Candidate Upashruti Agrawal


Why do you want this position?

“I’ve been in USG for two years now in finance. Over those two years I’ve gotten to know a lot of what finance does. For me, I just love working with student groups. I spend a lot of time in the office just sitting there and answering questions when they come in. As I spent more and more time doing this, I got more excited about what the student groups were doing and how they held events and what issues actually came up. I used to be part of student groups, and seeing it from both sides, you see there’s still many issues that could be fixed.”

How will you work to ensure that all organizations have an opportunity to be adequately funded?

“That is one of the biggest issues finance has. This year, with all the different organizations saying that they aren’t receiving enough money, I started a student feedback system within the finance committee. At least one example was the cultural organizations’ open forum. Through that we received a lot of feedback on how our guidelines weren’t working for them. Looking into the future, I want to keep working with our student feedback system and improve it. Currently, we have finance liaisons, who work with different categories of groups. I want to have the finance committee liaison members go to the groups’ meetings or keep in touch with them through email or hold forums, whatever it takes to understand what the groups in that category particularly need so that they can become advocates for that particular set of groups.”

With available money being tighter for student groups should there be more guidelines for funding decisions?

“I believe guidelines are just that— guidelines. As money gets tighter and tighter, we need to be more cognizant of what our groups need. Currently our funding guidelines apply to all groups the same way, but many groups have very specific needs. Clarity and transparency are the biggest things… This year, I was running an analysis of all the funding we’ve done. In the future, using analysis will let us be more efficient.”

As a member of the Student Executive Council (SEC), what role do you see yourself taking?

“I see the vice president of finance as being an advocate for the student groups. There are over 200 of them and they need a voice when the Student Activities Fee (SAF) is being allocated. I believe that since this money is coming from the students themselves, they should be represented in how much and where that money is going.”

You say in your letter of intent that one of your goals is to increase transparency in allocations. How do you plan on doing this?

“I believe transparency is mostly just letting students know what is available and educating themselves on the policy. Through my feedback system, I realized that many students don’t know that there are guidelines or that they’re paying for this with the SAF. Education and streamlining the currently available information into a more user accessible format is important.”

In your letter of intent, you mention a “lack of student resources.” What do you mean by that, and what are your plans to change that?

“We just got the SPARTA Center this year, which is awesome. That was one of the issues was during funding, many groups required obvious materials, like plates and forks, but it was a very minor item in the funding guidelines. Now everything is available for free. Similar to that, I’m working on the event venues and catering and transportation discounts. Those I believe are major lack of resources. There are not enough places to hold events, not enough people to cater them. I want to add all these to SPARTA Center.”