By Jessica Pike, Staff Writer
Winter break brought many changes to the Student Senate at USM. Some members resigned, while others stepped up to new roles and making way for possible new member applications and position openings.
Taking over for Averi Varney as Chair of the Student Senate is Jamie Phillips. Other Senate members include Alex Holderith, as Vice Chair, David Reed as Treasurer, Berkeley Elias as Senate Clerk and Tyler Soucy as Parliamentarian. The Student Senate website lists 14 students in the current Senate, with seven vacant spots.
In the executive branch of the student government, Katelyn Seavey will continue this semester as Student Body President, with Melissa Shepherd as Vice President. Nathan Carlow stands as student representative to the Board of Trustees.
A big part of USM is the Student Government Association (SGA) that is made up of students from different years to help the school run more smoothly. The SGA is composed up of different committees that hold different responsibilities, such as The Student Body Presidents Office, The Gorham Campus Activities Board, The Outdoor Adventures Board, and more which they help to fund or receive funding.
There are several committees within the SGA, with members ranging from four to six people per group. Each have a different task to help USM run more smoothly and procure funding. Currently, Reed and the Special Committee on Information and Outreach (SCIO) is working on trying to invite educational and fairly known non-controversial speakers onto campus. An example given by Reed was Stephen King, albeit an ambitious one, he said.
SCIO was created by Alex Holderith and the SGA to assist in trying to get more speakers on campus and bring recommendations for public speakers that can benefit USM.
Reed is also working on a new electronic submission form for the Senate to make it more user friendly, accessible, and to be able to gather information easier.
Another main goal for the upcoming semester, Reed said, is to improve outreach and electronic availability of the SGA. They will be working to spread the word to more students and raise awareness. Reed also hopes to try and educate the sub-groups of the SGA on financial policies and how to play by the rules so there are no oversights, he said.
For Shepherd, she is focusing on sustainability on campus and dealing with anything else that pops up throughout the semester.
There are no concrete plans for the SGA going forward as of yet, but after the Student Senate meeting on Feb. 1, there will be more to come, including new members. There may also be an upcoming public debate or forum, an idea currently being brainstormed by various members, but no concrete details have been announced. As of right now, Reed said, the SGA is mostly dealing with finances for their different entities and getting budgets in on time, before Feb. 15, which will keep the gears turning and support an unwrinkled school government.
**Correction: Reed said “non-controversial speakers” and not “controversial speakers”