The University of Maine General Student Senate revealed a plan to begin implementing the newly proposed online community management system, OrgSync. The Students for Liberty club received preliminary recognition and allocation requests were passed for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Geological Society and Society of Women Engineers Oct. 2 in the Memorial Union’s Bangor Room.
President Chris Protzmann and Vice President for Student Organizations Sarah Porter presented OrgSync during the meeting’s special orders and announcements, commending both its versatility and user-friendliness.
With the slow, eventual phase-out of FirstClass — which is expected to be completed by 2015, according to Student Affairs — Protzmann and Porter both believe OrgSync will cost-effectively replace the conference folder communication feature with a more efficient program that provides an easy-to-navigate interface, much like that of Facebook.
Some key features include the ability to send allocation forms via online, download already-compiled curricular records and transcripts for job search and a layered calendar, which includes all of your organizations events, all in one place.
OrgSync is a Texas-based company founded five years ago by students and alumni at the University of Texas at Austin.
“This is bringing UMaine into the 21st century,” Protzmann said. “Integration will take months — it won’t be an overnight switch. But the beautiful thing is, OrgSync will be there every step of the way.”
OrgSync’s company provides several training sessions and hires a campus representative to help aid schools through the transition period.
UMaine administrator Lauri Sidelko will serve as the faculty representative from Student Affairs.
As for the future with email messaging at the University of Maine, Protzmann and Porter aren’t entirely sure. “The conference feature is what we’re looking to replicate at this point,” Protzmann said. “This will be supplemental to the extracurricular side of student life.”
Porter was quick to mention that the implementation of OrgSync will not be an operation that is forgotten. “We’re making sure we connect with Student Affairs in order to make sure this isn’t something we start up for a semester and then leave.”
Money will be spent on OrgSync this fall, followed by implementation in the spring. Training will take place before winter break.
Club president Zach Nichols, a third-year financial economics student, spoke on behalf of Students for Liberty, stating the organization is an “education group for people who like free markets in society.” Nichols specified, saying, “Students for Liberty is not a political group, but sends a political message.” Meetings are tentatively scheduled for Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.
In unfinished business, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers was awarded allocated funds of $1,080 for their upcoming chemical car competiton, which is part of the 2012 AIChE Annual Meeting at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Club president Lucas Mathers spoke on behalf of the group, declaring that 12 members will be sent to the competition. Mathers spoke about fundraising, saying the group now has dues of $20 per member and begins fundraising for the competition several months in advance during the spring semester. Mathers also mentioned that, because of the large dropout rate in the engineering program, the club often sends freshmen and sophomores to help peak interest. As both a senior and club president, Mathers admitted he would not be going to the competition, simply to keep underclassmen excited. The executive budgetary committee’s report was 7-0-0 to pass before being passed in full by the GSS.
In new business, the Geological Society was awarded allocated funds of $2,160 for lodging during their upcoming educational geology trip to Iceland scheduled for the first week of spring break. Fifteen members will venture the Nordic island for the group’s first international trip — in the past, they’ve traveled to Arizona. Other funding efforts towards the trip include $2,000 from the Earth Science Department for gas and the excursion, $2,300 in fundraising and the remaining amount to be out-of-pocket from members themselves. EBC’s report was 8-0-0 ought to pass before being passed in full by the GSS.
The Society of Women Engineers was awarded allocated funds of $2,540 for lodging and airfare during the upcoming, annual WE12 National Conference, Nov. 8 to Nov. 10 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. The initial funding request for this conference from Sept. 18, which asked for funds in the amount of $1,500 to solely cover airfare, was postponed by the EBC in order for the club to reevaluate its funding needs. SWE will now cover travel and registration expenses, while the Department of Engineering funds meals. EBC’s report was 8-0-0 ought to pass before being passed, in full, by the GSS.
Before Protzmann and Porter’s OrgSync presentation during special orders and announcements, a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association spoke on behalf of the club which was awarded allocated funds of $720 to help pay for lodging and registration for the Picture Exchange Communication System Basic Training workshop on Oct. 11 and 12 at Four Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland, Maine. NSSLHA’s request for funds came less than a week before the Oct. 2 meeting, thus forcing the request to be heard during special orders and announcements. NSSLHA needed the funds on short notice since the workshop was being held in nine days.
After more than 20 minutes of overall debate, NSSLHA’s initial request of $1,100 was first amended to $1,010 because of an arithmetic error by NSSLHA when totaling costs, then was amended again to $720 because funding for two nights and a sedan rental from motor pool was deemed unnecessary by the GSS. Members of the senate stressed that their decision to cut funds from the original request was because there was no prior attempt from NSSLHA to fundraise on their own.
Prior to the Oct. 2 meeting, Sen. Mark Brunton announced he would be stepping down as GSS Sergeant-at-Arms. Nominations for the position officially opened up, as well as nominations for a Representative to the Graduate Student Senate, which will remain open until Oct. 16.
A representative of UMaine UVote spoke to the GSS, noting the university had the lowest turnout for voting in school history last election. UMaine UVote will be conducting events until Oct. 16 in an attempt to increase voter turnout for Election Day, Nov. 6.
In executive reports, Protzmann went over new scholarship information. The William M. Galasso scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate woman who shows love of the outdoors and there will be $400 to $500 scholarships obtainable for students who exemplify leadership, which will be unavailable for senators.
Vice President Sam Helmke said he met with Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Dana about sending invitation letters out to upcoming election candidates to come speak on campus and also revamping the commuter lounge.
Helmke said the taxi voucher program is “pretty convoluted and hard to market, but he’s still going work on it.” Helmke hinted that maybe trying buses on weekends would be a better idea. Helmke and various senate members will also attempt to update the UMSG, Inc. and GSS bylaws. Fourth-year political science major and former GSS parliamentarian and web developer Ryan Gavin has been asked by the senate to help with the writing of bylaws.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Ray Updyke reminded fellow senate members of current fund totals, saying there is only $17,000 left for the month of October.
Porter added clarification for the assembly, noting Club of the Month honors will be voted on for the month of September, despite the Club of the Month incentive program being approved just a week before. Also, Porter encouraged members to form a team of senators for this weekend’s homecoming events, affirming this could be a way to get faces out in the student community.
Vice President of Student Entertainment Jon Allen announced he would be transferring $7,000 from programming to equipment for buying a screen and high-definition projector. Allen also said he would be moving $2,500 from his budget towards Senior Week. Comedians Mike Birbiglia and Michael Ian Black will be performing Oct. 24 at the Collins Center for the Arts and country artists Brantley Gilbert and Aaron Lewis of Staind will be performing Dec. 11 at Alfond Arena.
In periodic reports, Representative to Faculty Senate Robert “Jackson” Pineau said the faculty senate is thinking about modifying spring break so it would coincide with high school spring breaks. This would most likely mean the two weeks would become separate weeks.
Legal Services Liaison Paige Eggleston met with UMSG, Inc.’s attorney. Eggleston said the lawyer had just finished training the new assistant and is working to reach out with political groups on campus to talk about voter rights. The lawyer met with Porter about educating students about common legal troubles like failing to pay taxes, being arrested, etc.
In standing committee reports, Services Committee Chair Kimberly Dao said sushi is coming to the Union via a private company. Dao clarified, saying students will not be making the sushi. Also, Dao directed anyone who is having problems with Cutler Health Center, in terms of lacking service, to email Richard Young. According to Dao, Cutler Health Center is looking to end rotation shifts with other hospitals and transition to a permanent work force. Dao finished her report by saying Late Night Dining at Hilltop will now only offer breakfast foods.
GSS did not meet on Oct. 9, due to the university’s fall break. Their next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16.
Liam Nee’s brother Logan is a senator on UMSG and a political columnist for The Maine Campus.