After about a week of anarchy in the finance office of the VSA, Kaden Maguire ’16 assumed the post of Vice President for Finance. VSA President Ramy Abbady ’16 wrote in an emailed statement, “I’m excited to announce that Kaden Maguire has become the new VP for Finance. They are a senior STS major from Connecticut. Kaden has been involved in VARC for four years and has previously served on Raymond House Team, QCVC’s executive board, and as the Ferry Representative to VSA Council. Congrats and welcome to Kaden!” Maguire was appointed by the Board of Elections and Appointments to fill the VSA position on Jan. 29. This decision was approved by the VSA Council two days later, where Maguire’s appointment was unanimously passed through the consensus agenda by council members.
“I’m feeling happy that I am able to step into this position. It is really fun and interesting to get to see what all of the orgs are putting on,” Maguire said in an interview. “Most events that happen on campus that are run by students go through finance. It makes you feel really engaged with the student body.”
Since the beginning of the new semester, several major positions have opened up in the VSA. Among these newly-opened positions is the VP for Activities. The VP’s for Finance and Activities are both highly involved and have critical roles in running Vassar’s student government system. Both sit on the Executive Board and both are prominent on VSA Council. Abbady assumed these two positions over the past two weeks, as tasked by his occupation as President in such circumstances.
As someone who has temporarily worked in these key jobs, he explains why and how these jobs are important for student life at Vassar. “The VP for Finance is in charge of managing our $900,000 budget and runs Finance Committee, which allocates money to organizations that apply,” Abbady said. “Beyond that, it’s doing a lot of administrative work related to organizations and their finances.” The VP for Finance is thus the central figure in deciding and organizing whom the VSA will fund as well as how much will be allocated. Other functions of the VP of Finance include helping student organizations to find alternative financial resources from the college.
Still awaiting an appointee is the VP for Activities position. According to Abbady, “The VP for Activities manages the non-financial things of all the organizations and pre-orgs.” While the VP for Finance helps student organizations to acquire funds, the VP for Activities oversees what these same organizations do with that money and how they carry out their events.
Many students overlook the fact that these jobs demand a significant amount of time. “Realistically, we are working 25 hours per week, so that means more than half of our time is spent on this,” estimated Vice President for Operations Ruby Pierce ’16. The amount of time required is equivalent to a part-time job and proves challenging for VSA executives, as they must balance the responsibilities of their positions with their academic workloads.
These are not light-hearted occupations. The tasks are carried out by these students alone with little administrative support, VSA executives are required to learn how to complete jobs that are not taught in schools. Luckily, they are not without help. Other committee and non-committee members also take on some of the executive tasks, including helping incumbent VP’s transition to the job’s demands via training.
Resignations around this time of year are not historically uncommon. Because VP’s are required to manage so many student organizations at Vassar—about 130—there have been resignations almost every year over and after winter break. “These are positions that just have way too much work for one person to be doing,” Abbady explained. Referring to Vice Presidents for Finance and Activities, he continued, “Those two positions are really tough. I’ve been on the Executive Board for two years now and have seen people struggle because there is so much work to do.” Having annual resignations, especially in positions like these which are integral for student orgs to function, is a serious problem for the VSA and student orgs alike.
After VSA restructuring, students may notice a decrease in the number of resignations from executive positions. Both Abbady and Pierce are members of the Restructuring Committee, a group of students that have worked this year to revise how the VSA is structured. “The fact we have VPs resigning every year speaks to the issue that we need to reconsider our structure,” Abbady said. Pierce further explained, “The new structure we came up with was designed with the intent of spreading out the workload in a more realistic manner so that no one individual is overwhelmed.”
In the meantime, Maguire will assume their responsibilities in the current VSA structure, and they are hopeful that restructuring will create positive changes for the VSA as a whole and for Finance. They commented, “If everything goes the way that the VSA would like to see it go, with a rewritten constitution and a reorganized student government, then Finance won’t look the way it looks this year.”
In an interview, Maguire expressed confidence in their ability to fulfill the requirements of the position. They have experience with the VSA, having sat on the VSA as a representative for Ferry House and participated as a member of the Finance Committee last year. They said, “Having been in the position of applying for funds from the finance committee and also sitting on the finance committee and watching and participating in the process of allocating funds to all of the funds has helped me understand the relationship between the finance committee and the general student body who participate in orgs.”
Maguire recognized that they face a challenge ahead. They said, “At this point in the year, I’m stepping into a full-year position half-way into the year, and I”m also stepping in at a time when the VSA is doing restructuring. If everything goes the way that the VSA wants it go, then Finance won’t look like it does this year and like it has for a number of years.” As such, Maguire feels it more important to adjust to the current responsibilities of their position than to start new projects.
Other members of VSA Council are also elated by Maguire stepping into the role. Noyes House President Ashley Hoyle ’18 stated, “We are very excited about Kaden filling the position. They are definitely a really qualified candidate and we are really excited to have their contribution in the spring semester.”
Maguire has shown great interest in providing Finance Committee as a resource for funding the student body and helping students to find resources. “Hopefully I will be able to help treasurers out in understanding the process in a compassionate way and making sure I can make it accessible for them,” they said.
The new Vice President will be announced on Feb. 7 at the next VSA Council meeting. Further information from Restructuring Committee and their final proposal will be made available in coming weeks.