Meet the Student Body President Candidates

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Three USM students are running for Student Body President in this week’s elections, running from April 8 through 11.

Shaman Kirkland

Photo by Ian Beckett, Staff Photographer

Junior, political science major
My main priority is to educate and inspire students to join me in creating positive change for USM. This will be accomplished through seven major projects and my continued communication with and support of fellow students. My secondary priority is to work with members of the larger community to provide support and education, especially staff and faculty at the university.
I believe the most needed thing at USM is connection. We have a great amount of resources that aren’t utilized and a great number of people who could be brought together. This unity would allow success in major efforts such as food quality/availability, educational opportunity, recreation through concerts/events and creating a stronger community.
I will focus on seven major projects, most of which I’ve already begun. 1.) Establishing internships, which I hope to provide funding for so they’re paid. 2.) Addressing food issues by reducing food waste, providing for food insecure students (in a way that respects student’s dignity and privacy) and working with Sodexo to improve quality. 3.) Creating community discussions to help students address abuse, trauma, conflict, stress and issues in the community. 4.) Connecting USM with the rest of America and the world, primarily by bringing a Nobel Peace Laureate here. 5.) Addressing environmental issues and creating a more sustainable USM. 6.) Reforming the Student Government so it is more effective and efficient. 7.) Providing students with leadership opportunities and personally working with them as a friend, supporter and representative to improve their USM experience.
I’m from rural Pennsylvania and have been living in Maine for 3 years; I plan to stay.
I will add experience, kindness, support and effective leadership to the SGA.
I fully operated a business at age 15, managed and won a campaign by double digits, served as Senate Chair and as Field Director for the Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine at 19. I’ve been personally mentored by three Nobel Peace Laureates and am part of a national coalition to prevent gun violence. I’ve worked roughly 40 jobs since the age of nine.
I have the most work experience and have given a speech to 10,000 people.
I know all of my opponents personal and have a great deal of respect for them. I feel they are all intelligent and capable individuals, who I hope to work with should I win.

Trevor Hustus
Sophomore, political science major

Photo Courtesy of Trevor Hustus

Hello Huskies! My name is Trevor Hustus, your candidate for Student Body President. As your president it will be a great honor to serve as the voice of the students here at USM. My goals for the upcoming year consist of the following: to relieve the parking shortage in the short-term until parking can be expanded; to bring Student Legal Services onto campus to provide students with free legal advice in cooperation with the Law School; and to encourage greater cooperation between the students, faculty, and administration at USM. I am going into my third year at USM as a political science student. I’ve lived in the Greater Portland area my entire life and absolutely love the area. As for qualifications, I have significant experience at USM, serving on the Student Senate as a Senator and Chairperson, serving as a member of the USM Board of Visitors, and serving on the USM Facilities Master Plan Committee. I was also appointed by the Governor of Maine to the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. As a Trustee, I serve on the Academic & Student Affairs Committee, the Human Resources & Labor Relations Committee, and the Investment Committee, all in an effort to support our campuses and our students. I’d say what sets me apart from my fellow candidates is the experience I’ve accumulated throughout my time at USM and the relationships I’ve been able to forge at all levels of the Institution. USM is truly a special place, with great faculty and great students all working together. It would be an honor to serve as your Student Body President, thank you for your vote.

Averi Varney
Sophomore, political science major

Photo by Dionne Smith, Director of Photography

Main priorities
I have several priorities at the moment. First of all, my priorities are with student concerns. I feel that there’s several issues current USM students are raising such as issues with Sodexo and food quality, the cleanliness of facilities due to the lack of janitors, campus safety concerns (i.e. lack of lighting, emergency posts that don’t work, and issues with hate speech on campus), parking, an overcrowded metro, accessibility on campus, particularly in the white houses and Robie. I know the university is aware of the majority of these issues but I would like to do my best to speed along the process of addressing these problems. Additionally, sustainability on campus is a major priority. I would like to work with the university and other student groups to see what the Student Government Association can be doing to make our campus more environmentally sustainable.

Needed changes on campus
I feel there are many needed changes on campus but I believe we need to start with communication. There seems to be a disconnect between the university and its students when it comes to decision making and the explanation their reasoning. In addition, it was brought to my attention that students are having trouble finding student groups they’re interested in and many student groups are unable to find those who want to join them. I’d like to work advising, student affairs and other departments to improve the visibility of these groups.

What will you add to the SGA?
I believe I can add a voice of reason and a different opinion to the SGA. After working extensively with the Senate, I know that often we’ve got caught up with our own beliefs and needed an outside voice to remind us what students want and need. I think the SGA desperately needs someone to be there constantly reminding them of that. Additionally, I think the position of Student Body President and Vice-President needs motivated individuals to follow through with new and previous projects that might otherwise be forgotten.

Why are you qualified for the position?
I believe I am qualified for this position because, like the other candidates, I’m the former chair of the Student Senate. I have learned a lot from my experience as chair, it has taught me leadership skills and I’ve developed close working relationships with many people within the university. Melissa is also currently the student body vice-president therefore she has experience with the position.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?
There are a few things that set me apart from the other candidates but the most important is my focus on student concerns. Melissa, my hopeful vice-president, and I have talked with students extensively about their issues. I believe we may have a very good understanding of what students need and could do best for them. We’re able to work well with the necessary people to get things done.

What is one positive thing about the people you are running against?
I’ve worked personally with Shaman and Trevor and I think they are both very intelligent, hard working leaders with a great ability to get things done. Shaman has a great ability to think outside of the box, I think he could come up with many ideas for events on campus that give students a voice. I’ve worked closely with Trevor when he was the chair of the Senate. He’s had to make many difficult decisions that have resulted in great improvements to the Student Government. I highly respect both of these individuals and I hope them the best in this race.

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