Nicholas Ela

Computer Science




  1. Out of all the 16,000 students on campus, what makes you the most deserving student to influence the more $3.1 million budget funded by our student activity fee?

I believe that the knowledge I’ve gained both inside and outside of the USG is perfect for this position. The Vice President of Student Life represents the student body in several different areas, including on SAB and campus wide Student Life oriented committees. As a heavily involved member of campus life I know what the clubs, Student Activities, and the USG itself do and I can bring my experiences from being involved in all three to the table.

  1. What experience do you bring to the position you are running for? Why are you qualified?

I have spent the last year as a senator in the USG Senate. With this background within the organization I have seen how it works and what needs to change in order to improve it. Anyone who has ever met me knows I try to be as involved as possible in student life, which can be seen through the various clubs I am a part of and the events I attend. I also have had experience working with the Residence Hall Association over the years and have worked on major programs with RHA. This last year as RHA President I have gained the experience necessary to bring a different perspective to the USG.

  1. Is this your first time getting involved in USG? If so, why are you interested in getting involved? If not, why do you wish to be involved again?

I have been involved in the USG this year as the Residence Hall Association’s USG Senator. I feel that with everything I have done on campus I now have the experience necessary to take this Vice President position to the next level. I have learned a lot about the USG during my year as a Senator and in my three years here at Stony, and I have ideas that I want to see implemented in USG for next year to improve the way USG works and the straining relationship they have been forming with the student body.

  1. What do you think is the best thing about USG and if elected, how do you plan to continue that?

The best thing about USG is the opportunities it gives to the students on this campus.  All of our meetings are open to the students so they can come see how we function and what we do. In both our meetings and office hours the students can voice their concerns to us and we can figure out how to help them, which has happened a few times this semester. I plan to continue the opportunity for students within the USG and also communicate the other opportunities USG has. A lot of people don’t know that students can join committees set up in SAB to help coordinate events such as Roth Regatta and the end of the year concert. Or that we can provide funding for new clubs so students can start up something new that interests them if other clubs do not.  I want to make the student body aware that they are the ones we’re working for and that we want them to voice their concerns and opinions to us.

  1. On a scale of 9-10* (10 being the highest) how successful were the past two semesters for USG?

I’d have to go with a 9.6. The reason for such a low score between 9 and 10 is the fact that though we were successful throughout the whole year no one knew. The average student did not know what the USG accomplished this past year. To receive a better number on my scale for next year I would need to see that the average student had a way of knowing what we did and what our accomplishments and even failures were.

  1. What are USG’s biggest flaws, and how do you plan to correct those? For those currently in USG, what have you done to try to correct those flaws?

One of USG’s biggest flaws is communication. A lot of what USG does isn’t communicated to the students correctly, if at all. How many students can name three programs SAB put on this year, let alone the initiatives they’ve been working on with administration as the representatives of the student body. I would work with the Office of Communications to ensure that USG’s actions and activities are known to a greater percentage of campus so the people we’re representing know what we’re up to.

Another flaw is transparency. Going hand in hand with communication it is important that we are willing to tell people everything that goes on so they can see what the people they chose for office are doing for them.

  1. Do you think it’s right for USG to give SAB the same budget next year despite a surplus of over 100,000 for this year?

I do not think it is right and I believe SAB has too much money even if they did spend it all. I believe SAB’s budget should be cut and the amount taken out should be given back to the student run clubs. I would rather give the students of this campus  the opportunity to put on more programs in their clubs for other students than have a group of half a dozen people struggle to use the large sum of money given to them.

  1. Do you think that putting on successful campus events should be prioritized over increasing clubs’ budgets?

I think it is entirely possible to do both. This year SAB saw a large increase in their budget while almost every club’s budget was decreased. As a possible future Student Activities Board member I am in full support of reducing SAB’s budget and distributing it back to the clubs. SAB will still be able to put on successful campus events and clubs can regain a lot of what was cut from their budget.

  1. Representing the student body sometimes means taking a firm stance against administration policies. How willing are you to speak up on behalf of the student body, even when it means conflicting with administrators?

I am willing to represent the student body to the fullest extent of the position. If elected I would be a representative chosen by the students, not the administrators, and as such it is my duty to represent the students and their concerns whenever working with administration. It is important that we take our role as a student run organization seriously and make sure that we are working towards what the students want first, not necessarily what the administrators want.

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