Spotlight: Yevin Roh
As the newly elected Student Government Association (SGA) President of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an active student frequently working alongside fellow peers, faculty, and administration, Yevin Roh demonstrates that actions speak louder than words.
He serves as a role model for individuals to be leaders, to be the change they want to see in the world. Though Yevin Roh has many titles, he prefers to be referred to simply as Yevin. A majority of students also know him as “Wu Tang” because of the Wu Tang chain he dons, his unique testament to hip hop.
Upon coming to UMass, Yevin did not always think of becoming SGA president. The prospect of becoming politically involved in the SGA grew from different perspectives he gained from working with a spectrum of student organizations such as: Center for Educational Policy Advocacy (CEPA), Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success advisory board, the former United Asia Learning Resource Center (UALRC), Everywoman’s Center, Stonewall Center, Black Student Union (BSU), Asian American Student Association (AASA), Muslim Student Association (MSA), and many others.
Working with various advisory boards, student organizations, and committees with students and staff, Yevin learned about issues that the community felt were important. He says the voices of fellow students fueled and furthered his passion to create change, to “make the SGA relevant again because the SGA was perceived to be something to fight against, not something to fight with for student welfare.”
Yevin’s foundation in politics was rooted in the various leadership roles he took as a student and as an activist. At CEPA, Yevin was the campus climate core team leader, and he worked with students on a daily basis to address issues that directly affected the UMass campus. Yevin raised awareness about resources available to different Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), and directed students to said resources. For instance, Yevin referred students/RSOs to appropriate SGA senators regarding budget complaints; and what strategies students can use when speaking to diverse groups like faculty, administration, and other students. In addition, Yevin informed students their rights and responsibilities under the Code of Student Conduct. As a Resident Assistant (RA) and member of CEPA he has held programs where he addresses the most frequently asked questions about student rights and responsibilities. Moreover, as a volunteer on the Code of Student Conduct Review committee, Yevin collaborated with staff, students, and administrators to install a policy where UMass acknowledges transgender individuals regarding their right of entry to latrines pertinent to their gender identity.
Though Yevin’s ambition is apparent through his accomplishments, it does not stop here. He feverously worked to create a new hate crime / hate speech policy that states “threats, intimidation, or coercion based off of not just membership in certain groups but perceived membership” will be violations of the code, in addition to physical violence.
When asked what he anticipates as SGA president, Yevin explains “it is going to be a sensitive time because of fee increases. Everyone is going to be concerned about them, and rightfully so because it directly affects accessibility of the institution to students.”
Yevin plans to ensure the University remains affordable and accessible to people and states, “I want to redefine what it means to be the SGA- to interact with RSOs, making sure the SGA stays relevant and interacts with students on a very consistent basis. We have to remember that SGA politics is not ‘real’ politics. We are advocates for our peers, we are student leaders, and that means we are social servants.”
Outside of the SGA, Yevin also takes on the responsibilities of a Resident Assistant (RA) in Washington residence hall in Southwest. There, he has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition by the National Residence Hall Honorary for his crisis management skills, and helping to prevent a possible suicide. Yevin states that being an RA gives him an interesting perspective on student life. “Southwest is stereotyped as a 24 hour party area, but half of the on-campus population is here, so everything becomes exaggerated. But there is a diverse group of people in Southwest—international students, students from various incomes, other identity groups, and because of that, stereotyping Southwest would be disregarding all the subcultures within it.”
Besides SGA, Yevin is engaged in other extracurriculars where he finds ways to express himself. He is a member of the Phallacies, a men’s health peer health education dialogue and theatre troupe. He has traveled to NASPA and UMass Dartmouth to perform series of light-hearted and heavy-hearted skits about masculinity.
Currently, Yevin is a Public Health major aspiring to work in the field of medicine with hopes of becoming a pediatrician or surgeon.