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UMSG convenes for final meeting of the 2023-24 academic year

The University of Maine Student Government met on April 23 to grant three clubs preliminary recognition, announce end-of-semester events and send off graduating members. 

Club Maintenance:

Fiber Arts Club was granted preliminary recognition. The club is for students who knit and crochet to come together every Friday at 2 p.m. in Colvin Hall. Ten to 15 members regularly attend meetings. They are currently creating a quilt for donation, fundraising or raffles.

Ballet Club was granted preliminary recognition. Members meet every Sunday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Dancers involved will perform on April 25, 26 and 27 at the Student Showcase, brought by the School of Performing Arts. Ballet club doubled its members from 20 to 40 people since the last showcase. 

Dressage Club was granted preliminary recognition. Dressage is a discipline of riding not currently offered at UMaine that differs from the Drill and Equestrian Teams. The club ran for 19 years pre-pandemic and currently uses the same trainer as before at Pucker Brush in Newburg, ME. Dressage accepts complete beginners and hopes to access future funding. Members pay semesterly dues of $10 or $50 to compete out-of-state. 

Guest Speaker: 

Student Body President Michael Delorge delivered a farewell speech to conclude his four years as a member of UMSG. Delorge took time to thank specific individuals who have taught him important lessons and described what the organization means to him. 

Delorge described his immense pride for all that has been accomplished by UMSG in recent years. Specifically, advocating for better campus dining, supporting the Student Symposium, reforming election policies from one day to one week, updating hiring questions and job descriptions, securing storage for outdoor clubs and enacting financial support to cover pay-to-play fees.

“We’ve negotiated new contracts, solidified relationships with administrators, modernized our organization for the future and we passed the annual budget. We’ve done so much this year and this is just a small list of the things we’ve accomplished that we’ve put down on paper,” said Delorge.

As a freshman, Delorge had no intention of being student body president, a role that represents the interests of 9000 students. He joined alongside Vice President for Student Leadership Jacob Chaplin in the fall of 2020, when COVID-19 was at its peak. He explained that he has grown significantly with the UMSG since it emerged from the pandemic. According to Delorge, meetings were held in Neville Hall with about one-third of the current senators and everyone was spaced out six seats apart.

“Value this experience in student government and in anything that you surround yourself with because if there is only one piece of advice you can give to a college student, it is to get involved,” Delorge said. “We are in a unique position as a non-profit where we’re run by students for students. If anyone ever has a frustration with anything we do, they can get involved. We still have open seats on Senate.”

Executive Reports:

Vice President Keegan Tripp, Board of Trustees Representative (BoT) Olivia Britton and Delorge met with the UMaine System (UMS)  BoT Chairwoman Trish Riley. They had a productive conversation, sharing goals for the future in terms of student relations with the Board. 

Tripp discussed the Student Trustees situation, as the nominees were not accepted by the Maine Governor’s office. He seeks to improve relations between trustees and students. According to Tripp, the Spring Survey, released on April 18, is going well and closes on May 1. He will share an official report to current senators and put the information into a presentation for next semester. 

Paige Allen, vice president for financial affairs, is currently training her replacement. She hosted a budget Q & A with Dean Robert Dana and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Sparks on April 25. 

Vice President for Student Organizations Julian Ober shared that the club forms she created with the Center for Student Involvement are officially active on Campus Groups.

Chaplin announced that there were over 70 volunteers at the campus cleanup. UMSG collaborated with Student Wellness on April 25, hosting an event for students to build finals survival kits, make stress balls, and paint pill bottles.

Representative of Military and Veteran Student Affairs Cynthia Shelmerdine was awarded 2024 Emerging Senator of the Year. Center for the Undergraduate Research Liaison Joshua Bohm was awarded Senator of the Year. 

Periodic Reports:

Britton went in-depth as to what occurred after names were submitted for the student BoT positions. They did not meet requirements for various reasons. One of which being that the bylaws state that no two appointees can be members of the same UMaine System campus. Members of the Student Trustee recommendation committee were not made aware of the concerns before the window in the state legislature to confirm them closed.

In lieu of appointing them on the board, student representatives are chosen to be voice without an official vote. Applications will re-open to fill the position. Selected names must be ready for the fall in case there is a special session of the legislature. If there is not, the students will likely be approved in January. 

Britton is putting together a newsletter of student concerns and thoughts to share important information with the BoT. This September, every trustee will be paired with a student and walk to the dining hall to eat dinner together as opposed to attending a board dinner the evening before the regular meeting.

Academic Affairs Chair Meredyth Waters met with Associate Provost John Volin on April 18. They discussed fixing degree progress reports and adding a forum for students to report errors. The first one to be fixed is within the Computer Science department. Waters also shared that there was a 6% increase in GPA for first-year students last semester. 

Nate Feng, food and dining committee chair, announced that the UCook station at Hilltop Dining will be card access only for students with allergies.

The Student Heritage Alliance Council changed its Multicultural Formal date from April 20 to April 27 at the Buchanan Alumni House. 

Wilde Stein will hold its Lavender Graduation on April 26 from 3 to 5 p.m. Rainbow cords are available for graduating students who identify as LGBTQ+. 

New Business (Applies Fiscal Year 2025): 

An act to allocate $5,000 to UMSG toward the club storage project was passed. As of now, they intend to expand upon storage units, as the campus cannot commit to extra space due to ongoing renovations. The storage units will serve as a middle ground between a long-term and short-term solution. UMSG plans to use the funding to purchase a block of them for reduced cost. Tripp may develop a level system to determine which clubs need an entire storage unit. Shelves and totes for clubs that need to store smaller items should also be available.

An act to allocate $1,700 to Sigma Phi Epsilon was passed as amended to cover its Concert for Consent on Aug. 30 in the Freshman Quad. $500 will cover the cost of DJ TidBit, $200 will cover promotional materials (amended from $500), $500 will cover food services and $500 will cover sound equipment. Title IX and Rape Response Services will table at the event.

An act to allocate $4,600 to UMSG Services was passed to address the need for student transportation to and from campus throughout the 2024-25 academic year. $4,500 will cover Concord Coach Certificates, and $100 will cover ticket printing fees. 

An act to allocate $4,700 to UMSG for the Student Legal Conflict Funds was passed. $1,200 will go toward the legal consultation fund and $3,500 will go toward the legal representation fund.

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