September’s ending, leaves are falling and the semester is underway. With the academic year starting, it’s good to know what the United Students Government has planned for the 2018-2019 academic year. USG’s e-board plans on improving organization collaborations, student representation and improved communications.
It’s important to know the responsibilities of USG’s leadership when looking at their aspirations for the academic year.
“So as the President, I’m the face of the organization. I’m going to meet with outside agencies whether it’s professors faculty, or even extending out into the community,” said USG President Joseph Cicatello. “I don’t do a lot of internal things, I oversee a lot in that regard. The Vice President is the one who constructs the internal affairs.”
USG’s Vice President Malik Nelson elaborated on his role.
“My job is to make sure that USG is functioning to its fullest capability on a daily basis,” Nelson said. “All that means is that I take a look at what we need to accomplish in the short and long term and work with my staff to make sure we are effectively working towards these things.”
Nelson stressed the importance of his availability and office hours.
“I also make myself available to our students and faculty alike through 10 office hours a week,” he said.
Danielle Gboloo described her responsibilities as USG Treasurer.
“I’m responsible for our relationship with our new fiscal agent which is R.F., a research foundation which is located in Buckham,” Gboloo said. “I have to be in contact with them and process all our purchase orders and requisitions through them if we’re paying any vendors or speakers.”
Gboloo shared how she oversees student organization funds.
“I make sure orgs’ budgets are in check, making sure they receive the amount of money they need, or letting orgs know when there’s something wrong with their budget, or even letting them know that their budget is frozen for any reason they might have,” Gboloo said.
When asked what kind of problems they observe on campus, they shared their concerns of representation, collaboration, and communication.
“Representation of all of the students, that’s my biggest thing,” said Cicatello. “I think that there is a slight difference between representation of residential or commuter students. I think that they’re both equally important and there’s just different representations depending on what you’re doing.”
Gboloo shared how she would like to see student organizations collaborate to save funds.
“We’re put at a detriment with our budget; what I’m requesting orgs to do is to collaborate more because we don’t have as much money as we generally do,” Gboloo said. “Collaborating in a sense where it’s saving us more money and it’s an opportunity to throw more events for students to attend.”
Nelson brought up communication, specifically between students and student government.
“Since I have been a freshman my biggest problem was that the individuals that students should be able to go to are out of touch with the students or are not available enough to students.” Nelson said. “So when I came into office I set out to change that. Which is why, in my position as an agent of change, I have set my office hours during Bengal Pause.”
Nelson spoke more about how important a growing relationship between USG and the student body at large is. Cicatello spoke to this as well.
“I like to engage the students and feel how they’re feeling,” Cicatello said. “I like to get their feedback; not just from student leaders or student organizations, but just constituents, because everyone who pays an activity fee is a constituent. I feel like they should be heard. They have opinions thoughts, and feelings. Once we ignore basic human dispositions then what are we really doing?”
Problems can’t be solved without goals. Fortunately, USG doesn’t just see problems on campus, they also formulate ways to combat them. They stress that through community, communication and collaboration, Buffalo State can progress.
“I would love for the student body to know that we are here for them, to please stop by the 402 office in the Union and say hello,” Nelson said. “We are all about building a connection with the student body and finding new ways to engage them. We want to make this a school year to remember but we cannot do it alone, we have to work together. I personally love working with students, hearing the stories of their daily lives so if you see me around do not be afraid to share or just say hello. We are students just like you, and the more you talk to us the more we can understand what you want.”
Gboloo said she’d like to develop a scholarship fund to reward student leadership by the end of October, if possible.
“We are looking to allocate scholarship funds to students,” said Gboloo. “USG has created the opportunity to reach out to student ambassadors and leaders and see what it is that they have to offer because they work hard and we want to congratulate them on their hard work and we have extra money to do it, so why not? Students always need extra financial help. Why not be able to help that student who really deserves it and needs the help?”
Cicatello reiterated Gboloo’s call to student org collaboration as a way to build community on campus.
“We’ve been working very, very closely with a lot of student organizations,” Cicatello said. We are really pushing to have more of a community feel between the different orgs. We should refer to other student organizations for events before we outsource.”
He went on to elaborate how if student organizations need services for event that they would encourage them and work with them to find on campus groups and organizations who can help them. It’ll save funds, and build community, Cicatello explained.
There you have it, straight from the ivory towers. USG is working on improving communication and representation by making themselves more available to the student body. They look to build community and improve financial responsibility through student organization collaboration.