On Tuesday, Sept. 28, The General Student Senate held their weekly public meeting on Zoom. This was a result of one of their members testing positive for COVID-19.
“I’m so glad to be joining you from quarantine, if you didn’t know I’m the person who had COVID,” said Frank Kelly, the GSS vice president of financial affairs.
Kelly disclosed that he is currently asymptomatic and is currently quarantining alone at his home.
This is following the senate’s very recent return to in-person meetings after being remote all last year due to COVID-19.
“We are due to come back next week, the situation was handled pretty well so good job to everybody for doing your duty and getting tested and doing whatever you may have to,” said GSS President Zachary Wyles.
GSS committees were also expected to meet remotely throughout the week, but all are set to return to in-person meetings on Monday.
Club representatives were still able to participate remotely in this public meeting. Noah Bourassa, a representative of the Men’s Volleyball Club was seeking preliminary recognition due to being previously inactive.
“There was no one else that wanted to play or wanted to help out so I said, ‘fine, we’ll be inactive,’ and now I’m back and so many people are coming up to me saying they want to play or they want to keep playing or they want to learn,” said Bourassa.
According to Bourassa, the club was handed to him in an unprofessional way, and became inactive when he returned back home due to COVID-19 last year. Many students have been coming to him insisting the club be reactivated.
“I decided that this is something that falls on me and I need to bring this back and it’s my responsibility, so I’m doing my best right now,” said Bourassa. After a clear majority vote, Bourassa’s request was passed by the senate.
A representative from the Women in Business Club was present seeking final recognition of their club.
“The mission of the club is to develop and empower women in a Maine business school through networking, education and professional and personal advancement,” said club speaker Maggie Fahey. After a clear majority vote, the senate approved the club’s request.
Other new business for the senate included allocating funding to the Mountain Biking Club. This is the second time that the Mountain Biking Club has spoken before the senate this semester, as two weeks ago they received funding for their group rides and other activities.
“Everything is going well, our group rides have great attendance and our last group trips went really well,” said club treasurer Peter Riehl.
Riehl reported that despite their recent success, due to lack of attendance to a race over the past weekend, they are returning $543.02 to the senate and are asking for $2,100 for their next two trips.
“I would encourage the senate to amend the resolution to include a line stipulating that funding is contingent upon the Mountain Biking Club being in good standing with student life. That’s all I can really say about that but I would encourage the senate to do that,” said Kelly.
Mountain Biking Club speaker Peter Riehl asked for clarification on this and if their funding was going to be withheld before speaking with student life.
“As of right now you guys are in good standing with the university, there’s no real clean way to do that, that’s just a line in there for our protection, but this weekend you will be able to get your funding,” said Kelly.
After the period for debate the senate approved the allocation of $2,100 to the Mountain Bikinge Club.
There were also several nominations for committee roles during the meeting.
After Senator Jacob Chaplin resigned from his position on the Orono Town Council Liaison, the senate nominated Senator Sydney Bloom who accepted the nomination.
There were also many nominations for the Executive Budgetary Committee as there are four open positions.
“In the committee you can expect to learn a lot about the financial policies of the University of Maine Student Government Inc., as well as how non-profit finances work in general,” said Kelly, the head of the committee. “You’ll get to work closely with me and try to help all of the clubs on campus use their student activity fee in ways that are fulfilling and meaningful to the student body,” said Kelly.
Senators Kyle Ricker, Pam Allen, Michael Delorge and Connor Bray were all nominated for the position. Finalizations of the nominations will occur in a future meeting.
The senate plans to have all committees return to in-person activities starting Monday.