…then this should be it. What am I talking about? “Change ’08!: Students Taking Action for USM’s Future.” On Friday February 29, the USM Leadership Development Board (LDB) in cooperation with the Greek Women’s Council, Inter-fraternity Council, Residential Life, Student Government Association, Student Athlete Advisory Council and many others will be converging on Bailey Hall in Gorham to put on and participate in a day-long summit called “Change ’08!”. The focus of the summit will be to discuss and make action-plans to change some of the biggest issues facing USM’s student body. Issues like the geographic and ideological divide between Lewiston/Auburn College and the Portland-Gorham campuses; lack of apparent school pride; lack of a united USM community; lack of student involvement/leadership.

Why should you care? Let me put it to you this way. If there was one thing you could do, one event this year that you could attend and participate in that could seriously change the student experience at USM, this is far and away that event. “Change ’08!” will be unique, in that it will not be a day-long summit of complaint. Instead, it will be a day where the issues brought forth will be discussed, and then action plans will be created in order to correct those issues.

How will this be accomplished? The day will conclude with a listening panel, which will be made up of key administrators (including interimPresident Joe Wood), and faculty and staff members who have a serious impact on student and university life. The results of each breakout group and the action plans they create will be presented to the listening panel so that they can better understand what students at USM see as major issues and the steps they feel should be taken to correct them.

So far, the LDB has been able to muster serious administrative support for the conference, and the listening panel is being stacked with eager administrators, staff and faculty. We, as the student body of the University of Southern Maine, have to be equally, if not more so, bought into the conference and its potential to create change at USM. USM, I implore you to attend “Change 08!,” to take one Friday to make your opinions known, to make your ideas heard and to create change at USM. The agenda, the direction and the results of this summit will come from us and us alone. Here is your opportunity, don’t let it slip by. Join me and many of your fellow students in making “Change ’08!” a success.

If you would like to be part of making the agenda, e-mail [email protected], and tell what you like or love about USM; the top three challenges that you see USM facing; and how you could see yourself involved in creating change. For more information about how you can be part of “Change ’08!”, visit the website at www.usm.maine.edu/studentlife/change’08. You don’t have to attend the entire day to be part of “Change ’08!”. Please go to the website to see how you can have your opinions and ideas heard. Thank you.

All the best,

AJ Chalifour

Student Body President

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