For the last six years, the student body treasurer has been a business major, but this election might change that streak.
Sophomore Zach Madel is a mechanical engineering major and is running unopposed for 2013-2014 treasurer of the Student Government Association (SGA).
If more students vote for Madel than submit a vote of no confidence, the streak of business majors will end.
Who he is and what he's running for
Though he studies engineering, Madel said he feels experienced and qualified for this position.
"The transferable skills are probably communication, logic, problem solving and evaluating a project to see if it’s worthwhile and worthy of putting a lot of money into,” Madel said. “I think that coupled with experience qualifies me.”
Madel has been a member of SGA since his second semester of freshman year, when he became a member of the group’s finance committee. Last May, the group elected him to chair the finance committee, a position he should hold until next month.
Last year’s candidate for treasurer also ran unopposed, and all candidates are required to have been a member of SGA for at least one semester. Madel has three semesters under his belt.
“I think it frequently runs unopposed because it requires a lot of specialized experience that a lot of people don’t have,” he said. “They need to have been on finance committee to really understand the allocation process and organizational funding. There isn’t as much technical knowledge required in the other positions.”
Madel also mentioned the time commitment as a reason some SGA spots receive little competition or attract the same candidates year after year.
Regarding his campaign platform, Madel outlined three main goals he would emphasize as treasurer.
First, he said he wants to explore the possibility of reducing the $90 student body fee included in each student’s annual tuition. Though he said SGA’s $700,000 budget usually has a small surplus, the surplus this school year was $100,000 (one-seventh of the total).
“I became interested in how we can allocate that money most affectively to maximize student life on campus,” he said. “We should not charge students more money than we can usefully spend.”
Madel said he cannot guarantee the fee will be reduced because it takes a lot of conversation with the Board of Trustees, but he wants to explore the idea.
His second two goals relate to the $100,000 SGA allocates to student organizations each year. Organizations can apply to receive part of this sum, if they need more than internal dues and fundraising provide.
These situations could include helping a club sports team attend national tournaments or providing the food and decorations for the annually well-received South Asian cultural celebration “Experience India.”
Why he's running
Madel said he wants to explore simplifying the process for the approximately 70 organizations that apply for funding at the beginning of the school year. He also wants to increase the accountability among recipient organizations to be sure they spend the money they are granted and do so in useful ways.
“It should be used to enrich student life as much as possible,” Madel said. “Organizations that annually impact campus in a positive way should get more funding, and organizations that fail to live up to their promises should get less.”
Madel has created a Facebook page to communicate his platform. Otherwise, he is not publicly campaigning.
As opposed to visiting major Greek organizations, for example, he said he hopes to speak with smaller organizations because those should be the ones that need the most funding from SGA.
For now, he is focused on passing the vote of no confidence, he said. Then, he will narrow his focus into carrying out his campaign goals. Only after more experience as treasurer, Madel said, will he know if he wants to consider running for a higher position in the next election.
Voting is set for next Tuesday, April 23.