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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Q&A with the 2023-24 Student Association e-board

The SA e-board speaks about new initiatives including increased communication with clubs and re-worked club finances

Sammi Pang (left) Becky Paul-Odionhin (middle) and Unnati Agarwal (right) make up the SA’s 2023-24 e-board.
Sammi Pang (left) Becky Paul-Odionhin (middle) and Unnati Agarwal (right) make up the SA’s 2023-24 e-board.

Becky Paul-Odionhin, Sammi Pang and Unnati Agarwal were elected to serve on the SA e-board for the 2023-2024 academic year. Paul-Odionhin and Pang were the first president and vice president to be reelected in 15 years, while Agarwal was elected as treasurer.

The Spectrum sat down with the three e-board elects to discuss their plans for the upcoming year and the initiatives they want to incorporate.

The following has been edited for clarity and length. 

The Spectrum: How do the two of you feel about being reelected?

Sammi Pang: “I’m really surprised because, according to our pro staff, there hasn’t been a reelection in the e-board for 15 years. So the fact that we did it, and also that students trust us enough to run again, is super humbling. We’re really just thankful that we had so much support in the campaign from the people that we’ve worked with this year.”

Becky Paul-Odionhin: “I’m really excited. There’s a lot of things that we’re working on. It’s not going to be like, ‘Let’s finish it up and do a speedrun version, now we’ve got time.’” 

SP: “It’s also really nice for the clubs. It’s really nice to have some clubs come in and say thank you. We noticed a lot of clubs during the week reached out.”

TS: What plans do you have for the next school year?

SP: “I think just continuing what we have planned now. On the top of my list this summer is virtual club training on Brightspace, to make it accessible for all clubs. We’re currently working on having better processes for our neurodivergent staff, because that’s a very underrepresented group on campus and not a lot of organizations and departments around campus have that. So after we established that, we hope to extend the outreach to students and neurodivergent communities there, as well as just providing better training to our council coordinators, which is also a very underutilized position. And continuing my work with the Sports Council. Once that’s resolved, we’re going to do the Engineering Council.”

BPO: “I guess the training part, which has already started, we just got access to Brightspace, which is amazing. A huge thing we’re working on in the summer is that when clubs and students come back, SA is going to function different, but beneficially different. I would like to add, we are working on the credit card that we’re working on getting. We are gonna get that approved for Amazon, then over the next year we will work on utilizing that for gas cards and E-ZPasses — just general purchases.” 

TS: What are your plans to increase communication with clubs for the next school year?

SP: “Meeting with each individual club has really worked out because I hear issues and concerns from finance and the other staff around me. It’s also good to just hear it directly from the club. And then I also want to utilize the council coordinators, which I feel is a very underutilized position. Mostly because the election got messed up last year, so I only got to them halfway through the year. I want to establish that connection between the council coordinators and the clubs because I’m just one person, so it’d be difficult to oversee like 200 clubs. And then my club services department: I’ve since separated the director of club services from my position. The new director is Gracie McDowell, and she’s developing her department. It’s just better in terms of informing clubs when they’re meeting the requirements. I also hope to pass a resolution to get rid of SA participation points, because I just don’t think that’s utilized right now.”

TS: Is there anything that you want to say to the undergrad student body that reelected the both of you?

BPO: “Thank you for giving us time, because I think a lot of people forget that we come in with all these ideas to change things. We’re not trained to do this, SA is run by students to give them opportunities to learn, and sometimes we can’t do things right then and there. We can’t give it to them fast. So we’re really grateful that they’ve given us time to implement all of these things.” 

SP: “I would say thank you for reelecting us. Our tenure this year was filled with ups and downs, and a little bit of controversy. And I think that’s the same with every e-board that comes in, so to the people who didn’t realize this, thank you for acknowledging that we are a new e-board and we have made some mistakes, but still trusting us to further grow and improve.”

TS: How are you feeling about being elected treasurer?

Unnati Agarwal: “I know that I was the only candidate, but I still feel really good that I got so many votes, and that so many people trusted me even though they didn’t know me personally. Also, I feel like now that I’ve come into this position, I see the amount of work that needs to be done. I feel like it’s a lot, but I feel like now it’s a part of my responsibility. So I’m really excited to work and make some good changes and even work on some things and ideas that were given out, but were not implemented.” 

TS:  What are some initiatives that you plan on taking during your term?

UA: “One of the things that we’re working on right now, is the Amazon credit card. I feel that it would be really, really helpful because right now it’s very difficult for clubs to order from Amazon. So I feel that will smoothen out the process as well. And also, they need to do a reimbursement so it will make things easier. But also the Brightspace training is something that a lot of clubs have told us about before that is going to make it a lot easier, like having modules specifically for finance. So that’s one of my summer goals.”

TS: What is one thing that you are excited about in your new role?

UA: “There are just too many things to be excited about, but one thing that I really liked was the SA staff. When I came in, everybody was so welcoming. Everybody reached out to me and you know, it feels like it’s work but it’s also a very comfortable place that I’m in. I’m really excited to get to know the staff more and get input from them because they’re the people who I feel know a lot about SA.”

TS: Is there anything that you want to say to the student body?

UA: “I would also like to say thank you to everybody who trusted me and chose me. But more importantly, I want to reach out to them and tell them that if they have any questions, they can always reach out to me.”

Victoria Hill is the senior news editor and can be reached at victoria.hill@ubspectrum.com

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