Position you are running for: President
What do you believe are the main concerns for students in SAF right now? How would you like to approach fixing them?
SAF students are primarily career focused individuals. They are enrolled in SAF because they care about their career and want to do whatever they can to be successful. This results in two major trends among SAF students.
First years go in to school with significantly more anxiety. Students actively get involved in the SAF community because they are scared that if they don’t, they will not get the co-op jobs that they believe are imperative to their success. This creates a more competitive atmosphere and discourages students who didn’t get what they felt were imperative to their success.
Upper year students no longer see the point of getting involved because to them, the point of being there is no longer relevant. This results in staggering amounts of upper year students refunding their AFSA fees.
I believe we can diminish these trends and create a better SAF environment if we have the proper foundation of what AFSA is truly about. These plans, which I will elaborate on more in my platform, amount to focusing in on the core functions that AFSA serves its students: providing fun Internal Events as well as helpful education events/services.
Why are you running for this position? (experience, background & motivation)
I have had the pleasure of serving under the past two AFSA presidents, first as the Deputy of Education and then as the Vice President of Education. Serving for two years both on the executive team and as a manager of the Education committee, I have a clear understanding of how AFSA functions and what the executive team prioritizes. From an executive standpoint, I know how the committees communicate and what role the President serves as a facilitator between them to spearhead the overall AFSA agenda.
During my role, I had the opportunity to speak directly with my fellow SAF students and hear their needs. This has allowed me to understand exactly how SAF students perceive AFSA and what they take away from it. I got to speak to the first years that AFSA brought on and hear how they or their friends have given up getting involved because they did not get into the club they wanted. This exposure has motivated me to run so I can do my small part to change the SAF atmosphere and make everyone feel included.
Place your platform for your position here:
My platform amounts to three core principles that I wish to bring to AFSA to help change the narrative among students regarding AFSA and help to focus in on the core functions that AFSA serves its students. These three principles are: transparency regarding our finances, focusing on events and services, and reducing AFSA’s size. These ideals boil down to the general philosophy I wish to follow if I am elected; make AFSA more focused, transparent, and better connected with the SAF community.
Transparency Regarding Our Finances: If elected, I would ensure that we are completely transparent about however single committee spends the money students give them. This would involve publishing our budgets as well as the actual spending on our website each term. With events running almost weekly, it is hard to keep track of where your money is actually going and if it is being used efficiently or not. I would also be open to holding public meetings where people can ask questions about our budgeting process and our logic behind our spending. The core idea of this principal is to increase the trust between AFSA and the student body. Moving towards financial transparency also brings increased communication with other SAF clubs. As of late, there have been issues regarding the finances between AFSA and the other SAF clubs whose finances AFSA manages. I believe the best way to fix this problem is by establishing clear communication lines with the other SAF clubs, in the form of monthly meetings to go over and review finances. This will allow us to connect the SAF community as a hole and minimize any disputes or confusion between parties.
Continue to Offer Entertaining Events: After speaking to SAF students, it is clear that the main takeaway they get from AFSA is the events that it offers. This is something that no other SAF club has the ability to offer, and should be our focal point on how to give back to the SAF community. We have already done an excellent job of providing quality events, and I believe that we should continue this focus. It is important that these events are capable of reaching both first and upper years as well. During my term as VP Education, I took the necessary steps to provide packages for students across all years, and I will continue this initiative on an AFSA-wide basis if I were to be elected president. Another key need that SAF students have expressed is for alcoholic drinks to return to our events. If elected, my goal would be to earn back this trust with FEDs and start working towards drinks being returned to our events. It is unclear when and how this can occur, but I will be taking the necessary steps to begin this process.
Reducing AFSA’s Size: Allen has already begun what I feel is the necessary steps in focusing in on AFSA’s core functions through combining the Marketing and Communications committees as well as the External and Corporate Relations committees. I plan on continuing these initiatives because I believe that this allows AFSA to trim away the fat and focus in on its core roles. These roles are to provide enjoyable events for the students and giving them helpful education resources/services for their academics/career paths. Another step I would like to take is decreasing the overall size of each committee. The proportion of number of AFSA members to actual tasks that need to be completed is imbalanced, and the students who are able to join AFSA should be able to get sufficient experience. Furthermore, I believe this will help solve one of the problems I mentioned earlier; the feeling of exclusion. AFSA has a tendency to be so big and accept so many first years that it begins to look less like a student government and more of an exclusive club. It gives students a feeling of exclusion if they are not accepted, like they are missing out on something and have failed. If we decrease AFSA’s overall size, the idea is that this narrative will change and people will see it more like an extracurricular job.
To conclude, these main three initiatives is what I would focus on if elected, and I believe these are the necessary next steps to helping bring AFSA closer to its community.