The SA Cheat Sheet
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
There is a group of college students on this campus that controls about $3.4 million.
This money comes from students’ tuition; each semester undergraduates pay $94.75 in their mandatory student activity fee. As a freshman you’re paying this money – you should know who is controlling it and how you can make the most of where your dollars are going.
The Student Association (SA) doesn’t exist as an appendage to the UB administration. Primarily, students run the organization with little interference. Its setup mimics the American government, and is separated into an assembly, senate, and executive branch.
The Spectrumspoke with SA’s new leaders as a chance for freshmen to not only get know the officers, but also grasp an understanding of what these individuals are responsible for.
Meet Travis Nemmer
Travis Nemmer will be leading this year’s SA administration as president. The senior classics, history, and political science major has been involved in SA since his freshman year.
Nemmer serves as the official representation of SA and is ultimately responsible for enforcing SA’s constitution and by-laws. He’s the big picture guy – his focus isn’t on the day-to-day operations, but to provide oversight and make sure SA is heading in “the right direction.”
Whether it’s meeting with the parking and transportation department to discuss the bus-tracking program or Academic Affairs to suggest a change to exam policies, Nemmer serves as the primary interface in talking to administrators.
“It’s a lot of meetings,” Nemmer said. “But mainly, I make sure SA runs smoothly.”
Nemmer acknowledges that most freshmen are coming into UB unaware of what SA can do for them. He plans to curb that by speaking directly to freshmen at orientation and hopes they take advantage of SA programing.
“[Freshmen] pay $94.75 just like everybody else,” Nemmer said. “If they’re not getting involved, if they don’t join clubs, or don’t go to fest, or the distinguished speakers series … that’s $94.75 down the drain.”
His fondest freshmen year memories wouldn’t have happened without SA. He was amazed by Common’s Buffalo freestyle rap at Fall Fest ’09 and spent countless hours having a great time with his former club, the mock trial team.
He urges freshmen to not get bogged down and take chances.
“Don’t say ‘no’ to things right off the bat,” Nemmer said. “If you’ve got nothing else to do, and someone’s offering you a chance to do something, don’t say ‘no’ – you could be surprised.”
Meet Adam Zimnicki
Adam Zimnicki is serving as the vice president this year. The junior communication major is more than just second in command – his responsibilities primarily revolve around UB’s 150 (and growing) clubs.
Zimnicki feels his position isn’t well understood and while his focus is on clubs, he is also involved in the process of passing new legislation and organizing club and staff orientations. But from finances to general questions – Zimnicki spends most his day helping clubs function.
He hopes the functionality will improve with the new lounge for clubs being opened in the third floor of the Student Union.
Zimnicki acknowledges that in face of such a massive variety of club options, it can be a difficult job deciding on which one to join. But Zimnicki’s best advice to approaching the task is to stop up at 350 SU and ask questions to whoever is on staff. In the SA office students can fill out cards to put in the mailbox of a club and are then added to club’s listserv to be invited to club events.
While Zimnicki’s fondest memories of his first year at UB consist of his first large scale concerts at the fests, he said SA is more than just providing good college experiences. He stresses that a crucial part of SA, and what it was founded on, is the representation of students’ rights.
“Without SA, [students] don’t have the ability to talk to the administration as a body,” Zimnicki said.
Zimnicki didn’t get his start at UB. He transferred here from a college in North Carolina and from that experience he wants to leave freshmen with this piece of advice:
“Don’t give up. College is one of those things that doesn’t come easy to all; I know that for certain. I didn’t have an easy start…and I bounced around a couple majors and finally found my niche. But it takes perseverance, so keep trying.”