Interviews complied by Kevin MullerPhotos by Ben Jay
Why are you running for president? It started with the election debacle of last year when I was the chair of the Undergraduate Student Association Elections Committee. I became very close with the board at the time, and especially with [2008-2009 SA President] Danielle Forrest who recommended the position to me. Though I spent last semester studying abroad in Costa Rica, I have been very involved with SA recently and I have realized that this is something that I would really like to do.
What do you think are some important qualities for members of the Student Association to have, personally and professionally? Definitely responsibility and organization. It's also important that the SA executive board be neutral and respectful in what they are listening to and deciding upon. Individually, you have to be open - right now, many students are hesitant to voice their opinion to the SA executive board because the board can come off as rather closed; it's important for SA exec to be charismatic.
Are there any specific actions or decisions of the 2009-2010 SA executive board that you especially support of disagree with? As far as the spring concert goes, I totally agree with the decision; you have to be financially responsible. I also definitely agree with the recent decision of the board to support the Empowerment Act.
What do you think the role of the SA constitution should be? The constitution was last updated in 2006, and SA financial policy in 2008. I would like an independent review committee to review both the constitution and financial policy. It should be easier for a group of students to organize themselves into a club, and there is duplication in the current purchase order process. Since the constitution will most likely be updated in a referendum year, next spring would be a good opportunity to make changes after the independent board has had a year to discuss it.
Do you think students have an accurate understanding of what SA does? Can you think of any additional ways to increase two-way communication between SA and the student body? No. There's a bad perception of SA right now, largely because there's not enough information given out. I have recently been talking to Elsje Vanmunster, associate dean of students for orientation and first-year programs, about getting more information out to students when they come to Geneseo. It's important because everyone pays this fee. I would like more information given out during orientation that is correct - I want to get away from the idea that SA is some sort of terrorist organization. SA needs to be more visible - they're trying, but they need to work harder at it. I'd like to create a Web site that is a centralized source information as an alternative to scattered "What's Up" e-mails. Another idea would be to have a public relations committee with one representative from each residence hall - it's hard to be a one-person public relations entity.
How have your experiences prepared you for a position in SA? As a former orientation adviser, I was a representative of the school - I met with vice presidents and learned a lot about the college and its framework. I've also been an RA, where you're really advocating for the students and serving their interests. I was a team adviser for the National Student Leadership Conference. Through all of these experiences, I feel prepared to be president because I've been in different roles and can now bring them all together. Studying abroad in Costa Rica was a life-changing experience that really taught me about how other people can view and interpret things; I learned to really think about what I say and how it might be perceived.
Do you have any plans to alter or expand the scope of the position for which you are running? I definitely want the position to be more visible. If elected, I will require a lot of the executive board, especially the director roles - public relations, Academic Affairs Committee chair, etc. I think there needs to be a slight review of the Activities Commission - there has to be a definite decision on the concert going forward. Personally, I'd like to see one big concert in the spring, and smaller events throughout the year. I'd also like to speed up meetings by possibly creating a review committee that could review readings prior to the business meetings to identify any potential conflicts with the constitution and/or financial policy, this way those parts of the policies could be discussed and interpreted before the reading is brought before the entire student body, rather than during extended open discussions.
Why are you the best candidate for president? I feel like I'm already very involved with the faculty and administration. I've already worked within SA as chair of USAEC, a subcommittee of SA. Through Orientation and Residence Life, I've worked with students extensively and have really come to see things from different perspectives. Last semester, studying abroad was beneficial in that I think being too wrapped up in SA can actually be a bad thing - I now have a fresh view of where SA stands and what can be improved upon. I love working with students and representing this school.
Doug SinskiClass of 2011Major: Accounting, PhilosophyHometown: Huntington, N.Y.Current Positions: Treasurer of Activities Commission, business manager of The Lamron, treasurer of Alpha Chi Rho (Crows), member of SA budget review committee
Why are you running for president? I'm looking to take the experience I've gained in various positions and apply them in a scale that would benefit the greater campus community at large.