Hi, my name is Miranda Miao and I am running to be your student bursar. I decided to run after experiencing the systemic inequality and inefficiency of our funding system. In 2018-2019 alone, $50,000 to $75,000 was left unspent by student organizations because of the Student Organization Funding Committee’s archaic policies. I have felt the effects of these unfair policies as a first-generation college student and an immigrant. I have also seen their system-wide impact as a SOFC member for two years and as a bookkeeper for SOFC that oversaw more than 40% of the entire budget.
I am going to correct this system through three major policy changes: (1), I am going to remove reallocation requirements and allow automatic renewal of SOFC applications; (2), I am going to eliminate the need for students to pay for organization costs out of their own pockets; (3), I am going to increase our annual budget by $50,000 – $75,000 and create a Wellesley Green Investment Fund to grow our budget and fight climate change.
(1) If a GP organization received $1,000 dollars for five events, they get to decide how to distribute the $1,000 amongst the five events. Flexibility is the reason why GP organizations spent 78% of their budget when the average organization only spent 59%. As your student bursar, I will extend this rule to all organizations by removing reallocation requirements.
When I was a treasurer, I realized that many organizations simply recycled their application from the year prior. As your bursar, I will make the automatic renewal of applications optional for all student organizations.
(2) I started this semester with 130 dollars in my bank account. Under our school’s policy, I would be expected to front the money for a club activity and be reimbursed weeks if not months later.
I have been working with the Director of the Controller’s office to end this requirement. I am giving presidents and treasurers the option to sign up for a checking account for their organization. We will load their checking account with their semester budget so students no longer have to pay for school events.
(3) By SOFC’s current policy, the money left over from last year was put into this year’s contingency fund. However, we currently have $50,000 to $75,000 remaining untouched, meaning 154 students’ activities fees are currently unused.
As your student bursar, I will solve this issue by increasing the annual budget by $50,000 – $75,000. This means I will generate around a 8% budget increase for non-GP organizations.
I volunteer at a state democratic campaign that supports the Green New Deal, and sustainability is close to my heart. I will set aside from left-over money to start a Green Impact Fund in collaboration with the Investment Society and Renew Wellesley. We will add proceeds back to our annual budget while demonstrating our commitment to divest from fossil fuels and fight climate change.
As a Data Science and Economics student, I will practice radical transparency through data visualizations and quarterly reports. As your first-generation immigrant bursar, I will fight to bring you radical accessibility to eliminate all the issues that had bothered me before. As your minority bursar, I will begin reaching out to all groups, especially the underrepresented organizations, to be a part of the conversation. Just like in Hamilton the Musical: Immigrants, we get the job done.
Miranda Miao, She/her/hers, Class of 2021, firstname.lastname@example.org, Running for Student Bursar; Voting will take place via Presence on Mar. 12. Email questions to email@example.com
It is with excitement that I submit my SOI for Student Bursar. My name is Alexis Rivett (she/they). I am a junior double majoring in peace and justice studies and education studies. I have had the privilege of being a member of the SOFC committee since my first week at Wellesley, and I have been a bookie for the Cultural Organizations for the past two years. In this role, I have built a relationship with my organizations and have made funding more personable and accessible. I would like to continue this in the role of Student Bursar. I am running on a platform of engagement, equity and efficiency.
Engagement: SOFC and the Bursar’s Office can be intimidating, and I want to change this. Bookies are eager to work with their organizations; however, we need to build stronger relationships with our organizations to better understand their needs. Therefore, I propose that SOFC transitions into the Bursar’s Office. SOFC and the Bursar’s Office are currently separate: SOFC is the committee that passes policy and approves the budget, but organizations communicate with the Bursar’s Office. If SOFC merges with the Bursar’s Office, it will increase our transparency. When completing the annual budget, for example, I want bookies to be able to look beyond the dollar amount and understand the impact of the events organizations are holding. My mission is for people to be more comfortable coming to the office and asking for help.
Equity: The Bursar’s Office manages a budget of over $700,000 a year. Although it sounds like a lot of money, Wellesley has a very vibrant community and many organizations on campus are eligible for SOFC money. Therefore, SOFC has to make tough decisions on how to fund orgs equitably. As Student Bursar, I want to prioritize helping low-income students. As a student, I know how stressful it can be to attend an event where you may have to front money or pay for your own food costs. There are methods where we can be proactive to ensure that money is truly accessible. As the Bursar’s Office, it is also our job to negotiate with organizations when we think costs are unreasonable. Organizations do not always spend their entire budget, and that money could have been used by another org. There are ways to balance the needs of the student population while prioritizing the students who rely on SOFC money so they can be a part of an organization.
Efficiency: Reimbursing organizations can be a very inefficient process. A multitude of factors can delay this process. If SOFC transitions into the Bursar’s Office, we will be a more efficient unit. Therefore, we will have one funding deadline, annual budget and transition emergency deadlines into meetings with your organization’s bookie. Additionally, the transition to cost centers will allow treasurers to fill out expense reports on Workday on their own time, while Bookies spend more time auditing and providing resources to orgs. Improving this system will give organizations more power over their money.
I’m really passionate about improving SOFC/Bursar’s Office and making this committee more accessible for organizations. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, concerns and ideas. I’m always open to innovation and making things easier for everyone because at the end of the day, we’re all students.
Peace and love, Alexis Rivett | Class of 2021
Voting will take place via WEngage on Mar. 12. For more information, check out https://sites.google.com/wellesley.edu/wellesley-cg-elections/home or email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.