Director of Academic Affairs - Gell

Director of Academic Affairs

Dara Gell

Class of 2013

Define the position you’re running for and explain why you’re running.

I’m running for head of the academic affairs committee, which is the committee that oversees all of the academic clubs and clubs who put on programming for the academic life of Geneseo. If the bio club wants to put on the dinner for the faculty and students, they get the money from us. If the philosophy club wants to put on forums about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, which they like to do, they come to us. It’s a really great committee because it’s where academics and the social aspect of Geneseo come together nicely and it’s where people can find funding to talk to their peers about what their studying, and having fun while doing so. I am currently the secretary of the AAC and I go to all the SA meetings as the Model UN representative. This year, I discovered that I enjoy student politics. My good friend, Justin Shapiro, is the current head of AAC, and he got me involved. It was something he really enjoyed, so he showed me what it was all about. I found that it was a great way to meet people and to get to experience this sort of secret part of student life that shouldn’t be so secret. Once you realize how we get the funding and how it all works it’s an exciting part of college life.

What experience qualifies you for this position?

I am the secretary of AAC, elected at the second meeting, so I know how AAC runs. I go to e-board meetings, I see how the readings are put-together, I know the bi-laws, etc. Justin Shapiro has been so kind as to show me how everything works and how to do things. I’ve really learned how AAC runs. I am also the SA representative for Model UN, so I’ve been to pretty much every meeting and have a lot of experience with those meetings as well. I’m very vocal at meetings because I know that the voice of the student body counts and I’m a part of the student body, which the SA board values. As far as other qualifications go, I am a very responsible person and organized. I’m also a research assistant for the sociology professor Denise Scott. I’m really involved with our Model UN team, which is a great way to learn how to interact with people and practice public speaking, and also has taught me a lot about how politics work.

Do you have any plans if elected?

We’ve started two programs in AAC this year, which are both wonderful programs. We have our professor recognition award that I would love to help grow and advertise more for more student involvement because it’s important to recognize the professors that make a difference in your college experience. Also, Justin Shaprio brought back college bowl, a team trivia tournament, which was a lot of fun. I really think that it’s something that fuses academics and fun, which I love. I really want it to grow and to make sure that it spreads and continues. Another important thing to recognize is that AAC has grown and I want to make sure that we can help people advertise their club’s programs through the resources of AAC. Now that AAC is allowing interdisciplinary minors to join, I want to make sure they understand how our committee works and how to receive funding since they are so new. When you hear academic clubs, you think it’s dorky, but it’s not; it’s really a great way to connect with people of similar interests, which is something I would stress.

Were there any decisions made this past year that you strongly agree or disagree with?

I’m always the person who’s rooting for the person asking for money, so it takes a lot of me to disagree because I think we need to fund clubs and give them opportunities. Of course I haven’t supported all of them, but I was really in favor of the concert getting more funding, which was a big issue. I was one of the people that thought that our mandatory student activity fees don’t reach everyone and we have a lot who pay this fee and don’t get involved with clubs. Model UN has received this funding 10 times over and I’ve greatly benefited from it. But I want to make sure that others can benefit from these fees, so increasing the funds for the concert allows us to get a performer more people will be interested in seeing. So we got Kid Cudi, who I love. A big concert is a great way to reach out to the population of the student body that doesn’t necessarily want to get involved and enjoy a different aspect of college life. I was also in favor of the GSTV funding, which had a bit of a scandal. I think that making GSTV an impressive part of our school would be wonderful because it’s a bit sad looking now. To be able to turn on the TV and not have to see something that doesn’t have the quality of the 60’s or 90’s and really see a modern television set is something of pride for Geneseo and make us feel like we’re a part of the cliché college experience that we can have a wonderful TV station. I don’t blame anyone on either side—mishaps occur. In the end, it’s all about improving our school.