Driven by a passion to advocate for his fellow students and their experiences at Merrimack College, Maxwell Beland ’24 this academic year will serve in the role that leads those efforts on campus: Student Government Association president.
“A big piece of why I ran for SGA president is because of Nick Barber ’23 and Tiffany Vo ’22,” said Beland. “They showed me what it means to work with students and for change in the campus community.”
Merrimack’s SGA serves as a liaison between the student body and the College administration. It has 50 student seats, with representatives from all classes, as well as specific seats for international students, diverse students, student-athletes and commuter students. In addition to leading that body and being a voice for all students, Beland will fulfill ceremonial responsibilities including serving in the stage parties for Academic Convocation and Commencement.
“The SGA’s main goal is to be a mouthpiece for the students, but to also listen to what they need,” Beland, an Austin Scholar, explained. “We want to be a place where students can come to discuss issues big and small.”
Among his predecessors’ initiatives that Beland hopes to continue is a strong focus on sustainability on Merrimack’s campus. The SGA will give all members of this fall’s incoming class reusable water bottles, which is part of a long-term goal to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles on campus.
Now in the final year of his undergraduate studies, Beland said he has been excited to see the return of students’ passion for getting involved with organizations and campus events following the pandemic.
“My first year at Merrimack College was a pandemic year,” Beland said. “Initially out of the pandemic, there was apprehension and timidity around getting involved. But more and more each year the incoming freshman class brings greater passion and enthusiasm and engagement.”