Steven Adelson / Political Science and History / Freshman / 19
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?
As the Freshman Class Representative in the USG right now, I have little to no duties and responsibilities, so the opportunity to learn and understand many of the USG’s functions, as a personal desire, has been beneficial to my knowledge of the budgeting process and how funds are allocated. By my own volition, I attend Budget and Special Services Council (SSC) Senate Committee Meetings on a weekly basis. Working alongside Senators and certain Executive Council members at these meetings has allowed me to grasp a strong understanding of how the entire process of allocating funds works, and how to determine whether or not a club or organization is entitled to, or truly requires certain things that are requested.
2. What experience do you bring to the position you are running for? Why are you qualified?
I presently work with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to address the questions and concerns of the incoming freshman (Class of 2017) through social media. This experience has been enlightening in that it has allowed me to understand what academic related concerns these students have as they enter a new phase of their academic life. I hope that I have an opportunity to work with these students, and, of course, with the rest of the student body, to provide the best possible response to any and all concerns so that students will be able to experience everything that Stony Brook has to offer. One of these concerns is the lack of a centralized tutoring center on campus, where students that require assistance with coursework can immediately find it. I know that this is something the current Vice President of Academic Affairs is pursuing, and, following several conversations with the Vice President of Academic Affairs regarding the hurdles that must be overcome in order to make this possible, I hope to have an opportunity to continue this pursuit and turn it into a reality.
3. 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 am currently the Freshman Class Representative in the USG, and also the only freshman member of the organization. During my first term of office in the USG, I have discovered so many opportunities and endeavors to explore, from improving and clarifying our Constitution to working with a committee of fellow students and administrators to create a food pantry on campus. Some of my endeavors are incomplete, in particular the establishment of a food pantry on campus, and I want to continue to represent the USG in this task, as well as undertaking new and challenging goals as the Vice President of Academic Affairs. This position has focused on the PASS tutoring program, and I hope to pursue other academic related interests, including working with professors, TAs, and graduate students to create and facilitate effective review sessions throughout the semester, in addition to in-class review.
4. What do you think is the best thing about USG and if elected, how do you plan to continue that?
From my experience thus far with the USG, I have found that there have been some thoughtful attempts at increasing interaction between the student body and the USG. One in particular has been Town Hall Meetings, where students, the USG, and administrators come together to discuss issues pertaining to Stony Brook University, and to see if common ground can be made. However, these meetings are very poorly attended, and I hope to explore alternative methods of increasing interaction between students and the USG, in addition to these meetings. For example, I would like members of the Senate and the Executive Council to hold a certain number of office hours in the lobby of the Student Activities Center (SAC), where members of the USG would be much more visible and approachable as opposed to the USG Suite on the second floor.
5. On a scale of 9-10* (10 being the highest) how successful were the past two semesters for USG?
From my personal experience with the USG, I would have to give the organization a 9.4. When you look at everything that the USG has done, there have been a number of successful events (John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac Comedy Show), as well as a number of unsuccessful ones (Hood Internet Concert). Whether or not the positives outweigh the negatives is for each student to decide, but in my opinion there have been way too many poorly attended events sponsored by the USG. The USG must consider in the planning of future events the times and dates of said events; for example, consider holding future events on weekends to increase Weekend Life, as many students, including myself, are disappointed by such a lacking. Also, I have seen too few students, other than club and organization Executive Board members, come into the USG Suite to ask questions or address concerns they have about their Stony Brook experience. I know those concerns exist, and I hope that the USG encourages that students address them to the USG with a greater passion in the future.
6. 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 the USG’s biggest internal flaws is a lack of clarity in its Constitution and other policies and legislation. While many of the complaints are regarding the budget process and the allocation of funds, there have also been complaints regarding how the USG itself functions. I, with several other members of the Executive Council and the Senate, created the Constitutional Reform Ad-Hoc Committee, which is dedicated to examining the USG’s Constitution and improving anything that we feel needs to be clarified or updated to better reflect the USG’s present ideology. This was a task that took nearly two months of daily effort, and we are excited to see that the students will have an opportunity to vote on this amended Constitution shortly. There are several other bylaws and policies that the USG should consider examining in the future to improve every student’s experience at Stony Brook, and I hope to spearhead some of those endeavors next year.
7. 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?
Yes, I believe that a relatively similar budget should be allocated to the SAB by the USG despite a surplus. The USG allocates funds to the SAB greater than what the expected budget is to be because there are a number of factors that could require the SAB to spend more money than it had intended. These factors include additional security and insurance costs, and requests made by performers and artists to improve the quality of their events. It is better to overestimate in this case because if the funds are required, but are unavailable, there is a likelihood that events could be canceled, and that is definitely not something us students want.
8. Do you think that putting on successful campus events should be prioritized over increasing clubs’ budgets?
I find it extremely difficult to even remotely consider prioritizing one over the other; both, if utilized to the best of everyone’s ability, provide for incredible and memorable experiences for all of us. Increasing club and organization budgets should not require that USG remove funding from the SAB, and vice versa. During the upcoming elections the students will be asked whether or not to increase the Student Activity Fee from $94.25 to $99.50. The Student Activity Fee is what funds clubs and organizations on campus, as well as allows for concerts and other performances. I strongly encourage every student to approve the new Student Activity Fee because this will allow for clubs and organizations to potentially receive a greater budget, which means that these clubs and organizations can put on larger and even more enjoyable events, while having little to no negative influence on the SAB budget for USG-sponsored events.
9. 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?
There is one thing I understood when I first became a part of the USG last semester: You can befriend the University Administration all you want, but never forget that the voice of the student body comes first; I feel that is something that has lacked considerably this past year. I will represent the student’s voice just as the USG should. Trust is a gift that should never be mishandled, but I believe at times there are people in the present USG Administration who abuse the student’s trust in them. That is not fair to any student at Stony Brook, and I too am not okay with that. I want to hear your opinions and concerns. I want to address them to the administration. And I will address your opinions and concerns until the administration is willing to work with the students, and not ignore us.
*Please note we intentionally asked for a scale of 9-10.
As a junior here at our fine University, I have had many opportunities to get involved in clubs and organizations that are funded by the student activity fee. As a Senator in the USG during the present academic year, I have learned the financial by laws in an attempt to communicate to clubs the best way receive funding to increase student life. I have experience running a business, so I’m familiar with balancing budgets. As V.P. of Academic Affairs, I would be in charge of a smaller portion of this budget used towards running the P.A.S.S tutoring service, which is a free tutoring service to undergraduate students. I have worked with the current V.P. from Academic Affairs to develop this budget in a manner such that it is sustainable for two full semesters, so that it may of the best possible use for students.
What experience do you bring to the position you are running for? Why are you
According to the USG code, the primary responsibility of the V.P. of Academic Affairs is to oversee P.A.S.S. tutoring. Providing the tools to students to succeed academically is something I am very passionate about. I have served as an Undergraduate College Fellow, and received formal training about teaching in a seminar style classroom. Furthermore, I am currently a tutor for general chemistry. During my time with USG, more specifically this academic year, I have chaired the academic affairs committee, which works closely with the V.P. of Academic Affairs office in USG. Through my experience, we have successfully resurrected P.A.S.S tutoring, which went bankrupt the previous academic year. We have met with, and are continuing to speak with top administrators about building a centralized tutoring center on campus. We have also met with the study abroad office to push for a cultural shift to make it easier for students to transfer credits. We plan to accomplish this by urging departments to have more faculty teach classes abroad.
3. 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’m choosing to get involved again, because the office of the Vice President Academic Affairs best epitomizes what I am passionate about. I am passionate about helping my fellow students do well in the classes they are struggling with. I began this journey when I ran for the chair of the academic affairs committee, and would love to continue to be able to help student as the V.P. of Academic Affairs
4. What do you think is the best thing about USG and if elected, how do you plan to
The best thing about USG is the tremendous potential that we as students have when united behind a single goal. It would be my goal to rally students and unite them under a single cause so that we may be effective in getting what we desire.
5. On a scale of 9-10* (10 being the highest) how successful were the past two
semesters for USG?
The past two semesters were a solid 9.25. A lot was accomplished. The Financial and SSC by-laws were amended. Ad-Hoc committees were created to address the needs of students. And the USG Constitution was amended. However, there is always room for improvement. More specifically, if elected I would like to continue to lobby for the building of a centralized tutoring center on campus.
6. 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?
The biggest flaw in USG is combating human apathy. Almost everyone, USG and student body alike will agree that there is more that USG can do to promote events. I’d like to spearhead a revolution, to work closely with the V.P. of Communications to develop a marketing strategy where current Senators and Executive Council alike activaley market and engage students to inform students about events and programs on campus.
7. 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?
This year in USG marked the beginning of a new era, the allocations act. Clubs in direct violation of the financial by-laws an SSC by-laws hand some of their excess funds taken to replenish the eradicated grant pool.
Therefore, I think it would be appropriate to take some of the excess budget from SAB, and give it back to the clubs so that they may put on events.
8. Do you think that putting on successful campus events should be prioritized over
increasing clubs’ budgets?
Well, two birds can be killed with one stone if a club is granted a larger budget to put on an event. I think it should be USG’s responsibility to work with clubs to put on events. Therefore clubs can be granted larger budgets and cosponsor large events. This is a win-win situation because it would no doubt result in a proliferation of student life.
9. 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?
If there’s one thing I have learned in USG this year, it’s that it is okay to disagree with someone. I have spent a good deal of time this semester building relationships with administration. I feel that a professional approach is key when expressing an opinion that differs from administration. A large reason students efforts to effect policy in the past have been deterred, is that an unprofessional approach was taken. I am not afraid to express my opinion to anyone in a diplomatic manner.
Food for thought: Imagine the potential we at students could hold if we all worked together. United, as one. Imagine if we set aside our polarized beliefs, if only for a second, to hear what the other side offered. This is what I’m dedicated to; living a life where our political ideology won’t prevent us from accomplishing great things in our college career.
Rather than point fingers at anyone else, I’m taking responsibility to be the change I’d like to see happen.
Rather than run on a platform of unsubstantiated promises, I’m choosing to set realistic goals that I have ALREADY began to undertake for betterment of the Stony Brook University Students.
It’s evident that some people out there would prefer to bicker, point fingers at one another, and result to passive aggressive intimidation tactics to get a point across.
But not me, I’m committed to running this race as clean and as far as possible. And if this is my demise, so be it.
So if you feel you share the same sentiment, I’d appreciate your support in the USG elections. I’m here to work for you and get the job done. Not point fingers.[/tab] [/tabs]