On Wall Street and at the Farm, the summer was a busy time for Stanford’s new ASSU Executive. Vice President Kelsei Wharton spent the summer interning with Goldman Sachs in New York City; President Angelina Cardona stayed on campus, meeting with over thirty faculty and staff members, including President Hennesey, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Harry Elam, and Chair of the Faculty Senate David Spiegel.
“The administration is extremely supportive,” Cardona wrote via email. “In almost every meeting I had, I was asked how they can help us, the ASSU, make Stanford better for students. “
The summer was spent focusing on a number of projects. First, Cardona oversaw the launch of the ASSU Pakistan Flood Relief Effort. The executive appointed Asfandyar Ali Amir as the director of Pakistan floor relief and officially partnered with USA for UNHCR. The campaign was officially launched via email directly to the entire student body. In her email, Cardona promised to match the first $500 raised by students from her executive salary.
Cardona also worked extensively on issues of sexual assault, attending a conference with other college administrators and beginning work on a campus-wide survey. Finally, the Exec has begun preparations for its voter registration drive in the fall in anticipation of the midterm elections. Cardona also indicated that in the fall, student groups will now be able to apply for “ASSU Executive Action Grants,” an idea that originated from the ASSU Executive campaign of Ryan Peacock, who now serves as the chair of grad issues in Cardona and Wharton’s cabinet.
**Financial Reform **
One larger ASSU initiative is a Financial Reform Package that will be introduced at the beginning of fall quarter. The largest part of the reform package is a bill written by Executive Cabinet Member and Chair of Graduate Issues Ryan Peacock.
During his term as the GSC Financial Officer, Peacock noticed a lot of “grey areas” that required the ASSU Executive and Senators to make judgment calls.
Over the past year, “[the ASSU was] able to make good decisions,” Peacock said, “but it was obvious that there was a huge hole in terms of actual written down guidelines.” Peacock began investigating the discretionary spending of the Executive and realized that there were no designations on spending or guidelines for expenditures that needed approval.
“We need to write a structure for how we define the budget explicitly, like describing how voting procedures are done and how the president can veto something,” Peacock said. The bill will include descriptions as to how particular line items in the annual budget should be handled and how the different legislative bodies exercise their checks and balance.
The bill also includes a provision that would require a mandatory training for VSO financial officers. FOs are currently required to have banking training that includes instruction on how to use MyGroups. However, according to Peacock, there are still a lot of things FOs do not know how to do. Peacock envisions this initiative headed by the Senate Appropriations Committee and the GSC Spending Committee. Both bodies, he said, are favorable toward the idea, though many of the details have yet to be decided upon.
“Basically, we want the training to be handled through the committees that are actually giving out the money,” Peacock said. This training would be an introduction to rules and regulations ahead of time. At this time, no official program has been written for this training program.
The bill is still in the editing process. Senate Chair Michael Cruz ‘12 indicated that discussion and debate on the bill will continue until the beginning of Fall quarter.
**New Beginnings, New Relationships **
Cardona and Wharton are not the only leaders adjusting to new positions and responsibilities. Drama professor Harry Elam succeeds John Bravman ’79 as Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education.
“Vice Provost Elam is very receptive to collaboration with us, and we are thrilled to see him in his new role,” Cardona said. Elam suggested the creation of an undergraduate student advisory committee. This committee would meet with Elam three times a quarter to advise him on various important topics related to undergraduate education. The details are still being finalized, but Cardona said that the both she and Wharton will be members as well as one or two representatives from each class president slate and 7-8 representatives who will be appointed by the ASSU Nominations Commission.
The Executives are also convening an “Alternative Social Programming Board” with Jeanette Smith Laws, Director of Operations and Student Unions. The board will consist of VSO leaders, the ASSU Executive Chair of Social Life, the ASSU Executive Chair of Health and Wellness, and a few other administrations. The board will work to plan non-alcohol based social programming in Old Union on weekends so students have more options for social activities.
Priorities in the Coming Year
Cardona said that students can expect an administration that is prioritizing wellness and unity in its actions and advocacy.
“We will be setting a tone that encourages our peers to prioritize their own wellness and balance in life, and working to create a stronger, safer, and more unified Stanford community,” she said.