I have a plan for the position of vice president of Financial Affairs. My SGA experience, most recently as a senator for the College of Business and alternate member of the SGA Financial Affairs Committee, has given me a first-hand perspective on the process of organizational funding allocation. This experience has guided my approach in drafting a platform of ideas that will benefit student groups at The University of Alabama for years to come.
As I took part in last month’s FAC meeting, only $34,000 was available to meet over $90,000 in funding requests. That leaves a nearly $60,000 funding gap that must be addressed. While the long-term goal will be to raise the base level of funding provided by UA Student Affairs, we will need to get creative in the short-term. My plan is to seek out local businesses to create “Corporate Project Funding Partnerships” to supplement available FAC funding. For example, engineering groups could be paired with Mercedes suppliers, Birmingham tech companies or even contractors at Redstone Arsenal, where they could partner with those who pursue their interests for a living. Companies, to their benefit, would be able to partner directly with the students they would seek to recruit upon graduation. What Huntsville drone manufacturer wouldn’t want to work with students whose hobby is to build drones? Corporate funding would be considered an investment, as companies would be able to form relationships with their future employment pool.
In addition to seeking supplemental funding sources, I will work to create an “Ideas Fair,” similar to the Undergraduate Research Fair, where any student organization receiving FAC funding will be given an invitation to put their product on display in the Ferguson Center Ballroom. Students will be able to show off what they made, learned, or accomplished with their funding, making the event essentially a career fair in reverse, as potential employers will be able to see the true student talent on hand at the Capstone. The amazing projects taken on by UA students will show just how exponential the return on investment is for dollars invested into the student body, and future funding levels would likely be destined for an increase.
I will also partner with the SOURCE to ensure all organizations are fully aware of the requirements for receiving FAC funding, create a mini-lecture series with Culverhouse professors to touch on issues rarely covered in the classroom, such as mortgage or student debt financing, and continue the job of working with Student Affairs to develop new ways to fund the Needs-Based Scholarship program, making it more accessible to the students who need it.
This campaign is not about me. This campaign is about you, the student body, and the progress that has continued at UA since we arrived on campus. Student Government does not live up to its purpose unless it is representative of the student body as a whole. With respect to Financial Affairs, that will mean selecting a diverse, representative membership for the Financial Affairs Committee, and I will see to it that this is carried out. Our campus grows better every year, and I hope to use all in my capacity to bring that betterment to not just my corner of campus, or your corner of campus, but the whole University of Alabama. I ask for your support on March 1. Thank you.
Hunter Richey is a junior majoring in economics and political science. He is running for vice president of Financial Affairs.