The General Student Senate meeting on Feb. 25 began with the approval of the Feb. 18 meeting minutes and agenda.
General Good and Welfare:
Sen. Emmeline Willey spoke for Vice President Chase Flaherty, who was absent the Feb. 25 meeting, and discussed the Robert’s Rules item of the week. The item of the week highlighted the motion of voting on a ruling by the chair. A senator may say that they would like to make a motion to appeal the chair’s decision.
New Senators, Officer Appointments, Resignations:
Connor Bray was appointed as a senator. Sen. Willey reported that Angel K Loredo and Will Erlanson were present to participate in a senator observation.
Representatives from the Recreational Ski & Snowboard Club argued for the recognition of their group and were granted preliminary recognition.
President Bentley Simpson reported that he sat in on UMaine’s First-Generation Student Meeting last week. He shared that the group is looking to create videos highlighting stories about current first-generation students at UMaine and to reach out to him if any first-generation student wanted to take part. Additionally, President Simpson shared that he would be meeting with the Assistant Dean of Student Life Andrea Gifford regarding a potential collaboration with a national company called Rent College Pads. This company is used as a resource for finding places to rent and lease for students at universities across the nation. He reported that he is discussing with the others the potential of live streaming future senate meetings. Lastly, he shared that the Maine Day committee would be meeting on Feb. 26 at 9 a.m.
President Bentley Simpson presented the report of Vice President Flaherty. The report stated that Vice President Flaherty is continuing to plan the senate retreat. Additionally, Vice President Flaherty wanted the Senate to know that Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana would be attending the next Senate meeting on March 3.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Jack O’Donoghue reported that there is currently $285,357.18 in unallocated funds. He shared that budget meetings are almost complete and that the deadline for sports clubs budgets to be complete is March 6. He reported that the majority of his work in the spring would focus on preparing UMaine’s disc golf course. Lastly, he reported that anyone interested in the position of Vice President of Financial Affairs should contact him.
Vice President for Student Organizations (VPSO) Taylor Cray reported that anyone interested in the VPSO position should contact her. Additionally, she reported that the Dungeons & Dragons bylaw was passed last week. She shared that she is working with the Coordinator of Student Organizations Heather Hogan on revising the relationship agreement that all clubs and organizations have to sign. Lastly, Cray reported that she went to a meeting at the Blaine House and discussed youth retention in the state of Maine.
Vice President for Student Entertainment Logan Aromando reported that he is continuing to work on small details for the Maine Day concert. He shared that he has gotten photography for the main artist approved and is currently focusing on getting an opener or possibly a new artist and is in contact with a few different artists. He reported that he is working with President Simpson to contact food trucks and that this year they will be charging food trucks that decide to come to the concert. They have already heard from a number of food trucks who plan to attend. He reported that he is still communicating with the University of Maine Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the facilities department on campus to finalize the number of these utilities that will be needed on the day of the concert. He is also creating a schedule for the specific tasks and needs for the day of the concert. Additionally, Vice President Aromando reported that he is working with the Graduate Student Government on a plan to potentially sell tickets to graduate students. He reported that he is speaking to production agencies regarding next year’s concert in attempts to get a better deal on ticket prices.
The Advisor to Student Government Lauri Sidelko encouraged people to volunteer for the Maine Day concert. She reported that March 3 is Super Tuesday and the primary election. She shared that she has been working with the NextGen voter organization to run vans to the polling office that day. She reported that vans will take UMaine students from the Union to the polling office at the Orono Municipal Building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and that students should bring a piece of mail and an identification card with them if they aren’t registered to vote yet. Additionally, she reported that she has attended a few events in honor of Black History Month on campus. Sidelko also reminded the senate that if they are a part of an organization that is hosting an event with 50 or more people or an event in a room that can hold 50 or more people, the organization needs to fill out an event management request form so that UMaine officials can make security and safety accommodations. Lastly, she shared that she is working with Spotlight Cinemas on a deal to potentially provide free movie passes to students.
Faculty Senate Student Rep. Camryn Hammill had no report.
UMaine Board of Trustees Student Rep. Abby Despres reported that she attended the Academic and Student Affairs Meeting on Feb. 24. She announced that UMaine in Orono will collaborate with the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Presque Isle to offer a graduate degree in athletic training. The program will kick off in the summer of 2022. She also reported that there is movement on potentially altering the Student Code of Conduct and she will keep the senate updated on this in the future.
Chair of the Fair Election Practices Commission Matthew Akers reported that on Feb. 20 there was a meeting for UMSG, Inc. President and Vice President candidates. He reported that these candidates will be giving their platform speeches at the next senate meeting in preparation for the upcoming election. Lastly, he reported that voting for the election will occur electronically and be sent out via email.
Student Legal Services Liaison Elisabeth Redwood reported that the legal services are currently preparing legal contracts for events such as the Maine Day concert, the Drag Show and the Hair Care Fair. Redwood also reported that the legal services can review leases for students and can help students in this manner, among other services.
Representative to the Graduate Student Senate Frank Kelly reported that he would be attending the Graduate Student Senate next week.
Orono Town Council Liaison Camryn Hammil had no report.
Old Town City Council Liaison Peter Alexander had no report.
Representative of the UMaine Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Austin Westfield reported that the Naval ROTC program has announced that the Zimmerman Fitness Challenge will take place on April 18. He also shared that the Army ROTC program will hold a barbecue in April at the National Guard Base in Bangor.
Director of Communications Owen Vadala reported that he has been conversing with President Simpson about shirts for the organization. He also reported that he advertised the Bumper Ball event that took place on Feb. 22 on the student government social media pages last weekend.
University of Maine Security Rep. Gabriela Reyes had no report.
Center for Undergraduate Research Liaison Olivia Lovejoy had no report.
Reports of Standing Committees:
Marketing and Public Relations Rep. Owen Vadala had no report.
Membership Rep. Gabriela Reyes reported that she will have beverages available at the next senate meeting. She also shared that she has been working with Vice President Flaherty on the senate retreat that will take place on March 29. Lastly, she shared that she will have binders prepared in the near future for the newly appointed senators, Sens. Bray and Curro.
Policy & Procedure Rep. Harrison Ransley had no report.
Political Activism Rep. Cody Embelton reported that the primary election will take place on March 3 and there will be transportation available to bring students from campus to the polls. He shared that he will be having a meeting on Feb. 26 with the presidents of the political clubs on campus to discuss election day.
Student Services Rep. Emmeline Willey reported that at the last committee meeting Lauri Sidelko and Vice President Flaherty attended and the group talked about plans for a Maine Day mural in the atrium of the Union. Additionally, at the meeting, Sidelko told the group that there will be a game room in the Union in the future and new seating arrangements to provide more space for students. Lastly, Rep. Willey announced that there would not be a services committee this coming week.
Reports of Special Committees:
Student Conduct Code Oversight and Review Committee Rep. Harrison Ransley reported that posters encouraging students to reach out with concerns about the student conduct code have been printed out and that he and Sen. Reyes are in need of assistance to post them around campus.
Representative Board Reports:
Commuter and Non-Traditional Students Rep. Ian Johnson reported that there will be a pancake breakfast on March 27.
Honors College Student Advisory Board Rep. Dominique Dispirito reported that the group is $250 away from their monetary goal for the Maine Day meal packout. She shared that making this goal so early allows them to raise funds for next year. She shared that the board is continuing to work with faculty and administration on recruitment initiatives. Lastly, Dispirito shared that a discussion event will occur on Feb. 28 on the fourth floor of Colvin Hall and all students are welcome.
Interfraternity Council Rep. Morgan Ford reported that members of the council are going to the National Greek Leadership Association conference this week. Rep. Ford also shared that Greek Week is approaching and members of the council are meeting with administration from Upward Bound about a potential collaboration for that week on Feb. 26. Additionally, the council is putting together a planning committee for Greek Week’s events.
Panhellenic Council Rep. Allison Swede reported that members of the council will be attending the National Greek Leadership Association conference this Thursday, in Baltimore, Maryland. She shared that Greek Week is approaching and the council is looking to have an outreach event during that week. She reported that the council will be tabling for the Circle of Sisterhood, Panhellenic’s philanthropy, during March. Lastly, she reported that they are planning the talent show that will occur during Greek Week.
Senior Class Council Rep. Joshua Minor had no report.
Sustainability and Environment Action Division Rep. Dalton Bouchless was not present and did not pass along a report.
Community Association Reports:
Student Heritage Alliance Council Rep. Anna Schaab reported that Japanese students will be eating lunch in the North Pod for the rest of the week and would love to talk to students. Additionally, she shared that on March 5, the German Club is hosting a cake demo at their weekly meeting where they will be making German cakes and anyone is welcome to come to the meeting to learn how to make them.
Feminist Collective Rep. Rachel Jones reported that on Feb. 24, the group met to discuss the future of the organization. At this meeting, the group created goals and brainstormed how they would have more active participants. Rep. Jones shared that the group will be working on restructuring and rebuilding in the next semester.
Wilde Stein Queer-Straight Alliance Rep. MJ Smith reported that in this week’s meeting the group will split into committees to discuss the upcoming carnival and lavender prom. Rep. Smith told the senate to look out for events for Diversity Week and Pride Week that are coming up in April.
International Student Association Rep. Hannah Holbrook was not present and did not pass along a report.
A motion to allocate $700 to the Maine Peace Action Committee for formatting and printing was introduced. This motion was passed.
A motion to allocate $35 to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for popsicle sticks, rubber bands and starburst candy was introduced. This motion was passed.
An Act to allocate $2,250 to the International Affairs Association for registration fees and airfare costs for nine students to attend the Harvard World Model UN in Tokyo, Japan on March 16 was passed.
President Simpson discussed the main motion of the night, allocating a total of $10,275 to UMaine’s Student Symposium event that is held on April 17 at the Alfond Sports Arena. President Simpson argued that because UMaine has a large number of undergraduate students taking part in research, it is important to help fund this event. He reported that there are 1,060 coauthors at this event and 45% of them are undergraduate students. Additionally, he shared that the graduate student government has provided a large portion of the funding for this event in the past years, so it is necessary for the undergraduate student government to contribute as well.
Sen. Kelly proposed an amendment to the wording of the motion, as the original motion had stated that the event was at the Cross Insurance Center, as it was in past years, but has since changed locations, to the Alfond Sports Arena. The amendment was passed.
Vice President Aromando suggested tabling the motion for next week’s meeting, as he believed there was more information necessary before a decision could be made.
The Senate voted and the majority agreed to table the motion.
The final roll was called and the meeting was then adjourned.