Director of Business Affairs - Howard

Director of Business Affairs

Casey Howard

Class of 2013

Define the position and explain why you’re running.

Director of business affairs is basically the liaison between Student Association and the other organizations in terms of their clubs and budgets. In the beginning of the year you have to coordinate training for the treasurers of the student organizations. Make sure they understand the financial policy, how to go about placing purchase orders and submitting their budgets. Make sure they know how to function for the rest of the year in coordination with financial policy. Additionally DBA puts together the minutes and the agendas for each SA meeting, so you have to submit whatever meetings you want to place for SA to the director of business affairs and it’s their responsibility to make sure they are in coordination with financial policy before they go up to SA to be read for. At the end of the year you do the budget review committee meetings. Each organization will come and schedule a time to discuss what their budget is this year and what they’re hoping to get for next year. Then it’s an opportunity for the club to ask for more money and show why they’ve been successful in the past year. It’s also a time for them to show how they’re hoping to grow. This is what we find more important.

What experience qualifies you for this position?

This is my second year at Geneseo. My freshman year I was at Queens College and there I was the campus affairs vice chair for their student association. Basically it was a similar position to director of business affairs in that I oversaw all of the on-campus organizations and clubs and their budgets. We had upwards of 25,000 students at Queens and probably 350 organizations so I was working with a lot more organizations, a lot more budgets and on the same token we had a lot more money coming in because there was such a large number of students paying mandatory student activity fees. I had a little more flexibility than this director of business affairs position gives but I do understand how to work with clubs to get collaboration for their funding because I think that it’s difficult because we don’t have so much to allocate to the clubs, but to kind of give them avenues to fund their clubs instead of just having to say, “We don’t have the money.” I don’t think we should go into budget increases initially every time someone needs money. Looking into other venues, through CAS, the college or departments that might be able to fund these kind of programs outside of just student activity fees. Additionally I am on IRC right now, I’m one of the national communication coordinators for inter-residence council. Basically what that means is myself and my co, junior Silvia Roma, put together delegations to go to conferences where we discuss on-campus programming and ways to enrich campus life around New England and New York. That’s given the unique opportunity to represent Geneseo on a regional and national level. When we pick our delegations we’re not only picking people who are top programmers or leaders on campus. We’re looking for those who will showcase what Geneseo students have to offer and the personality and community that we find enriching here. I think that shows how much I appreciate the campus and want to give back because I understand how much we have to offer, not just in leadership or student organizations, but even just the atmosphere we have here on campus.

Do you have any plans, should you be elected?

I would like to lengthen the budget review meeting timeline. At this point, it’s just that you sign up for a spot, and you get a 10-minute period to argue your points. Hopefully the committee has read your rationale before they’ve gotten there, but it’s very possible they haven’t. So that gives you 10 minutes to go through your budget, reiterate your rationale that you probably took a lot longer than 10 minutes to write, and hopefully get across to the committee, who’s been sitting through God knows how many other meetings that day, that your club deserves this money. Not that it’s anything wrong with the committee; I think it’s the student organizations that don’t get advocated for. I’d like to spread it across a longer time, and I understand that’s more work for the budget review committee, but at the same token it is what’s going to affect the organization for the next year, so we have to give it the same credence that the organization gives it when they’re asking for the money. I’d also like to increase it to not just one meeting, hopefully a meeting where not just the committee has looked at the budget and given feedback, but so they can have a second time to meet with us to maybe reargue something if they feel we didn’t understood why something was important, or where they can say, “We see what you’re talking about and now we’re OK with the change,” as opposed to, “You cut our budget and we didn’t have the time to discuss what happened.” I don’t think that’s how anyone on SA wants to be represented.

What are your thoughts on the budget and the state of the reserves?

Personally, I do not feel comfortable dipping into reserves. The purpose of reserves obviously is to have something should the referendum not pass, so SA and the organizations could function for up to two years. At this point, I don’t feel comfortable working with an amount that would be about a quarter of what we’d have to function. We do not have the ability to remain at their current capacity; everyone would have to take a huge cut. I don’t think that’s in anyone’s best interest. I think what may have been happening is that SA exec members are not necessarily thinking in the long run and while some of the money they’re funding is going to build organizations for the future, at the same token, they’re not necessarily voting on what the students want but what they think is a good idea. I believe that as an SA exec board member I’d be voting on behalf of the students, not what I know to be the best for an organization or student association. My opinion doesn’t count as much as the other 5,000 students whose mandatory student activity fees are being used. I’d like to see better attention paid to the budget. While this year’s exec[utive board] has done a really good job not waiving first week readings and trying to get as much information as possible, I’d also like to go into financial policy and investigate; I don’t think two week readings should be the same for $4,000 for an event, and concerts asking for $80,000. I don’t think two weeks is enough for that kind of money. I don’t think they’re being given the attention they need.