Mansi Patel

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Position you are running for: VP Finance

What do you believe are the main concerns for students in SAF right now? How would you like to approach fixing them?

SAF students lead busy lives between classes, extracurriculars, networking and the constant pressure to excel in everything we do. Often times, we are unaware of the opportunities that exist, which may cause us to feel a sense of pressure and competition within SAF. I feel that AFSA can further expand some of our existing initiatives to create more opportunities for students to develop relationships and learn more about ways to get involved within and outside of SAF. As VP Finance, I will direct more resources towards sending students to external events and hosting information sessions and speaker series. In addition to this, I feel that there are not as many events geared towards upper year students, which I believe is extremely important because we all need to take breaks and a casual event could be the perfect way to relieve stress. As VP Finance, I will work to allocate a greater portion of our funds towards events that are inclusive of all students within SAF.

Why are you running for this position? (experience, background & motivation)

Having served as Deputy VP of Finance during the Winter 2018 term, I believe that my skills and experiences will allow me to successfully carry out the responsibilities of VP Finance. During my term as Deputy, I managed AFSA’s expenditures and closely monitored cash flows to ensure that our budget was being allocated to resources and events that most benefited SAF students. It was a great learning experience for me and the obstacles I faced throughout the term have really prepared me to better handle any difficulties that may arise in the future. In high school, I was SAC Treasurer for two years, so in first year, AFSA Finance was the one committee I wanted to be involved in. It was a great way for me to expand my knowledge and experience within the finance position in a student association. I genuinely enjoyed working in that position and I would love to continue doing so to contribute to AFSA’s efforts to consistently improve student experience during their university years.

Place your platform for your position here:

Hi, my name is Mansi Patel and I’m running to be VP Finance on the 2018-2019 AFSA Executive Team. The AFSA budget and the financial planning that goes behind all of our events are an extremely important part of ensuring the success of everything we do as a student association. I hope to use my experience as Deputy VP of Finance to best serve the needs of SAF students and ensure that each and every AFSA event puts our resources and funds to the best use. Over the upcoming year, there are two major policy issues that I would like to address: the reimbursement process and AFSA’s financial transparency.

If you’ve ever purchased anything for an AFSA event or attended an AFSA-subsidized conference, you’re probably familiar with the reimbursement process. Sometimes, the process only takes 1-2 weeks, but if you’re missing some proofs of payment, it may take several weeks to get your reimbursement. The main reason behind this delay is the lack of clear communication between AFSA Finance and students regarding exactly which proofs they are required to submit. In order to address this issue, I would like to create a simple online checklist software onto which students can enter the details of their purchases. Based on the type of purchase and method of payment, this online function will give the student a case specific list of items that need to be submitted. I believe that this will make the reimbursement process smoother and much more efficient, enabling students to receive their money in a more timely fashion.

Every student within SAF makes a contribution towards AFSA through their student fee. This contribution becomes an investment for student activities and an expectation of benefits for each and every student. I believe that transparency is extremely important in creating a greater understanding among students about how AFSA functions and how we reach certain decisions. In addition to the weekly meeting minutes that are posted on our website, I would like to increase AFSA’s transparency by making our yearly financial statements available to you. I would also like to provide charts as a visual representation of which types of events our funds are spent on and whether those events serve first years, upper years or MAcc students. I believe that an increase in financial transparency will encourage improved decision making and promote a better relationship between AFSA and the student body.

I hope that by reading this, you’ve gained a sense of my plans for AFSA Finance moving forward as well as my commitment towards fulfilling this role to the best of my abilities. I hope that you will choose to vote for me and I would like to thank you for considering my candidacy for VP Finance.