The Student Association Executive Board representatives have begun planning for the fall 2014 semester far in advance of move-in day.
Elections held last spring named Alex Liu as president, Chris Zamlout as executive vice president (EVP), Thomas Sheehan as vice president for finance (VPF), Nayemai-Isis McIntosh Green as vice president for multicultural affairs (VPMA), Stephanie Zagreda as vice president for programming (VPP) and Don Greenberg as vice president for academic affairs (VPAA).
Liu, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said he wants to start off the semster by reaching out to organizations and improving relationships between the SA and the student body.
“I want to be sure our E-board is staying true to the ideals of increased communication, transparency and accessibility that many of us campaigned on,” Liu wrote in an email.
In addition, Liu said he is in the process of hiring a new director of Off Campus College Transport (OCCT), BU’s bus system. He also wants to increase the University’s mental health services options by re-implementing the High Hopes program, a training opportunity that teaches students how to deal with crisis situations.
Sheehan, a senior majoring in political science, said he plans to move both the Treasurer’s exam, which the president, vice president and treasurer of every student group must take, and the budget request process online. He said this should increase efficiency for both his office and student groups. Moving it online keeps the process more organized, and allows students to get results more quickly.
“My biggest goal is to move the VPF office more towards the 21st century,” Sheehan said.
He also said that this will allow club treasurers and presidents to better prepare for the year to come, since feedback will have a more immediate turnaround.
Greenberg, a senior triple-majoring in computer science, finance and mathematics, said he is implementing two new programs in the fall. The first is the Student Advocate Office, which will provide students with a place to voice their academic complaints, and receive guidance and assistance in resolving their issues.
The second is the Guidance for Underclassmen Program, which will pair underclassmen students with an upperclassman with their same major and similar interests to help cushion the transition process into college and provide support.
“My main goal for next year is to create a better environment for students,” Greenberg said. “These programs will create a new support system for students, and I believe that these will help students to succeed and will make the University a better place.”
Zagreda, a senior majoring in English, said that the fall schedule is packed with many events for students to take advantage of.
“We have back-to-back weekends of programming,” Zagreda said. “It will be one of the busiest fall semesters we have had in a while.”
She said big weekends to look forward to are the fall concert, the Binghamton Underground Music Presents (BUMP) show, Frost Fest and the annual Parents Weekend comedy show.
Zagreda said she also aims to increase the efficiency of the SA Programming Board and its advertising. Her initiatives include an SAPB forum that allows student groups to give feedback, ask for advice and seek out sponsorships.
Green, the vice president for multicultural affairs and a senior double-majoring in history and human development, said she also plans on increasing communication with student groups.
“I plan on holding an interactive forum explaining the importance and existing committees that work to help organizations and spread diverse and positive goals throughout the student body,” Green said.
Green, who is serving her second term as VPMA, also said she is excited to begin planning next year’s International Fest, and wants to increase the amount of cultural performances offered at the University. In addition, Green plans to create an environment that allows students to discuss current issues.
“My overall goals for next year is to implement more educational programming to allow students to share and address piercing issues of today’s society,” Green said.
Zamlout, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, said he plans to focus on supporting student organizations by increasing his presence at events and making sure to touch base frequently with student groups throughout the year.
“Sometimes it’s almost like the EVP has to choose between coddling the brand-new student groups or supporting the already existing ones,” Zamlout said. “But I plan on giving attention to both groups and making sure all our [organizations] are really flourishing under the SA.”
The E-Board also is preparing for any ups and downs the semester may bring.
“The trick is to anticipate everything and be able to adjust whenever a problem does arise,” Zagreda said.
In addition, Liu said that the SA E-Board will need to learn how to adapt as Binghamton University increases in size and popularity.
“With President Stenger’s Road Map, the University will be seeing a lot of great changes over the coming years,” Liu said, “and it is crucial that the Student Association is able to grow and expand along with the University.”
Green said she hopes that more student organizations will be open to engaging with other areas of the Binghamton community.
“The challenge is getting students outside of student organizations interested and participating in activities outside of their comfort zone,” Green said.
Liu said he urges new students to make the most of their Binghamton experience.
“My advice to incoming freshmen and new students is to take advantage of all of the great opportunities that Binghamton University and Binghamton in general has to offer,” Liu said. “As a rising senior, I look back and cherish all of the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve had at college that have shaped me into a better person than I was when I first arrived as a freshman in 2011.”