USM President Selma Botman followed through on a promise that she made in a campus-wide email, and held her first informal lunch meeting with students last Tuesday in the Woodbury Campus Center.

At the lunch, Botman provided some insight to students in attendance regarding her plans for the future of USM.

Though well-received by all who attended, at least one student had a difficult time finding the event and mentioned that it could have used more publicity and advertising.

Botman started by giving students her general outline of where she wants to take the university.

In response to a student’s question about the direction of the university over the next five years, Botman said “we have to become more focused, more streamlined, and more mission driven.”

Elaborating on exactly how she would do that, she added, “I want to work harder to become more student-focused so that a student has the support and help he or she needs from the time they come to the university right through graduation.”

The discussion quickly moved to the next topic which happened to be the changing role of future student demographics.

“I think that a comprehensive regional university like USM has to welcome students of all kinds,” said Botman in response to a question from student Sara Montegut, who asked what demographic she plans to attract to USM.

Montegut also wanted to know if Botman was going to focus on attracting traditional or non-traditional students.

“For me, it’s not a dichotomy between the traditional students and non-traditional students because increasingly, the non-traditional students are the traditional students,” said Botman.

Even though the email invitation sent by Botman was delivered to the entire student body, just a hand full of students attended the event.

Karine Odlin. a USM student, attributed the low turn out to a difficulty finding the meeting table in the crowded campus center. She said she would have “made it more obvious that the meeting was taking place.”

Odlin also added that “a bigger sign would have helped,” instead of the ‘reserved’ card placed at the table before the event started.

She offered these comments as improvements for the next lunch meeting, which she plans to attend.

In spite of the kinks in the first meeting, the lunch was generally well received by Odlin, who said “overall I appreciated the effort she made.”

The student lunch session in the Woodbury Campus Center and dinner session in the Brooks Student Center were just the first in a series being held on the first Tuesday of each month between now and the end of the semester. If you would like to attend the sessions, you can register for planning purposes at:


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