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The General Student Senate hears platform speeches from executive candidates

On Tuesday, March 7, the General Student Senate (GSS) discussed upcoming events and heard platform speeches from executive candidates. The student government election will take place on Wednesday, March 22.

Senator Cameron Nelson resigned as student senator.

The lone presidential candidate, Michael Delorge, delivered his speech first.

“I am running on a platform that strengthens the student experience and students’ voices. Our campaign focuses on mental health and campus connection,” Delorge said. “Together, we hope to strengthen mental health services by furthering our collaboration with the UMaine counseling center.”

Delorge also discussed providing clubs with fair elections and developing closer relationships with adminstration.

The first candidate for vice president, Kaitlyn Sterner, discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted students’ attendance for school events. As a result, Sterner hopes that student government can enrich the college experience. She also hopes to increase transparency and communication as much as possible.

The second candidate for vice president, Yeshayahou Kuptchik, focused on diversity inclusion and accessibility.

“The student body needs an individual who is fair, unbiased and open to everyone, and I hope to be that voice. I hope to foster an environment that encourages diversity from all corners. This includes encouraging involvement of all students, from all communities and beliefs. I plan on using this opportunity to further encourage student involvement within different organizations on campus including our very own,” Kuptchik said.

The third candidate for vice president, Keegan Tripp, mentioned how students need to be the center of the campus, and student government is the bridge that can connect administration and the student body. Similar to other candidates, Tripp discussed the much-needed transparency.

“Transparency requires not just us going to them, but then in turn them coming to us, and in that regard we must hold them accountable. I want to see an event each semester, so that students can put faces to those who are representing them,” Tripp said. “I want students to feel like they can come to us with anything campus related. As vice president, I will make myself as accessible as humanly possible to the students. Opening the blinds, both literally and figuratively.”

The campaign for fourth and final candidate for vice president, Kyle Ricker, also focused on transparency between student government and the rest of the UMaine campus.

“My plan is to upload all public portions of student senate meetings to YouTube, and use the UMSG instagram to show what the student activity fee is being used for on a weekly basis. I would also like to reach out to all clubs and communities on campus and listen to what they would like to see from the student government,” Ricker said. “If elected, I will be working on a few other initiatives as well. I want to expand the add/drop period to two weeks, continue working on creating a syllabus bank and work on revitalizing Lengyel Field. In addition to this, I will be cutting my own pay. I believe that the student activity fee should be going back to the student and not just in someone’s pocket.”

GSS President Connor Bray gave his executive report detailing his meeting with the Student Alumni Association board, as well as his goal of setting up webinars for future senate meetings for more transparency.

Delorge reported that the UMSG Student survey is live and students are requested to take it.

VPFA Paige Allen reported that there is $67,036 remaining in unallocated funds.

Student government advisor Lauri Sidelko reported that student wellness is hosting a wellness advisory meeting this month where they will begin narcan training.

Director of Communications Hope Bifulco reported that she met with Delorge regarding the raising of the student activity fee. They plan to create an awareness campaign with executives from many clubs and organizations around campus about how the student activity fee is used.

Following a five-minute recess the senate approved the consent agenda, which consisted of $600 to Maine Masque, $45.19 to Aquaculture Club, $44 to Permaculture and Gardening Club and $850 to the American Society of Engineers.

Lastly, the senate began the process of electing a new representative to the Graduate Student Senate. Senator Tristan Friend was elected as all other senators nominated respectfully rescinded their nominations.

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