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The General Student Senate hosts discussion with former UMSG President Brian Harris


On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the General Student Senate temporarily moved their weekly senate meeting to Bennett Hall to speak with the former University of Maine Student Government President Brian Harris. 

Harris served as the UMSG president from 2009 to 2010, and talked to the current senate about how his role as president impacted his future endeavours. 

Harris is a co-founder and CEO of MedRhythms, a neuro-rehab company that helps people recover from brain injuries through music and sensory technology. 

“The lessons that I learned while I was sitting in those chairs that you’re sitting in now was a direct connection and certainly a transformational time for me to give me the skills necessary to be in the role that I’m in now as a co-founder and CEO,” Harris said. 

Harris talked about how his leadership role in the student senate at UMaine gave him his first experience in managing a budget, managing people and understanding the power of relationships. 

“You certainly have your mission and your mandates but you’re not only influencing each other, but you’re also influencing your peers around you and being advocates for your peers to enact change,” Harris said. 

Harris also talked about how the connections he made at UMaine have stuck with him since he graduated almost 11 years ago. 

“The UMaine connection runs strong and runs deep,” Harris said. “UMaine blue runs deep, and those leaders on campus became the leaders of their communities and we’ve stayed connected so it’s a pretty incredible bond.” 

The senate also had some club maintenance to take care of during their meeting. A representative from Circle K was present to seek their final recognition from the senate. 

“We are a community service organization here on campus and we are here to try to get some more funding so we can do more community service projects, and overall help the community around us in Orono and around the whole country,” said Maxwell Rich, the secretary of Circle K. 

According to Rich, they have plans to do a de-stressing event during finals week and currently are trying to get word out about their club across campus. 

After a majority vote, the club received final recognition. 

There was also a representative from the American Sign Language Club also seeking recognition. 

“Our mission is to spread awareness about deaf history and culture and make campus more deaf friendly by getting members familiar and excited about the language,” the President of 

American Sign Language Club Morgan Oehler said. 

They currently have around 15 members, and next semester they hope to get started on putting together some fundraisers.

After a majority vote, the club received final recognition from the senate. 

The senate also heard from a new club seeking recognition. A representative from the new Ski and Snowboard Club was present. 

“We just started up around November 1st, and we are officially 100 members strong as of today,” Kyle Gallas the president of Ski and Snowboarding Club said. “We are a club that wants to incorporate skiers and snowboarders and anybody who wants to participate.” 

According to Gallas, the mission of the club is to get people outside to enjoy the winter weather and the colder months. 

After a majority vote, the club received their preliminary recognition and now need to move forward to the final step, receiving final recognition, before becoming a fully recognized university club by the student government. 

On the agenda was also a request to allocate funds to the Men’s Club Volleyball that recently received their final recognition from the senate. 

“We are just a group of guys who want to play volleyball competitively,” the club President Noah Bourussa said. “We have to pay dues to the New England Collegiate Volleyball league who places us into three different tournaments and that is the biggest amount of money we need because their dues are expensive.”

The club was requesting $2,000 to cover their dues and any equipment or travel expenses required. 

After a clear majority vote, the club received their funding request. 

There were some updates from members of the senate, including a new program making its way to campus. 

“I met with Colleen Frazier, Jenny Desmond and Vice President Lewis to turn the UMSG Mentor Program into the Students Organization Success Coaches,” the Vice President of Student Leadership Alyssandra Ciassulo said. “The new program will assign a success coach to each student organization. Please let me know if you have any questions about the new program.”

The interfraternity council representative also announced that Conor Foley is the newly elected president and will be taking over next semester. There will also be Panhellenic election results concluding this week to elect a new president for next semester. 

The senate moved into executive session for the closing of their meeting which means any general public were dismissed from the meeting. 

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