodle soup,” Lam said.

She suggested to the UMass Lowell Dining Committee that the food should taste and be prepared more relevantly to their specific meal offerings. She also mentioned that the ingredients being used to prepare the meals should be safe to consume and that there are no surprises in meals being served to students, such as finding insects in a salad.

Lam said, “[University Dining] needs to continue on creating that kind of opportunity [to] offer more cuisines from different cultures a little bit better…there could be a lot of repetitions throughout the week, or even each day.”

Nutrition is also something she discussed. She said there needs to be more nutritious benefits to consume such as more smoothies being offered more often. There is always soda being offered every day, and the only other alternatives to it is sparkling water, milk or juice.

When the next chancellor is hired, she plans to create some interactive events with students to get to know and talk with the new chancellor. In addition, students would also get a chance to meet students from different majors. The interactive events she had in mind were little mini games and icebreakers.

If elected to student trustee, she would like to have a meet-the-student-trustee event where students, including the freshman, can find out more about the position as well who she is. Additionally, she has a form on her campaign account where students can reach her to voice concerns or suggest things. She hopes the information on how to reach out to the student trustee is advertised on posters around campus.

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