By: Maverick Lynes, Staff Writer
Friday, Sept. 15, the 46th student senate held their first meeting in Upton Hastings on the Gorham campus. The meeting began with introductions and the senate could not make it through that without the first awkward moment.
Shaman Kirkland stated how his “fun fact” about himself was that he, “got food poisoning from the Sodexo food.” Kirkland shortly thereafter realized he was sitting in front of the General Manager for Sodexo, who happened to be there to give a short presentation and to take questions from the Student Government Association (SGA).
Luckily for Kirkland, his time for redemption would come later when he had a chance to ask a question regarding the safety of Sodexo food. Kirkland was potentially in search of justice for himself, or for the student body who have had their own concerns in terms of Sodexo. The general manager responded, “We do take food and safety very seriously.”
The highlight of the meeting surrounded the movement inside the senate, whether it was new senators joining or incumbent senators moving to new positions. The student senate welcomed a new face at the table, Zach Tidd. After sharing more about himself and his interest in the SGA, the current senators shared a vote in which it was unanimous to accept Tidd into the selective senate. Though he admitted to lacking student government and political experience, his history with the men’s lacrosse team adds a new athletic demographic that the senate was previously lacking.
Next on the agenda was the vacancy for the Representative to Faculty Senate. Freshman Trevor Houstus raised his hand in hopes to fill this position. Houstus was appointed.
With one more unfilled position, Joseph Menard stepped up to be the new Representative to Selection Committee. Menard explained that he is happy to represent the student body in this position.
Following the appointment of the new representatives, Muna Adan, student senate chair, read aloud the resignation letter of the now former vice chair, Rudolph Da Rocha. Da Rocha claimed his reason for stepping down was due to a heavy schedule which took away the ability to make it to the senate’s weekly Friday meetings.
With that there were two nominees who emerged from the senators: Aaron Pierce, who currently holds the Student Public Relations Committee Chair, and the just-appointed Houstus. Both were given a chance to speak to the senate in hopes to fill the uninhabited chair.
Pierce spoke first. “I feel very passionate about the student senate,” said Pierce. He believed in his ability to be the new vice chair. As Pierce made his remarks he emphasized his experience with the senate as a strong suit.
Next Houstus addressed the senate. He mentioned how even though the senate may see his lack of SGA experience as a downfall, it would not hinder his ability. Houstus said that he would bring enthusiasm and hard work to the position. Adan questioned the candidates about the potential time commitment being difficult for a first year student. Though Houstus admitted to having a busy schedule, he ensured the senators of his competence when he said, “I can meet every single requirement with determination.”
After both nominees spoke, the decision was up to the remaining senate members. The current senators were clearly impressed with Houstus and his passion toward the senate. Treasurer Jeffrey Ahlquist, who is the longest sitting member on the senate, added that Houstus was, “A breath of fresh air.” Ahlquist admitted to rescinding his nomination because he felt that Houstus was more qualified. Cases were made for both nominees prior to the proceeding of the blind vote.
After the blind vote it was Houstus who came out on top. The freshman was met with applause upon reentering the room following the vote. Houstus changed from his original seat to the one directly next to the Chair at Large, held by Adan.
Within a couple hours the first year SGA member added two new titles to his name, Representative of Faculty Senate and Vice Chair. Once Houstus was appointed to the position it was clear that this freshman was not playing around. In the first meeting Houstus made a splash equivalent to a killer whale at SeaWorld and all student senate members were in the splash zone.