NIU’s Student Association has created four working groups within the executive branch to focus on the 2013-14 strategic objective of campus engagement.
The structure of these working groups is based on four strategic priorities where President Jack Barry believes the Student Association needs to restructure operations.
- making student organizations stronger and creating stronger organizational partnerships (with each other and with the SA)
This working group, chaired by Vice President Kaliah Smith, aims to find ways for the SA to serve as an agent of campus collaboration for events and activities. Having student organizations connected with each other will create the groundwork for a more vibrant campus community.
- connecting all external partners with the student body with mutually beneficial partnerships
Public and private partners in the community have expressed interest in connecting with students to create an open relationship between NIU and DeKalb. The SA seeks to create a long-lasting structure that connects students and student organizations to local partners. This also will allow students to get necessary career and community involvement experience.
“I think getting a group of people together for a common cause will be beneficial not only for the Student Association to make connections, but for student organizations as well,” said chair Rebecca Clark, director of Governmental & Academic Affairs.
Communications and Marketing
- broadcasting the purpose of the SA in a clearly branded message
Chaired by Director of Public Affairs James Forman, this working group will explore new ways to publicize the activities of the SA and student organizations.
Finance and Operations
- efficiently utilizing SA resource, both financially and operationally, to benefit the student body as a whole
The Student Association has authority over the $1.5 million Student Activity Fee. NIU President Doug Baker has set financial and program viability as one of his four pillars of change for the university. The Student Association aims to do the same assessment on the budget process. This includes the internal operating budget and the money that is distributed to student organizations and NIU departments.
“It is important to make sure that our money is being allocated to the right places to properly fund student organizations to be able to put on effective programs,” said SA Treasurer Ivan Garcia, who has been tasked with chairing the Finance and Operations working group.
Barry, who was elected in spring of 2013, has tasked Chief of Staff Mike Theodore with coordinating the working groups.
“NIU is looking for new ideas to address issues and the Student Association needs to do the same kind of internal assessment. We are going to take a very close look at how we are fulfilling our constitutional purpose,” Theodore said.
“These working groups are meant to create new ideas to accomplish our strategic goal of student engagement. But before setting our ideas in stone, we need to actually test them. Thus, these groups are tasked with implementing ideas and at the same time thinking long-term to the future of the Student Association.”