At long last, the endless Vermont winter has succumbed to a beautiful and much anticipated spring. This means though, that the 2015-16 year is also coming to a close, and plans are in the works for next year. This winter may have felt like it dragged on forever, but looking back, this year has absolutely sped by. As we start to look ahead for next year, we decided that this would be a good time to get acquainted with UVM’s new student body President, Jason Maulucci. Thanks to everyone who participated in SGA elections, Jason and his Vice President Tyler were voted into office a few months ago. This past week we had the pleasure of interviewing them to learn a little more about who these guys are and what their plans are for the year ahead.
Why did you want to be the student President and Vice President?
Tyler and I care deeply about UVM. The Student Government has the ability to profoundly enhance the student experience at the University. We believed that we were in a position in which we could make significant improvements on behalf of the student body. We are incredibly grateful, and excited by the opportunity that has been given to us by our peers!
What campus event are you looking forward to attending this Spring?
Spring Fest is always an opportunity to have a great time with so many fellow students. This year I’m looking forward to the experience, with my fingers crossed for great weather!
What is your favorite campus event that you’ve attended in the past?
There’s nothing better than free cone day from Ben & Jerry’s!
What do you most enjoy about living in Burlington?
Lake Champlain is by far my favorite part about Burlington (when it’s warm). Unfortunately, however, I spend the entire month of September down at North beach when I should probably be spending a little more time on school!
What are you studying?
Economics & Political Science
Tyler and I are both from Connecticut and huge sports fans. Unfortunately, however, he supports all of the wrong teams. I’m an avid Boston fan growing up watching the Sox, Pats, Celtics and Bs. He lives the miserable life of a Jets fan! There will be no shortage of sports-related tension in our office this summer as the Red Sox and Yankees battle for the top position in the AL East!
To find out more about Jason and Tyler’s platforms, read their plans for their tenure in office below:
- The student body would be greatly serviced by a centralized advising center in which students would seek counsel from professionals regarding their specialized and unique advising needs. This center would act as a supplement to the current faculty advising system. Conversations have already begun between students, faculty and administration, who recognize the value of its potential creation.
- In addition to professional and faculty advising, students also recognize the tremendous value of peer advising. Hearing from older students within one’s field of study is critical in order to hear a perspective from people who have recently experienced a similar path to the one in which a younger student is preparing to travel. I am preparing to launch an SGA-led initiative in which we work with Deans and department chairs to identify experienced students who would improve the advising experience for fellow students. The Student Government would provide a setting for the selected peer advisors to meet students interested in utilizing the new resource. Several Student Government recognized clubs already perform a similar function, including the CEMS Club and Pre-Vet Club. Our goal is to profoundly broaden, organize and standardize a system that provides essential services to students, from students.
Student Government President’s Advisory Committee
- As President, I will regularly convene a team of student leaders from across campus to provide a forum to discuss ways of improving the student experience. This group will not primarily be comprised of SGA members, but rather, those of other student groups including IRA, the Ski and Snowboard Club, Fraternity and Sorority life and more. It is my hope that in addition to our regular internal meetings, as a group we will be able to discuss certain topics with UVM administration regularly throughout each semester. It is important that the President of SGA is transparent and inclusive when representing the undergraduate student body. This committee will allow for me to hear from a diverse group who bring a unique point of view to the table and present on issues impacting those more distant from the SGA. It will, I believe, provide that inclusive environment towards which we must strive.
Student Relations with the Burlington Community
- The city of Burlington has long been one of the greatest and most talked about advantages to the location of UVM. It is sometimes evident that there is a lack of dialog and community between UVM students and long-term residents of Burlington. It is our objective to change that. One project that Vice President Davis has spearheaded is the formation of the Committee of Student Resident Ambassadors. The purpose of this committee is to have students engage the community by attending ward meetings, helping to organizing neighborhood cleanups and working in conjunction with the Office of Student Community Relations at UVM. The committee will be overseen by the Student Government Association and will be comprised of two students from each graduating class at UVM. These students will serve for the entirety of their time at UVM in order to provide continuity within the system, and so they can build relationships with neighborhood leaders in Burlington. Student issues are often the topic of long-term resident ward meetings, which is why it is so important that there is a friendly student present to participate in the conversation. It is our hope that the committee will work to solve problems that long-term residents may have with students and work to strengthen the community. UVM students make up an enormous consortium of Burlington and we ought to be involved in the city we call home.
Communication with Fellow Students
- It is important that the SGA constantly updates the student body on the progress of its work. Showcasing our achievements with effective communication will inspire other talented students to get involved with the Student Government, therefore benefiting all undergraduates.
- In addition to informing the student body of SGA’s work, we can also play a role in advertising events for the 160+ recognized student clubs and organizations on campus. Many groups put on wonderful events that would prove valuable to many students, but because of their sizes they struggle to get the word out. Advertising is a resource that we can and should provide to our clubs.
- The SGA can also work to build awareness and excitement around some of the great things that our University is doing. For example, the STEM project will enormously improve the University of Vermont and the SGA can help inspire students about the prospects of UVM’s investment in our future.
Student Safety and Combating Sexual Assault
- Sexual assault has long been a crisis on college campuses and, resultantly, it is not only warranted, but also essential, that the Student Government help lead the discussion of the hugely important topic. Recently, the SGA Senate passed a bill establishing the new club 1 in 4 who’s objective is to educate men on sexual assault. We hope to enter discussions on how to include them in the training of all of our organizations. In addition, work that has already been done this year by the SGA, such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, should be continued and built upon.
- Several years ago, an initiative by the SGA brought the “blue lights” to campus in order to help protect students at UVM. This was a hugely beneficial change to campus that has made it a safer place. A large number of students, however, do not live on campus and deserve the same securities. Therefore, the SGA will work with the University and the City of Burlington to discuss the plausibility of similar police warning systems on streets with heavy student populations to ensure that all students are afforded the same level of comfort. This is a topic that can begin to be discussed in the coming months.
- One of the Student’s Government’s primary charges is to support the student organizations we oversee. UVM clubs rely on the SGA to provide them with many of the resources they need to operate. It is our responsibility to devise ways in which we can give them the tools to succeed and make a positive impact on campus. This means, on top of funding a large portion of their operations, we will be hosting fundraising workshops with the aim of providing these organizations with the means of furthering their ability to do good by empowering them to augment additional resources.
- Furthermore, the SGA Club Affairs committee will be hosting Diversity and Social Justice training to ensure that our clubs and their leaders are maintaining the principles set forth in UVM’s Our Common Ground.
“Although this is not an exhaustive list of the goals that the Student Government seeks to accomplish moving forward, the aforementioned topics certainly are a good indication of some of our most pressing issues! Tyler and I cannot wait to get to work for the student body. The Student Government has the ability to have a profound impact on the student experience at UVM. We are so lucky to have administrators, faculty and staff who truly value our opinions, are always willing to meet with us, and who undoubtedly care, first and foremost, about the success of the students at UVM.” — Jason Maulucci
*Photo Credit: The Vermont Cynic