Campus News

Behind Open Doors

By Stephen P. McCabe II and Leah Parrish

Hello, SMCC! Stephen Patrick McCabe II here again with an inside glimpse of what goes on in your student government here on campus. What a pleasant surprise I received when I said yes to the opportunity to sit in on a Student Senate meeting. Our Veterans Club president, Nathan Russell, invited me to come and see what goes on in the student government, seeing that I was so active with the Veterans Club and motivated to do more to be a part of the campus. I can say I am very happy that I took him up on that opportunity. I am now a Student Senator who meets with the rest of the student government and am trying to be a voice for the student body, those that we are meant to represent.

The Student Senate of Southern Maine Community College is your current student government on campus. In case you did not know, every single one of you is welcome to come and sit in on a meeting to see what goes on. However, if you don’t have the time, or you want an inside look before you make that decision, here is a brief glimpse into what goes on behind open doors at your Student Senate.

Senate meetings begin with Student Senate President Leah Parrish calling the meeting to order. The first order of business is to go over last week’s minutes for any errors and amend or approve them before beginning. The minutes are a summarized version of the prior proceedings, including how many Senators were present, what was discussed and the counts for each vote held. Next, each of the officers serving on the executive board gives a report of their actions in the prior week — starting with President Parrish, then moving on to Vice President Mariam Jabbar, and taking considerably extra time on Treasurer Anna Witthon.

Because the Student Senate is funded through the Activities Fee you pay at the beginning of each year, monetary delegation is one of the main functions of the Student Senate. A large portion of the Senate meeting is spent discussing whether or not to finance various events, clubs, activities, workshops, etc. with your money! (Our money, too, of course, as students!)

Following the typically lengthy debates about who gets how much money, Public Relations Secretary Joshua Parks and Director of Records William Chabot, as well as Advisors Herb Adams, Elizabeth Tharpe and Alex Matos, all speak their piece. Clubs get a chance to update the Senate about how they are doing, what they have done and what they would like to do. This makes it very easy to stay involved in so many things going on all over campus, because each of these organizations is often required to go through the Senate for funding.

After officers, advisors, committees and clubs have all had their chance to address the Senate, it comes time for new and different things that do not quite fall into the previous categories. Questions and ideas are discussed towards the end of the meeting in hope that some might be answered and addressed by the following week. At the end, during open floor, visitors are welcome to speak, and new or less relevant ideas are offered a place to be heard.

The Senate meets at 4:30 Tuesday evenings in Jewett Auditorium. Occasional off weeks will be hosted in Howe Hall conference room. Senate does a lot of stuff, like host gubernatorial candidate Alan Caron, get you registered to vote and even help your Business Club go to Wall Street. But it’s not nearly as intimidating as I was originally expecting! The people are friendly and serious about making the campus better. Everyone has a common goal, and it is to make our lives better, easier and more fun. There is definitely something for everyone at Student Senate. Not to mention it looks fantastic on a resume!

Categories: Campus News

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