On Feb. 28, Maine Campus Media interviewed University of Maine General Student Senator Keegan Tripp, who recently announced his candidacy for student body vice president. Tripp hopes to increase communication with the student body and build a stronger sense of campus community.
Tripp is a first-year student here at UMaine and is already in his second semester with the General Student Senate.
“By my third day of being on campus I had already turned in my 50 signatures needed for the seat,” Tripp said.
Tripp is very enthusiastic about student government and has been involved dating back to high school when he was student body president. Since coming to UMaine, Tripp has been elected as a student senator, as well as chair of the Policy and Procedure committee. This position is one of the more powerful in the student senate, as Tripp oversees any and all policy changes to the student constitution.
“[Policy and Procedure] primarily works on amending our founding documents. That’s our constitution, our standing rules and our financial policies,” Tripp said. “A lot of policy and procedure just consists of making amendments and answering questions during the senate meetings if anybody has a question about any of the standing rules or documents.”
Tripp explained he was never afraid to share his opinions and voice his thoughts in the past. “I think that [in] an institution which is made up of students, and exists because students go there, students should come first. I wanted to continue that journey up here at UMaine and continue to be a voice for not just myself as a concerned student, but also for those who maybe don’t want to put in the hours that I do to be part of student government. I really just wanted to fill that void and be that for people,” Tripp said.
After being asked what difference he could make as the student body vice president, Tripp said that he wants to bridge the gap between the student body, student government and administration. Tripp hopes to advocate for more student organizations more frequently and openly.
Tripp has a variety of goals if elected vice president, beginning with transparency, speaking to how little the Student Government posts to social media. Tripp wants to keep students informed on what is happening.
Tripp also seeks to bring a friendly face to student government that truly works for the student body.
“I want to bring back things that students care about. The campus feel is already kind of dull. I think that a lot of students feel as though this isn’t a campus that is as connected as they wanted it to be and I think that in turn falls onto us as student government. I want to hear directly from students on what they want to see so that we can provide those things,” Tripp said.
When discussing some of the issues that have taken place in the past year, Senator Tripp mentioned accountability.
“The Faculty Senate and the administration, as well as other bodies on campus, need to be held accountable for their transparency. We could talk for hours about Maine Day, but my biggest issue was it felt like the students were being put on the back burner and that’s something I believe is unacceptable. [Administration] should be coming to us first. It should be a relationship where we don’t have to beg and scream until they listen. It should be a two-way door and I think that that needs to be improved on,” Tripp said.
Tripp plans on being a member of the student senate for quite a while and is already beginning to work on long-term plans such as a syllabus bank, which would display the most recent syllabus for each class offered in a given semester, as well as potentially picking up the dead week proposal.
Finally, Tripp encouraged all students to make their voices heard and vote in this upcoming election.
“I urge all students, whether you’re going to vote for me or not, to get out and vote because this is super important. Check out the candidates. Make sure you’re making an educated vote and just keep in mind that these are the people who will be your voice to the administration,” Tripp said.
If you have any questions about Senator Tripp’s campaign, please feel free to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep up with Senator Tripp’s campaign on instagram at @Keegan4VP.