UB Student Association elections: Meet the president and vice president candidates
Rivera and Glander of Progress, Budynek and Christian of Transparency aiming for SA president and vice president
The Student Association executive board is responsible for controlling approximately $4 million of student money collected through the mandatory student activity fee of $104.75 a semester.
The SA president and vice president must run on a ticket together. The president is the chief executive officer of SA and has the ultimate responsibility for the enforcement of the SA constitution and bylaws. The vice president directs, assists and oversees SA recognized clubs and organizations.
Elections will be held March 29-31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.
Name: Matt Rivera
Major: Business and musical theater
Current SA position: Director of Student Affairs
After living in Germany for 14 years before moving to Buffalo, Matt Rivera said he has a different perspective. He said growing up somewhere other than the United States gives him “a worldly view” that can help him connect with students, which would be a large part of his role as Student Association president, if elected.
Upon coming to UB, Rivera joined the Academies before becoming a resident adviser and orientation team leader. Rivera currently holds the position of SA’s director of Student Affairs – the same position current SA President Minahil Kahn held before being elected.
Rivera said he, along with the Progress Party, are basing their campaign on the “three C’s” of community, consistency and compassion.
He said his main goal if elected is to create an atmosphere where students feel as though they can voice their grievances or discuss suggestions they may have to the SA e-board.
Rivera said he could achieve this by having more open forums and open dialogue among students.
“One of the biggest goals would be connecting to the students who aren’t already involved,” Rivera said. “Getting those students who are just here at the university, taking classes, maybe they’re commuters, maybe they just take their classes and go home, maybe it’s students who live on campus but don’t really participate in any campus living events – getting that connection and being able to reach out to those people would be so rewarding.”
Name: Maximillian Budynek
Major: History and political science
Current SA position: None (On-campus resident adviser)
Maximillian Budynek considers himself an “outsider.”
Budynek, who has no prior Student Association experience, said having a fresh perspective in the SA office would ultimately help the organization.
He said being a resident adviser on campus and interning under the mayor of his Brook Haven, New York hometown helped him get an understanding of how to be an effective president.
Budynek said he is basing his platform around transparency because it’s an important aspect for any government. He said with SA controlling such a large budget – approximately $4 million of student funds – he “wants people to know where the money goes.”
He would like to create an SA oversight committee and encourage The Spectrum to grade the SA’s performance at the end of the semester, as he discovered the newspaper used to do back in 2006.
Budynek said he and his vice president Daniel Christian are running without a treasurer candidate intentionally. Budynek said, if elected, they want a treasurer who wouldn’t always agree with their decisions and “will challenge [them].”
Budynek said, if elected, he hopes to leave a lasting legacy at UB that shows changes he made while he’s in office.
“I hope that by the time I leave the university, the institutions or whatever changes I make to the university, they last,” Budynek said. “Students in the future, they see what the SA is doing, they understand what the SA does. I want them to know what’s going on.”
Name: Megan Glander
Position: Vice President
Major: Political science and communication
Current SA position: Special Interest, Services and Hobbies (SISH) Council coordinator
As the current SISH Council coordinator, Glander oversees approximately 60 clubs. Glander said serving as SISH coordinator has allowed her to prepare for a role as vice president of the Student Association.
“I cannot express how much I care about the clubs at UB,” Glander said. “I’m extremely enthusiastic about helping clubs and helping UB students.”
Glander said her “biggest initiative” is to create online tutorials to teach clubs about their responsibilities. She said she would work closely with SA videographers in order to achieve this goal.
Glander also looks to make the application process for becoming a temporary club available online and encourage “consistency” by remodeling the track sheets for all of SA’s clubs.
Glander said she wants to make SA requirements more convenient for clubs while still fostering the community within the organization. She plans to go about this by providing opportunities for SA participation credit every two weeks.
She wants to teach the coordinators what they need to do to improve communication between the clubs before the summer. She also cited club orientation as one of her goals as vice president.
“I cannot stress how important it is to have an effective and efficient club orientation and I’d like to work with my treasurer in order to make sure that happens,” Glander said.
Glander said improving SA’s social media presence will help encourage more students to join clubs. A large portion of the UB student population does not realize the power of community and their role in SA, Glander said. She looks to increase student involvement in SA and make everyone feel comfortable.
Name: Daniel Christian
Position: Vice president
Current SA position: None (On-campus resident adviser, UB football intern)
Daniel Christian said his involvement with Student Association club UB Space Bulls, the Sub Board I, Inc. radio station WRUB and his current position as a UB football intern has taught him what a “shared experience” can do for a student body.
And he said his last two years as a resident adviser, including in an international dorm, has shown him the “unique challenges” many students face.
Despite the fact that he has limited SA club experience and has never held a position in SA, Christian said his on-campus experiences make him qualified for SA vice president.
“The Student Association is like an old grandfather clock,” Christian said. “You can think, ‘This clock is working just fine.’ But from where I’m standing outside the clock, I can see the face, I can see the time is wrong and that clock is broken.”
Christian, like his running mate, wants SA to be held accountable for its actions and said by doing this, students will no longer identify SA as “crooks.” He said SA has for too long acted as a “shadow government” and he wants The Spectrum to grade it, whether it’s ‘A’s’ or ‘F’s’ on the newspaper’s front cover.
Christian said the biggest problem that SA staff has is that “no one tells them how to do their job” and he looks to fix that by outlining the job expectancies for all SA club members.
He would also like to cut down on costly SA events with low attendance and instead allocate those funds directly to clubs.
He said he would assemble “experienced, qualified candidates” to help him and Budynek implement these changes.
One of the most essential parts of Christian’s platform, according to him, is advocating for a more comprehensive university sexual assault policy. He looks to do so by lobbying for University Police to have an on-call sexual assault responder at all times.
“I have firsthand seen the way the university responds to these egregious acts and it is not acceptable,” Christian said.
He said it’s a cause that he will fight for, regardless if he becomes SA vice president or not.
Christian said he would like to inspire students to remember that SA can be an organization that gives them “tremendous shared experience and joy.”
The news desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.