With the University of Maine student elections coming up in March, now is more important than ever to learn about ways to become involved in UMaine’s Student Government (UMSG). From the taco trucks seen on the mall to transportation for club sports, UMSG’s influence extends across campus, and all students should be aware of ways they can help advocate for their community.
UMSG helps govern student affairs through their financial affairs, student organizations, student entertainment, student senate and legal services committees. There are elected and hired positions and between 15-20 student senators that help meet weekly to discuss community and student interests.
Alyssa Caisullo will be running for president of UMSG, and Connor Bray and Peter Alexander will be running for vice president. Prior to official voting on March 9, a presidential debate will occur in the North Pod on March 2 at 5 p.m. Applications are still open for the UMSG clerk.
Any undergraduate student with at least a 2.0 GPA is welcome to apply to join the General Student Senate for next year. This is an incredible opportunity to build professional skills, promote student interests and make a direct influence on the distribution of student activity funding.
The current president, Zack Wyles, opened up about his experience working for UMSG on the Maine Campus’s podcast, Anecdote.
“We’re a non-profit 501c, and the university gives us a big donation that is the student activity fee. Then that activity fee is given to us, and we allocate it to several different purposes around campus. We take the student activity fee and give it back to the students,” Wyles said.
In their weekly meetings, senators gather and listen to various community members, boards and clubs and debate to decide the appropriate allocation of resources for the student body. These meetings are public, and attending them is a great way to learn more about current events and to vocalize your concerns or interests.
Applying for an elected or paid position or simply attending the weekly meetings are just some of the ways you can get involved in student government, but you can also connect directly with UMSG members via social media or email. Officers have their contact information listed on their website. As well, UMSG actively posts on their Instagram to keep students regularly informed.
After recovering from the logistical hardships they faced during COVID-19, UMSG is now focusing on interacting with the student body more and implementing academic changes. Some major projects they are currently working on are extending the add period to two weeks, initiating a dead week prior to finals with no assignments or exams and creating a syllabus bank to allow students to view a class’s syllabi prior to enrolling.
UMSG’s hard working team, organization and access to financial resources allows them to accomplish changes quickly and constantly strive for bettering UMaine. What is most important now is that they receive input from students in order to best understand which directions their initiatives should go.