USG Election Guide 2017: Maya Rao


Name: Maya Rao

Year: Second-year

Major: Chemistry

Running for: Vice President of Finance

Relevant experience: I was elected as a First-Year Representative last year and am currently a treasurer. I have served on the Finance Committee for all 4 semesters that I’ve been a part of Undergraduate Student Government (USG).

What are your plans for this position?

As Vice President of Finance, my goals and duties would be twofold: external work with student groups and fellow student leaders and improving internal practices with the Finance Committee.
Student organizations are the backbone of the student experience on our campus, and I firmly believe that Case Western Reserve University’s school spirit comes from the diverse array of organizations and involvements our students participate in. Therefore, I hope to continue to support our student groups by expanding the resources available to them through the SPARTA Center, by promoting collaboration between student organizations via financial incentives, and by encouraging the use of OrgSync as a central hub for the campus community through workshops. Furthermore, the establishment of a democratically elected Student Executive Council (SEC) Allocations Committee would entrust me as vice president with the tasks of establishing clear and productive communication with the committee and orienting them to the funding process as a whole.
Internally, a priority of mine would be to work with the Finance Committee to develop a template for cosponsorship requests, as groups that request them are typically evaluated on a case-to-case basis. I also hope to create a list of finance initiatives related to student organization resources and addressing common issues we hear expressed by our student groups. I would like to work with the Public Relations committee to highlight the successes of our student groups, who have been accomplishing incredible things. Overall, my goal within the Finance Committee would be to empower representatives by keeping them up to date on all financial decisions and changes, both within USG and the SEC. I believe that the strongest representatives have a holistic view of the organization and are knowledgeable about our campus community.


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

First, I will continue holding president-treasurer workshops for student groups so they can continue to learn more about the processes of Mass and Rolling Funding as well as how to submit reimbursements. Prior to Mass Funding, I intend to communicate effectively with student groups by having Finance Committee representatives and treasurers hold office hours, along with my own. After Mass Funding, I hope to continue interacting with organizations to help them maximize the use of the funding they were allocated. By establishing myself and the Finance Committee as points of contact for student groups, I believe we can clarify any funding-related questions organizations may have and increase student awareness.


During the potential transition from the USG Finance Committee to the SEC Allocations Committee, what role do you see yourself playing?

A large external shift that came about this year was the pilot of the new SEC structure, which imparted a more significant role onto the USG Finance Committee. As a committee, we had to develop the audit process from scratch and allocate reserve funding. With the proposed changes to the SEC Constitution, a new Allocations Committee would be democratically elected to do these duties, and in doing so, they would shadow the USG Finance Committee for the first year. If this committee comes to fruition, I would work tirelessly as vice president to establish clear and productive communication with this committee and to orient them to the funding process. I would also aid the committee in further establishing a set process to audit SEC boards and determine guidelines for reserve funding allocation.


How will you work with student groups beyond just finance related issues?

Serving on the Finance Committee has given me the opportunity to directly represent the interests of our students and student groups, and I believe that at its core is what USG stands for. While we do hands-on work with funding, at the end of the day, we are working to better the student experience. My hope is that through the SPARTA Center and OrgSync, we as a committee are able to foster connections and communication between different groups and help them reach new heights in terms of programming. By establishing myself as a resource to student groups, I will be able to act as a direct pipeline from students to the greater General Assembly and the administration.


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)?

All Mass and Rolling Funding requests are evaluated using the same guidelines, however, these guidelines often benefit larger and more well-established clubs over smaller, newer organizations. One idea that I think would be interesting to discuss with the Finance Committee would be the implementation of a “New Organization/New Idea” fund. This could be used for events that new clubs or perhaps even individuals are hosting, similar to Rolling Funding, but used only for new programming or for a newly recognized organization that may not have applied for Mass Funding. This would be a way to ensure that new ideas have a strong start on campus and cater to smaller groups or burgeoning ideas. Additionally, Student Sustainability Council (SSC) presented an idea to USG regarding a program to promote sustainability to student organizations. They hoped to pilot the program this fall, and the program would entail using a financial incentive-based system to encourage student organizations to be conscious of sustainability when planning and implementing programming. This could be an effective joint effort that would benefit smaller student groups, both in terms of finances and visibility.