financial director

Photo Credit: Andy Nguyen | Daily Texan Staff

Following a few weeks of campaigning within the Senate of College Councils, the Senate appointed members to the 2015–2016 executive board Thursday night.

Rachel Osterloh won the presidential race; Meagan Abel was elected vice president; Grace Zhang was elected financial director.

Osterloh, a government junior who is currently president of the Liberal Arts Council, was elected president with 10 votes out of a total 14 votes cast. Three voting members abstained.

Osterloh said she hopes to reach out to students across the University during her time as president.

“I want to ensure that all students have the opportunity to be heard by Senate and know that they have advocates that will fight for them and their interests,” Osterloh said.

Osterloh’s goals include fostering conversations regarding gender equity, making transcripts more easily accessible online and updating the registrar.    

Abel, an English senior and this year’s administrative director, said she hopes to make a real impact on campus as vice president.

“Let’s cut the bullshit; let’s get to work,” Abel said. “I truly believe that this year we can do some real good for this campus.”

Abel said one of her platform points is making undergraduate research a more viable possibility for students. She also said she wants to form more connections between the other legislative student organizations, SG and Graduate Student Assembly.

“In the past couple of years, the LSOs haven’t done a lot together,” Abel said. “I’d really like to sit down … and see how all of our interests intersect and see how we can further our goals.”

The position of financial director went to Grace Zhang, a freshman currently serving as Fine Arts Council’s development coordinator. Zhang’s freshman status prompted questions about her ability to serve as financial director.  

Fine Arts financial director Dan Molina said although Zhang lacks substantive experience, he believes Zhang will be effective in her position.

“She shows a lot of potential,” Molina said in the meeting. “She shows she can do the work and put in the work. Whether or not she’s actually qualified, that’s up to [the voters] to decide. But at the end of the day, if she’s not qualified now, by the end of the summer, she has three months to grasp [her] position … She shows all the signs of being a good financial director.”

Zhang was voted financial director with 13 votes.  

Plan II sophomore David Engleman, international and global studies junior Geetika Jerath, and marketing and sociology junior Yaneli Rubio were elected to the three open positions in the Senate of College Councils on Thursday evening.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Senate of College Councils elected Geetika Jerath as its next president on Thursday.

Along with Jerath, Senate elected Yaneli Rubio as vice president and David Engleman as financial director. Both Jerath and Engleman are in the Liberal Arts Council. 

Senate is a legislative student organization representing 20 college councils at the University. Elections are conducted internally, with each council allotted one vote to select the organization’s leaders.

Jerath, an international and global studies junior, has been involved in Senate since her freshman year and is currently in the Liberal Arts Council, a role she said makes her qualified to work with external and internal parts of Senate.

“Not only do I have internal experience, but I’m also in a council,” Jerath said. “I know the direction Senate needs to go. I have innovative practices that I would like to see, and I know how to get us there.”

Jerath said she hopes to develop a branding campaign and a strong presence at the Capitol.

“I have a very unique vision for Senate next year,” Jerath said. “It will definitely be a change that I think the University and Senate needs to see for the future.”

Rubio, a marketing and sociology junior, said her experience in Senate and other organizations qualifies her for vice president.

After spending her last semester studying abroad in Paris, Rubio said she returned with a fresh mind.

“I think studying abroad helps me a lot because I was able to step away from university politics, which a lot of university leaders get caught up in,” Rubio said.

Rubio said as vice president she hopes to improve orientation. Her experience as an orientation advisor inspired her to seek feedback from students to help the program grow.

Engleman, a Plan II sophomore, said his experience as financial director of Liberal Arts Council has prepared him for the role of Senate financial director. He said he will guarantee that all councils will receive a fair allocation of Senate funds each year. 

“A major focus of my position this year and my position next year is to maintain and build strong relationships with the staff that help the financial directors do their job,” Engleman said.

Senate president Andrew Clark said he felt all candidates were qualified for their positions. Clark said serving as both vice president and president during his time in the organization taught him that Senate needs leaders who can handle difficult situations and are able to respond to things quickly.

“There’s no better way to learn how to do something like this than just get in there and do it,” Clark said. “Everybody gets to put their own stamp on the organization, which I think is the best part about it.”

The first competitive Senate of College Councils presidential race elections in several years ended Thursday with the former executive director winning the highest office.

The Senate serves as the official voice for students in academic affairs by passing resolutions and working as a liaison with the

This is the first time in years there have been two presidential and vice presidential candidates running, said Senate spokesman Michael Morton. Senate elects its officers internally.

“It is unprecedented for Senate as far as I’ve heard, so campaigning has definitely been intense,” Morton said.

President-elect Carisa Nietsche, a Plan II honors senior, said she will focus on finding a way to engage every student on budgetary issues. She said she is confident the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Councils will help Senate give every student the opportunity to have a voice in the budget-setting process.

Senate developed the budget councils last April in response to potential University budget cuts. The budget councils advise college deans about student concerns in the budget-cutting process.

In addition to getting students involved in the budget process, Nietsche said as president, her vision for Senate is to elevate the councils’ impact on campus.

“Senate will have succeeded when there is manpower in Senate resources and every single programming initiative we have and when CTBACs are at the forefront of the discussions about budget cuts,” she said.

When nominated for vice president after his loss in the presidential race, advertising graduate student Blake Baker declined the nomination because of a previous promise to other candidates.

Finance senior Bhargav Srinivasan will take Baker’s place as the council’s financial director, but Baker said he would continue to be instrumental in the councils’ financial realm. Srinivasan defeated finance and history senior Josh Fjelstul.

“I plan to stay around and to continue to support the Senate financial director next year in building upon this foundation,” Baker said.

Vice President-elect Emily Van Duyn said she will make sure the full college councils have the same opportunity and resources as Senate committees to write legislation.

“Senate representatives and even councils in general should have policy-writing resources available to them, encouraging council participation and authorization,” Van Duyn said.

Van Duyn defeated journalism and government senior Jordan Humphreys.

Current Senate president Chelsea Adler said her work on the executive board with each candidate made her confident that the progress Senate made this year would continue.

“Blake was the financial director this year and he’s done a great job, and Carisa was our executive director, which was a new position and she’s really taken that and laid a strong foundation,” Adler said. “I knew that regardless of who won, [Senate] would be in good hands next year, and that’s a great feeling.”

Adler said starting Friday morning, they will have an intensive four-week transition period to prepare the president-elect for next year.

“A lot of it will revolve around the fact that next year is a tuition-setting year, and we need every CTBAC up and running by May, so they can be involved in that tuition-setting process,” she said.