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UMSG inauguration of President Tripp and Vice President Peterson

UMSG brought in new leadership April 16 with the official inauguration of Keegan Tripp and Memphis Peterson as next year’s President and Vice President. The ceremony was made full with friends, family, council, supporters and Dean Robert Dana alongside President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

Tripp served as Delorge’s vice president this academic year as a second-year student. In fall of 2024, he will return to take over for Delorge. 

“I want to deepen the sense of connectedness within this university community and improve our advocacy efforts on behalf of our fellow Black Bears and continue our work on holding campus leadership accountable to the principle of students first, and students last,” said Tripp.

Unlike past years, Tripp went into the spring election with a running mate, Memphis Peterson The two are transparent with their duties for next year. Tripp hopes to foster an external, friendly campaign with an implied open door policy wherein students and faculty alike can come to UMSG headquarters for questions, concerns or just a talk. 

“Running together we had a general shared vision, but definitely in practice we will be achieving our own initiatives,” Tripp said. “We have a two-pronged approach, the internal and external. I will be taking more of the external roles and initiatives.”

Tripp plans to spearhead three particular projects next year as Peterson focuses on behind-the-scenes tasks. Club storage has been an issue for the UMaine campus for years, resulting in minimal space for the thousands of dollars of equipment that carries an exhaustive liability. Tripp plans on finding a solution for this problem as well as two other main projects to help the student body. He hopes to hold town halls to connect administration directly to student concern and dealing with cross charging at the university for facility use.

A recurring topic at both the inauguration and in interviews with Tripp and Peterson was the contrast between past and present leadership. Dana and present senators all attest that since Delorge and Tripp took office last year, there has never been such significant improvement not only in the initiatives taken by UMSG but also regarding student involvement. 

“We have the most senators we have had in years, roughly 22, while last year our maximum was 15,” said Tripp. “We have a great group.” 

The inauguration this year was embedded with a new sense of positivity and connection. 

“This past year we ended up getting the best exec team we have ever had. My first two years in student government, I’m not afraid to say, was kind of a mess and pretty dull and not a lot of initiatives were taken up,” said Peterson. “Last year there were a lot of layers and subtext of that inauguration. It was a little awkward and a little anxious. Not because of the leadership coming in, but because of the leadership going out.”

Due to such a tumultuous history of student leadership, there is particular stress on transparency and accountability at UMSG as to avoid executive controversy of stagnation and resentment. That being said, Tripp encourages a more inclusive student government going forward. 

“We are more than a poli-sci club,” said Tripp. “We are a group of Black Bears trying to make the experience here better, and you do not have to want to run for the president of the United States to be here.” 

The curtains close on a successful year, bidding adieu to Delorge and inviting in Tripp and Peterson to take over the UMaine General Student Senate. 

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