September 23, 2020


Good leaders know value of Passport

Editor-in-chief Lauren Kohout seems to be confused as to the purpose of the Student Finance Board (SFB). As Kohout’s Student Activity Fee (SAF) supervisor, it is my job to clear her confusion. The purpose of SFB is to responsibly allocate the SAF. It is also the responsibility of SFB to make sure that all SAF-funded organizations are responsibly using the money within their base budgets and are aware of our policies.

Any student leader who fails to recognize the value of Passport to Programming shouldn’t be considered a student leader at all. However, since Kohout asked, the president of the College is the one who decided that SFB has the power to “hold everyone’s budget hostage” until attending passport.

As per our manual, “In order to fulfill its obligations, the SFB depends on the treasurers, presidents and advisors of all funded organizations to . acquire knowledge of and assume responsibility for the proper use of budgeted funds.” This is exactly what passport aims to achieve.

Understandably, close-minded “student leaders” would fail to realize this.

SFB requires presidents and treasurers to attend the budget clinic because it is the most logical way to train them on our policies. We do not expect presidents and treasurers to read the manual on their own. Kohout suggested allowing organizations to e-mail their questions, but with over 100 organizations, there would be no way for us to be able to respond to this e-mail volume, considering all of the questions that the students would have regarding our policies.

When the SFB requests something of an organization, you better believe they’re going to do it. While passport was mandatory for SAF-funded organizations, not a single organization had to send anyone. At the same time however, not a single organization has to be SAF-funded.

– Leonardo Acevedo, SFB Executive Director

Editorial unfairly judges Passport

In response to last week’s editorial, “Passport: ticket to nowhere for leaders,” I’d like to say that this was an unfair and incorrect judging of Passport to Programming. As a student leader, this was my fourth time attending passport, not because SFB requires it, but rather because of the constitution of the College Union Board (CUB).

My own experiences at passport have shown me that it has changed over the years, due largely to feedback from students. What Kohout is missing though, is the difference between this year and last year’s passport. The office of Student Activities and Leadership Development has taken the feedback from last year and has not only expanded the selection, but has added more “higher level” leadership workshops for students that already know the basics.

This year, 25 different workshops were offered, and there would have been more barring last minute cancellations by professional presenters. Some of these additional canceled workshops included more specific topic areas, such as media and journalism production, which may have interested Kohout. In addition, there were workshops for the more senior members of organizations that were previously not offered.

In failing to see why passport exists, Kohout then proceeds to blame SFB saying, “who decided that (they have) the power to hold everyone’s budget’s hostage.” They are responsible for funding organizations and it is their duty to make sure that SAF money is spent wisely and efficiently. One way to ensure that is to make sure that programs they fund are properly planned and programmed. What many people do not realize is that organizations like SFB are held accountable by the College administration for its decisions. A number of SFB policies are not set by a group of 17 students, but rather by College guidelines due to the large amount of money it is responsible for.

There are organizations that are not required to attend, but do so anyway to learn how to put on programs. Also, no one is required to go to passport; organizations function fine without going to passport and being SAF-funded. I suggest that if The Signal feels that strongly against going, then don’t attend next year.

Kohout says that this all could have been done through e-mail questions from organizations. Well I know from being a student leader that my inbox is full with questions from organization members, other organizations and classes, let alone my own personal e-mail. The last thing I think any student or staff member at the College wants is more e-mail. And a good student leader would know that while e-mail is the quickest and most convenient form of communication, it is the worst. Only 10 percent of communication is what we actually say; the rest is how we act and how it’s said, both of which e-mail lacks (something I learned at a prior passport event).

With that said, how would you “e-mail a question to the appropriate person” as Kohout says, if you have no idea who that person is since at passport students learn who to contact for booking rooms, venues, ordering food, etc.

If Kohout truly believes that the “general population already knows what they are doing” then I guess we’ll ignore those new organizations that want to know how to do something. Or how about those organizations that have bad transitions to their new boards? It happens.

In the end, I’d hope that Kohout and others actually show their leadership skills and help those who put lots of time and energy into this program by giving suggestions and constructive feedback.

Had many stuck around until passport ended at 3 p.m. they would have known that the director of Student Activites and Leadership Development Tim Asher entertained everyone’s thoughts and concerns about the good and poor parts of the day in consideration for next year, and I urge everyone in all organizations to leave your feedback with his office for improving Passport.

-Alex Mazella, CUB Director

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