On Tuesday, April 8 The Stony Brook Statesman hosted The USG Candidate Forum at the SAC Auditorium.
The meeting discussed the candidates’ plans on how to spend the more than $3 million budget for the Student Activity Fee for funding clubs and holding events.
The candidates talked about how the USG will work on communication between it and the students, an essential step to improve the relationship between the two. Maximillian Shaps, a candidate for CAS senator spoke of his plan to create “stronger bond between the students and the USG.”
There will be changes in the student government such as new processes for making funds last longer, according to Kathryn Michaud, the newly elected treasurer. Steven Adelson, vice president of academic affairs elect, said that he will continue expanding student tutoring services so that more students will be able to get the help they need. Adelson also intends to expand opportunities for engineering tutoring.
Personal connection was pointed out by Shaps, saying that it can be beneficial for the process of creating a better connection between student government and students. Going to different clubs and meetings would be a more direct and efficient way of getting opinions from the students.
The controversy regarding whether USG officers deserve compensation for hours was one of the questions addressed during the forum. CEAS Senator Elect Valliappan Lakshmanan said the money paid makes the officers accountable, and therefore it is important. However, Michael Lavina, who ran against Lakshmanan had a different take.
“Ideally, we shouldn’t get paid,” he said. “It’s ridiculous and isn’t something that should happens because you shouldn’t be doing it for the money. It’s for the experience and you do it because you want to do it.”
It has been an issue that students do not involve and participate enough with the current USG administration and many do not know what the student government is for or how they handle the money from the students.
“As a whole– the executive council and senators–what we are working on is the appointment system so that students can register through the USG website to make appointments and let us know their opinions and concerns,” said Daniel Chung, vice president for communications elect.
“As they also talked about today, there is very little student participation in the USG and as communication and public relations I will do my best using social media platform and advertisement, email newsletters, whatever I can to notify students how they can participate,” Chung said. “As far as making them open and reach out themselves, that is completely on their part.”
Voting was held from April 7 to April 11.