On Tuesday, March 1, the University of Maine General Student Senate (GSS) invited the Vice President for Student Life and Inclusive Excellence and Dean of Students at UMaine, Robert Dana, to address the GSS. Dana spoke to the senate about the importance of inclusivity and their commitment to it.
“Inclusivity has got to drive itself through here,” Dana said. “As student leaders, you can’t be bystanders in this respect, you have to be flying the flag every day to do the right thing.”
With the conclusion of Black History Month and moving into Women’s History Month, Dana encouraged the student senate to look at what they can do within the community to not just celebrate and encourage inclusivity for a certain month but every day of their lives.
“We should really spend some time thinking about the corpus of who we are in the world, so every day we can do something to make it better,” Dana said. “By being here and being willing to put your name on the dotted line, you’ve already indicated that you’re compassionate citizens, that you’re engaged and that you believe in somebody other than yourself.”
Dana hopes to see the members of the student senate continue to work toward making campus and the world a more inclusive place as student leaders of this campus.
“For me to come to speak to the senate is a great thrill, to see you all is a wonder,” Dana said. “You get me to reflect on what’s really happening with students… I do hope that you’ll spend a moment before you fall asleep to think about the difference you’re making in the world.”
The senate also spoke to two student groups both requesting preliminary recognitions. Two representatives from the Earthlings Club came to talk about their goals as a potential club.
“UMaine Earthlings is an animal rights club that we recently started, and at this point we have 14 maybe 15 members which is really exciting,” the club representative said. “We want to do some basic awareness around the issues of animal rights and do direct action in the forms of building relationships with a nearby sanctuary.”
Senator Camryn Hamill gave her thoughts on the club.
“I think the Earthlings is a really unique club that the campus would benefit from having, they’re unique in their concept and I really like it,” Hamill said.
After a majority vote, the senate approved the request for preliminary recognition.
The senate also spoke with a representative from National Society of Black Engineers also seeking preliminary recognition.
“Our club is a community of BIPOC STEM students to share frustrations, interests and highlights of their week in a safe space,” Nehemia Calixte said, the President of the National Society of Black Engineers. “Typically when we walk into a classroom, we don’t see anyone who looks like us, so it’s nice to have a small community on campus that shares the same goals and interests as you.”
Senator Hamill also spoke on this request.
“As a predominantly white institution, I think this is a really important group to have on campus,” Hamill said.
After a clear majority vote, the request was passed by the senate.
The senate also discussed the return of the Maine Day concert. They have officially secured a headliner though they have yet to release the name of the performer.
“We as a senate are all going to be expected to be volunteering at the concert,” Dylan Taplin said, UMSG’s Vice President for Student Entertainment. “We are really short on police officers this year, so security and crowd control is going to all come down to private security and us.”
Taplin revealed that there are only six police officers available for the event as opposed to having around 12 in past years. According to Taplin, the GSS will undergo crowd control training to prepare for the concert.
The senate has yet to reveal when they will announce the headliner for the concert.
The senate concluded their meeting with platform speeches in which each student running for executive positions in the upcoming student government election spoke in front of the senate.
Currently running for president of UMSG is the current Vice President for Student Leadership Alyssa Ciasullo. Running for vice president is Peter Alexander alongside Ciasullo and senator Connor Bray. The election is on Wednesday, March 9, and students will be receiving a link sent to their email to cast their votes.