During their Jan. 29 meeting, the University of Maine General Student Senate swore in two new senators; granted final club recognition to Best Buddies and UMaine Nursing International; and funded allocation requests for American Society of Civil Engineering Concrete Canoe, Maine Masque and Men’s Lacrosse.
Student Entertainment 13K in debt, spring concert not likely
During his executive report, Vice President for Financial Affairs Raymond Updyke announced that Student Entertainment was recently forced to liquidate its emergency reserve. According to Updyke, Student Entertainment — the division of UMSG, Inc. that brings concerts and shows to UMaine — is around $13,000 in debt after having $285,000 as of Jan. 29. Updyke reminded the body that these figures did not account for a potential spring concert, which, if planned, could further increase the deficit. If the $13,000 is covered this year it will either need to be taken out of GSS’s unallocated funds for next year or covered this year, if the organization can budget accordingly.
“If Student Entertainment has a show [during the spring], it will just continue to heighten the deficit,” Updyke said.
Current Vice President for Student Entertainment Sarah Goode was questioned heavily after the announcement, answering inquiries about how this happened. Goode pinned the blame on expected ticket sales and UMSG, Inc. not normally having three large shows in one semester, citing Boys Like Girls, All-American Rejects and The Ready Set on Sept. 14; comedians Mike Birbiglia and Michael Ian Black on Oct. 24; and Brantley Gilbert and Aaron Lewis on Dec. 11.
Goode wasn’t appointed VPSE until late Nov. when Jon Allen stepped down due to the upcoming graduation. Allen didn’t completely leave Student Entertainment until mid-December. Unlike the other divisions of UMSG, Inc., most of the decisions made inside Student Entertainment are strictly based on the VPSE’s decision since he or she is directly involved with contract signing, thus leaving most of the responsibility in his or her hands.
After announcing the news, Updyke reminded the body he was not obligated to do so, but did because he thought it was the moral thing to do.
“We can only go uphill from this point,” Goode said, during her executive reports.
Reports from UMS board of trustees meeting
Colin Buttarazzi, representative to the board of trustees, announced several reports from the University of Maine System board of trustee’s Jan. 28 meeting, including news on performance-based funding, diversity increase, credit transfer, the academic calendar and offshore wind turbines.
UMaine will most likely be losing some funding next year due to performance-based funding standards.
“Basically, even if we increased our graduation rate by 20 percent — which is infeasible — we still would have lost 5 percent of our budget,” Buttarazzi said.
According to Buttarazzi, President Paul Ferguson was able to come to a compromise with the board, agreeing to “give back a previous chunk of money.” Instead of losing 8 percent, UMaine will only lose 3 percent.
The board of trustees is implementing a program with Study Group — an organization which, according to its website, helps educational institutions engage with international students in over 130 countries worldwide, providing academic pathways that create superior career outcomes for students.
The UMS board of trustees’ goal is to get 1,200 students from other countries into the student population, statewide. According to Buttarazzi, the board has been trying for years and hopes this move will increase low numbers of diversity inside the system.
A Credit Transfer Program is also in progress of being implemented and is expected to ease the hassle of moving between system campuses via transfer. According to Buttarazzi, goals within the systemwide program include electronic communication online to find out what would transfer to each school, attempting to set standard general education requirements, as well as basic requirements for majors and minors.
UMaine’s academic calendar was approved for the next two years — spring break and all other holiday breaks will stay as they presently are until the 2015-16 academic year. While this is good news for most, it may not be for the UMaine Veterans Association. The group recently sent a signed petition to the UMaine Senate Faculty advising them to make Veterans Day one of the university’s scheduled holidays in which classes, among other things, are cancelled for the day as a symbol of recognition. If passed, the change wouldn’t occur until the 2016-17 academic year.
Habib Dagher, UMaine’s Director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, presented to the UMS board of trustees on the university’s progress with offshore wind turbines and plans for the future. According to Buttarazzi, Dagher said the size of the planned turbines will be near the height of Washington Monument, and the blade length will be close to the wingspan of a Boeing 747. By 2030, Dagher expects there to be enough offshore wind turbine farms to generate as much power as 50 nuclear power plants.
Adams, Trask join GSS
The GSS welcomed two new senators aboard near the beginning of the meeting. Second-year student Tanner Adams, a Lewiston native, and first-year student Sydney Trask of Eastonwere sworn-in after taking an oath with Vice President Sam Helmke. Now, there are three seats currently open on the GSS.
Men’s Lacrosse, ASCE Concrete Canoe and Maine Masque receive funding
From unfinished business, Men’s Lacrosse was funded in full after requesting $5,000 for their upcoming spring season, which includes eight games — four home, four away. Club Vice President Igor Radosavljevic and a captain of the club spoke on behalf of the organization, stating they were working on fundraising ideas.
According to Radosavljevic, last year’s ideas garnered little success, collecting under $100 in a bottle drive and failing to complete planned donation letters. Men’s Lacrosse club members pay a considerable amount of money, out of pocket, to join the team, making up for any fundraising they are unable to do.
From new business, ASCE Concrete Canoe was funded in full after requesting $2,500 for their upcoming trip to the 2012-13 New England Regional ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition hosted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth from April 26-27.
The captain of the club last year spoke on behalf of the organization, stating the team took second overall in last year’s competition held at the University of New Hampshire. The representative also said the club has collected over $1,000 of fundraising through UMaine’s engineering department funds and also received $500 from its national organization. The club is expecting to have 15 to 20 members competing.
Maine Masque was funded in full after requesting $1,435 for an upcoming theater performance. Funding in the amount of $1,000 is expected to be used for scenery, $375 for rights and $60 for scripts.
Maine Masque has fundraised $600 and expects a contribution from the Program Fund in the amount of $2,700. Expected attendance is between 300 to 500 students — UMaine students can gain free access with the presentation of a MaineCard. The performance is titled “God of Carnage.”
Five other groups received funding: $475 to Mock Trial for a regional competition, $600 to the Asian Student Association for the East Coast Asian American Student Union Conference at Columbia University in New York from Feb. 22 – 24, $560 to the Maine Animal Club for the NESA conference, $300 to the Track Team for a meet at Boston University’s Track and Tennis Center, and $130 to the Shotokan Karate Club for new equipment.
Best Buddies, UMaine Nursing International receive final recognition
Best Buddies and UMaine Nursing International received final club recognition from the GSS, granting them acknowledgement from Student Organizations as official clubs on campus.
Best Buddies’ purpose is to “[pair] young adults in the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities into one-to-one friendships with college students.”
Club president Chelsea O’Meara spoke on behalf of the organization, stating the club had its first event of the year a couple of weeks ago with “Match Buddies.” Club members met with community members for the first time. O’Meara says Best Buddies Prom will be held in April, and Best Buddies Olympics is in the process of being planned for the spring.
The group consists of college students and 27 associate members who come and help with events. Only college students involved with the program are paired with community members. The club also works with the Center for Cultural & Disability Studies.
UMaine Nursing International’s purpose is to “[travel] abroad to provide healthcare to underserved populations and gain cultural experience.”
A fill-in representative spoke on behalf of the club because other members were unable to attend. She said the club has 12 members and one faculty member planning to attend an upcoming trip to Belize in early March which they’re all paying out-of-pocket for.
Vice President for Student Organizations Sarah Porter helped explain what the club does: “Their goal is to get to these countries, go door-to-door and ask if they need medical aid. They set up clinics, and these people get medical care for free. Surprisingly, it’s a very efficient system.”
Standing rules revised, exec reports
A rule was amended to restrict club or committee representatives who also hold GSS seats from speaking on behalf of the report in an effort to bring new people into GSS meetings.
“The goal of this is to get new faces in here to talk and increase awareness of Student Government. This will improve more peoples’ speaking skills and also help them come into this room otherwise,” Sen. Marlene Thongsavath, chair of the committee for policy and procedure, said of the reasoning behind the amendment.
“Honestly, this has always been a cop-out for a lot of groups that just say, ‘Hey, we already have a representative there that’s not a senator, so he or she can just give the report,’” said Helmke. “Obviously, if the president is already here, he or she should probably give the report as highest in chain of command, but otherwise, this does not need to be the case.”
Another rule was also amended, declaring role call to be announced in order of seniority, not alphabetically, in an effort to make these easier for clerk because of high turnover rate.
In President Kim Dao’s executive report, the third-year biology student said she and VP Helmke met with VP of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Robert Dana about potential collaboration with Maine Day and also with the director of Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts for potential help with Student Entertainment.
In VP Helmke’s report, he announced the clerk of the GSS as Ryan Kasianchuk.
Sen. Sydney Trask was added to the nomination list for Faculty Senate Representative, joining Sen. Jake Dumas. Also, Sens. Caleb Shortt and Caroline Harvey were added to the pool of nominations for Legal Services Liaison, joining Sen. Logan Nee and Sen. Dumas. These positions will be voted on at the GSS’ next meeting, along with Graduate Student Representative and Pro Tempore.