Name: Tommy Pierre
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Running for: VP of Finance
What are your plans for this position?
1. Increase CDEP Card Usage
One of the best things that has happened to USG Finance has been the implementation of the CDEP cards for clubs. While many clubs do use their cards, there are still a large amount that do not use theirs. CDEP cards stop students from having to spend their own money, and is also easier to keep track of finances from the club perspective. Another thing with the CDEP card is the hard deadline of the application. Many clubs do not know of the CDEP cards or just find out about them, but once they do, it is well after the deadline. I will work with the administration to be able to push back the application deadline, or be able to have clubs apply throughout the semester. Also, clubs had to reapply for the CDEP cards at the end of the first semester, and I hope to fix that problem.
2. Increase student awareness of funding procedure
One thing that I have seen around campus is the lack of knowledge and awareness of the funding process, both in USG and SEC. I hope to educate our students, and more specifically, our student organizations about the funding process. Having more financially educated students and groups will result in an all around better funding process. Many students do not even know that they pay a roughly $180 SAF, and have even less of a clue as to where the money is going. Students should be well aware of what they are paying, and where their money is going. On that note, I hope to encourage more students to play an active role in USG and SEC and make sure their voices are heard.
3. Increase email response time
One thing that I implemented while as treasurer was a new email (email@example.com use it!!) that student orgs could email with any questions or concerns about the funding process. We strive to have a 24 hr response time on this email, and so far have succeeded in that goal. One thing that students complain about is not hearing back from their representatives or executives members in a duly manner. As VP, I will have a 48 hr response time and will also encourage students to call or text me anytime with questions or concerns.
How will you work to ensure that all organizations have an opportunity to be adequately funded?
I will work to communicate with the student groups and make sure each and every treasurer or financial officer is well-informed on the funding process and guidelines. Myself and my treasurers will hold office hours and workshops before mass funding so the student groups will be able to make sure their requests are thorough and will result in the highest amount possible.
As a member of the Student Executive Council (SEC), what role do you see yourself taking? What is your opinion on the proposed SEC reforms?
I plan on being very active in SEC. My job as VP of Finance is to advocate for our student groups on campus. I will work to ensure that they receive adequate funding. We add several clubs every semester, so I need to take into account the size and number of our orgs. On the lines of the SEC reforms, I agree more with the newest reform proposal. I believe (if I’m wrong, don’t quote me on this) that this reform consists of the USG VP of Finance and the finance committee handling the allocations of the various SEC Boards. I also have heard that there are stipulations put in place that prevent an org from decreasing or increasing their funding more too drastically from year to year. While my interest in this reform may appear because I am a USG member, I actually believe that it would be best for our school and the funding process. Having elected members handling the finances gives the student body the power to choose who is determining the funding. Also, if the student body does not feel as if they are being properly represented, then they have the power to remove representatives or executive members (VP of Finance included) from their respective seats. This system, in my opinion, would result in the best advocacy, honesty, and transparency in the SEC Funding process.
What is the thing you are most proud of in your time in USG so far?
This past year, I was appointed treasurer by the USG General Assembly. Prior to my appointment, the executive committee functioned with three treasurers, yet were routinely backed up on payment requests. Students would be forced to wait weeks or perhaps months just to be reimbursed for a minimal cost. My fellow Treasurer, Jeffrey Noymer and I, worked tirelessly this semester to improve the turnover time, now with a goal of having students reimbursed within ten days. We have heard from many student groups thanking us for the quick turnover, and this is by far my most proud moment.
Is there any type of group that you feel doesn’t receive as much funding as it should (ie dance groups, sports groups, religious groups, etc)?
I feel as if smaller groups (less than 30 people) do not receive as much funding as it should. These groups routinely struggle to cover the costs of off campus events, such as conferences across the country. Bigger groups have a luxury of better fundraising capabilities and do not need as much money as a smaller group would need. Also, when traveling across the country, splitting up the costs between 15-20 people is much easier than splitting up the costs with 2-4 people. As VP of Finance, I plan to advocate more for smaller groups and ensure that their voices are heard and will receive the funding they need.