April 19, 2011

Meet The Candidates: Jason Rubin '13

Our second candidate interview is with Jason Rubin '13, who is running for VSA Vice President for Finance. He's running unopposed, but it's still important to stay in the know!

Mads Vassar: What experience qualifies you for the position?

[AskBanner]
Jason Rubin: I have been a treasurer since shortly after arriving on campus- my freshman year for the class of 2013 and this past year for Lathrop house. Both of these experiences have been valuable to me but in very different ways. Freshman year I learned what being a treasurer really entailed and the ins and outs of navigating the Vassar finance department. Coming into sophomore year with this understanding allowed me to widen my perspective. I was able to determine which areas I thought worked and which areas were in need of improvement. If elected, I plan on working towards these improvements to make the job of treasurer as easy as possible.

MV: What campus issue matters most to you?

JR: This has been discussed at length, particularly this year, but I am going to have to say campus apathy. This extends beyond VSA apathy and into the wider political and social context. This can be frustrating given the intelligence and competence of Vassar students. When students get behind an issue, they really can have an impact and it is a shame this does not happen more often. I think the VSA definitely has a role to play here. Students should be able to bring issues to council and receive support and assistance. Council exists to get behind the issues that matter most to students and to press the administration to do the same. It should be an efficient and accessible entity that will allow for this to happen and not an inefficient bureaucracy that students feel the need to work outside of.

MV: If anything, what do you want to see changed about the VSA?

JR: I want to leave the 2012-2013 council with a better VSA structure than the one we inherit and I firmly believe that next year is the year that this can happen. This year’s council laid the groundwork for this to occur, and if elected I plan on being a part of the effort to finish this process. However, this effort must extend beyond those who are elected to next year’s council. Student voice must be heard. Town Halls and open discussions must occur during which the question is posed to students: “What do you want your VSA to look like?” It is only through dialogue such as this that we will achieve the efficient, accessible, inclusive, and transparent VSA that we all deserve.

MV: Describe your platform in 140 characters.

JR: My platform consists of 5 focuses: Efficiency, Transparency, Quality over Quantity, Fundraising and Collaboration, and VSA Restructuring

MV: Ok, now you can elaborate...


JR: Efficiency is a little tricky as most of the finance structure is under administration control. However, if elected I plan on pushing to extend credit card privileges to organizations that would most benefit from them. In addition, I will explore alternatives to the current treasurer form system, such as online forms.

Transparency refers to both the position of VP for Finance and to VSA council as a whole. Fund levels should be public knowledge as it is a factor for organizations in determining which fund to select for their application. If elected I plan on posting this information on the VSA website and updating it weekly. In addition, I will look to make alterations to the capital and supplementary budgeting process. Currently, the finance committee makes determinations on applications to these funds without ever explaining to those who are rejected, why this occurred. While it is an unfortunate reality that some applications must be rejected, these applicants have a right to know why and if elected I plan on making sure this occurs. Finally, I will look to make VSA committees more transparent. Information as to what committees are working on and when they meet should be made more accessible.

Quality over Quantity and Fundraising and Collaboration go hand in hand. It is important the VSA encourages a fully booked campus activities calendar but at the same time it is important that the VSA encourage creative events that make a positive contribution to the campus and to student life. These two goals are certainly not mutually exclusive. The calendar felt overbooked at certain points this year. If elected, I plan on working with the VP for Activities to encourage organizations to collaborate in order to produce a creative and an enhanced event. My focus will be on quality events and creative collaborations rather than on having the most programming possible.

I discussed VSA restructuring above but just to reiterate, I think the process and the product are both extremely important. If elected I will work towards a process that is as transparent and accessible as I want our product to be.
MV: What is your favorite Vassar memory or moment?

JR: If I had to pick just one it would probably be move-in day, this past year. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy it but it ended up being a ton of fun and a really rewarding experience. There’s so much spirit and excitement that day and it’s just really great to be a part of it. Training week is basically endless but seeing all of the freshmen arrive and how quickly they became a part of the spirit of Vassar and our dorm, really made it worthwhile for me.

MV: Anything you want to add?

JR: I think that covers it. I’m extremely excited about the prospect of being next year’s VP for Finance and bringing some real change to the VSA. Thanks for your support!

No comments: