A Brief Look into the Numerous Clubs, Organizations, and On-Campus Resources USM has to Offer
Elizabeth Smith, Writer
On September 6, the Portland campus hosted its annual Husky Fest, an open event which hosts members from on-campus clubs and organizations to gather and engage with students to discuss on-campus programs and recruit prospective members for their groups. The Husky Fest is an event held each fall at USM which allows students to come together and learn about great campus initiatives to help them succeed in their academic, recreational, and career-oriented pursuits. Through this event, students get to share their college experiences and immerse themselves in some of the culture at USM. Offered in the fall, the Husky Fest is one way for incoming freshmen and transfer students to get a taste of the many opportunities that USM has to offer, as well as to familiarize themselves with campus life. During this event, students from across both the Portland and Gorham campuses gather together to get answers about aspects of school programs and resources, while also gleaning information about campus life from upperclassmen, students from different majors, and other on-duty staff. This year’s event boasted over fifties tables featuring USM’s numerous organizations, clubs, and resources. The event lasted three hours and featured a hot day with free food, music, and games. The Husky Fest has continued to prove a great way for the university to get the word out about on-campus, student-run initiatives.
While many of the organizations at the event were student-run and based, one entity wasn’t. This group, the Military-Affiliated Student Hub (MASH), which was previously called Veterans Services, sought to get the word out about the many opportunities that the university affords to student veterans, while offering a brief background on the other resources the organization offers. Katherine Reynolds, staff coordinator of MASH, gave a brief statement about the group: “Over the last ten years we’ve grown into a student hub that supports student veterans and service members and offers recourse centers on all three campuses. [We also offer] more wrap-around services than just the data side of certified benefits.” Additionally, the organization ensures that student veterans are “organizing their academic schedules to maximize their benefits [while] also working with academic advisors to make sure that everyone understands the nuance of the specific benefit that folks might be using.” According to Reynolds, the organization offers a vast array of resources – not just financial support: “one of the main things that we work with is the VA and other government agencies to make sure that students using military benefits [have all their paperwork] squared away.”
MASH is just one example of the many organizations across campus that offer a wide variety of resources, financial assistance, and exciting new student engagement opportunities to help either set students up for their future careers or boost their success as academic learners. These and numerous other organizations across USM’s three campuses are focused on providing the help that students need to succeed both in college and in life. USM wants students to know that the university community is there for them, all they need to do is ask.
Two other organizations present at the Husky Fest were the Women of Color group and the Mental Health Management group; these two organizations are aimed at providing minority groups and individuals dealing with mental health issues with a community to help them through the struggles of college life. These joint organizations – only established earlier this month as a sub-group of the ROCC – are poised to offer support and acceptance to women of color and function as a safe haven for those experiencing mental health issues of all levels. These two entities, while offered in the same vein, operate as separate and distinct groups united together in an effort to cultivate an inclusive family here at USM.
As one of the goals of the Women of Color organization, President Leola-Christine, a freshman, hopes to plan a trip to Atlanta Georgia for group members as a chance to build bonds and strengthen relationships within the group. As the youngest president, Leola is setting unprecedented records at USM.
To kick off the semester, the Women of Color and Mental Health Management groups plan to hold a “glow-in-the-dark basketball tournament” in which snacks, games, and conversation will be offered, says Mental Health Management President Shania Milano, a sophomore. This is the first of many group gatherings that the two groups hope to collaborate on.
Through the Husky Fest, campus groups like these have an opportunity to get the word out about the great opportunities that they offer to students of USM. This year’s fest proved successful in achieving this very end, acting as the initiation for this year’s wave of new members across USM’s clubs and organizations.