By Light Naing
Thinking about applying to be an Associate Vice President? Don’t worry, USC Voice’s got your back! We’re super excited to bring you this series of AVP profiles that will hopefully inspire you even more to #replaceus. For all five of the current portfolios, we’ll also be assigning some personality types to give you a sense of what kind of people may be the most suitable for the roles.
Sadly, we’ve come to the last article in the AVP Series. Here, we have the portfolio that “governs” the USC by supporting the implementation of important decisions and overseeing the Clubs system: the Governance and Finance portfolio!
The Governance and Finance portfolio is made up of three AVPs and four Coordinators this year. They help the Vice President with the logistical operation of clubs, student-led services, and governance. Next year, the portfolio will be renamed into the Student Services portfolio. This year, we have Rebecca Marsh (AVP Clubs), Ethan Hesler (AVP Governance), and Tumi Olaoye (AVP Finance) on the team, and Rebecca and Ethan were available to tell us about what being in the portfolio is like!
After her time as Clubs Associate at Huron, Rebecca applied for the AVP Clubs position because she wanted to make a greater impact on the Western student experience through the USC. Ethan was a self-proclaimed “student council kid” in high school who believed the AVP Governance role would allow him to utilize his policy experience.
Similar to the University Affairs and External Affairs portfolio, Rebecca and Ethan deal with a lot of policy work. For Rebecca, she primarily deals with club support and policy. In auditing the Clubs system, “I look at club events from the last few years, their memberships, social media posts, finances, and constitutions, and make sure that they align with current Clubs policy. I help the Clubs Support Coordinator give support to clubs that need them and de-ratify clubs that are inactive so that it frees up space for new clubs to be ratified.”
Ethan’s work also consists of reviewing a lot of policy. “I help out the VP Governance and Finance, Ethan Biswurm (far too many Ethans on the USC this year), with the governance tasks he does like rewriting policy papers that go through the USC Council. Other times, I’ll conduct independent research on the relationships between the USC and its affiliates or the City of London.”
Ethan believes that having some previous policy interest or experience is a great start for his role. “A lot of the time I’ll be reading a lot of policy papers. I also helped out with the Bus Pass policy and helped adapt new policy papers to take out gender-specific pronouns and update them because some of the USC’s policy papers are sort of lacking,” says Ethan.
Rebecca assumed that her role would be a “lone wolf” position, but was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of collaboration she participates in. “While the AVP Clubs role is a bit independent from the other AVPs, I still work with the Coordinators and the four committees I sit on a lot. I’m more of the advisory voice in these meetings where I’ll answer applicability questions and Nathalie, our Clubs Policy Coordinator, answer policy questions.”
Ethan also sits on the Clubs Governance Board, where he assists with running it smoothly and reminding the committee members of Robert’s Rules. “Honestly, big props to Nathalie because she’s very on top of Robert’s Rules and policy work so I don’t have to do much,” says Ethan. Both Rebecca and Ethan then proceeded to gush over Nathalie, who they both believe to be an integral support to their respective roles.
Rebecca really loves working with the Coordinators to oversee any initiatives they want to work on. “Aside from working on the committees with Nathalie, I also worked with the Clubs Support Coordinator, Branden, to launch Clubs Spotlight where we basically promoted our clubs on the ClubsUSC Instagram account to expand their reach,” says Rebecca, “Because our roles do involve a lot of teamwork, I’d say that having communication skills is really important. As an AVP too, leadership skills are helpful because working with Coordinators and four committees, you need to be able to set direction and delegate tasks.”
Rebecca believes that when people think about student activity on campus, they think of clubs. “I love what I do because I get to support students who want to create amazing initiatives through the Clubs system,” says Rebecca. “Working with them this year has been so rewarding because I get to touch on the finance, policy, and politics side of things and expand my skillset as well.”
For Ethan, he believes the main thing he got from his role was a deeper understanding of how the USC works. “Coming out of my first year, I didn’t know a lot about what the USC did and the AVP Governance role was definitely a great introduction to what happens behind the scenes,” says Ethan. “Now, I know how the USC supports the entire undergraduate student body and all the different resources they provide, which are honestly still very underutilized by students.”
Ethan says that accessing these resources and reaching out to the people who coordinate them are your best bet to get advice on getting involved in the USC. “Chat with your VPs, the AVPs, Coordinators, Interns – anyone who’s currently in the USC. We’re more than willing to talk to you and give you information and advice on applying to the roles,” says Ethan.
“Definitely,” Rebecca agrees. “I think it’s also important to talk about your interests and your passions and what you want to do with the role when you apply. When you get to the role and you take on a project that’s your own idea, it’s such a rewarding experience because you’ll be helping out the entire student community. People probably won’t remember your name, but they’ll definitely remember your actions.”
If you would like to speak with Rebecca or Ethan about their positions, you can request a “coffee chat” with them here! Applications for Associate Vice Presidents and Coordinators close on Monday, March 27th at 11:59pm. Apply to become the next AVP Governance and Finance.