By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer
Walking out of Olsen Student Center heading towards South Street, it is nearly impossible not to turn your head and catch a glimpse of the motion inside the Student Senate office, where a long table with usually two or three people around it are working on their computers or sharing ideas. That is where you can find Jamie Austin, the outgoing President of UMF Student Senate.
Austin is from Springvale, Maine, and a well-known face around campus who will charmingly say good morning with a wide smile. She is going through the final stages of completing her degree or how she put it, “surviving my spring semester of my senior year.”
Austin knew she wanted to come to Farmington when she was a freshman in high school, and she originally wanted to be a social studies teacher. However, there was a slight shift in her plans. “I took a political science class with Dr. Beck in my first semester and it kind of pulled me into that direction,” she said. In a few short weeks Austin is graduating with a degree in political science.
The Student Senate has always been part of her UMF experience. Her first and second year she was a senator and her third year she became Officer of Financial Affairs, a position she found to be very rewarding.
Austin recalls her experiences with student senate fondly. “I often tell people when I give tours, when I work in the Admissions Office, that I’m kind of majoring in Student Senate,” she said with a big smile.
Kristen Swan, Director of Student Leadership and Service and the faculty advisor to Student Senate, has had the opportunity to work with Austin throughout the senior’s tenure in the organization. Swan spoke highly of Austin and her accomplishments over the last four years.
“She was a student employee, a Special Projects Assistant, when I was the Director for the Center of Student Involvement where she really is to be credited with helping to bring structure to the club sports program,” Swan remembered in a very heartfelt email.
Sarah Carlson is a sophomore and a special education major, but also she is currently the chair of the Leadership Banquet and the incoming Secretary of Student Senate. She had the opportunity of working with Austin this past year and she used nothing but friendly words to talk about the senior. “Being the Leadership Banquet Chair, I had to work with her more than a General Assembly member,” Carlson said. “And she was always eager to assist me.”
Carlson described Austin as, “very organized and invested in the Student Senate and UMF as a whole.” Carlson continued, “She took her position as a president very seriously and got things done.”
Austin is very proud of her team and she mentioned that one of their biggest accomplishments was to approve a three year allocated budget of $55,000 per year for the Snow Sports Organization. She trusts that that organization will keep growing and she hopes that is a lasting mark they can make in the University.
Joe Brichetto is the new senate president and Austin has big hopes for the incoming team. “I’m leaving senate in very capable hands. I have no worries about that,” she said.
Austin couldn’t help but get a little choked up about the thought of it almost being over. “Everything is a learning experience, no matter what. And the last four years whether it was senate or academics, and it’s been all about learning,” she said smiling nostalgically.