What Do I Do?

Recently, one of the most popular questions I have gotten (and by popular I mean repeated by the same person) is what exactly do I do as SGA Vice President.  I decided that the best place to describe my work would be in the form of a blog, since it allows me to organize my thoughts easily and describe things in a logical manner.

Just like in any job, there are informal and formal duties.  I would like to start out by describing my formal duties as they are described by the Student Government Association Bylaws.

My duties start off the way most Vice President’s duties do.  In the case that the President is not able to serve, I would become President.  Beyond this, there is no path of succession described in our bylaws.  My next duty, which is one of my main duties of my job is to serve as the chair of the senate.  Later I will describe some of the informal duties related to chairing senate.  I am expected to and always do preside over the senate professionally and impartially as stated in the bylaws.  Our bylaws ask me to give a report on the absences, but rather than doing this, I typically notify senators by email or phone to let them know when they have had an absence.

Another job of mine according to the bylaws is to create the calendar of events for SGA for the year.  Since I have been a member of the SGA Executive Board, I have found that although keeping up with the calendar itself is the job of the Vice President (which I do), the Executive Board spends a lot of time working with me to develop the content for said calendar.

According to the bylaws, I can call a senate meeting whenever I want and decide where it will be.  In other words, I decide where senate is and when, but  our bylaws ask for regular senates to be on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM and I have never seen a reason for a special session and doubt I ever will, so this part of the bylaws isn’t that important to the position I am in.

One of the parts of my job that I take the most pride in from the internal part is training senators.  I like to make sure that senators have all the resources they might need.  I have said during more than one senate and during the fall SGA retreat (another bylaws section says I plan this, but this has also become an active that the Executive Board all does together, even before I took office) that I am more than happy to sit down with a senator and work with them on bill writing, understanding the bylaws, Robert’s Rules, the Compass, and anything else I can help them learn to make sure that students are being represented best.  Being that our job is service related, this year I chose to include a customer service element to our training to try to make sure students are aware of the role they play, especially when working with administrators.

One of the most interesting formal responsibilities of the Vice President is that I am to meet with the President of the College at least once per semester.  I feel bad reading this, because for whatever reason I thought it was once a year.  Glad I am reading through these again to make sure I have them down.  As Vice President, during the spring semester I am supposed to put together a spring award ceremony with specific awards that are given out each year.  With in this duty it says that I can ask someone else to take care of making sure everything for this gets put together, but in the past, the Vice President has organized this him/herself.

Another role of the Vice President that is formal is to assist the President of the Student Government Association and the Director of Student Life with additional leadership development.  This goes along with my work with the summit series and working other Student Life related activities.  As silly as it sounds, the next duty says that I am on Executive Council and Executive Board, which are defined in other sections and stated in other sections.  It specifically states that I have a vote in both.  I am also to keep records from my office to pass down to the next Vice President (I am jealous of whoever it will be, because my computer files for this year are SOOOOO well organized).  I am asked by the bylaws to have 5 posted office hours per week.  I pretty clearly work more than five hours a week.  The final two sections of the bylaws for Vice President talk about the absence policy and my compensation (I’m not even going to bother to talk about this, because I’m pretty sure you have already heard this a couple times this week.  If you haven’t let me know and I will talk to you about it.

So those were my formal duties, but as with every position, the person holding office brings their own specific informal duties, some of which are passed down by tradition.  As Vice President, I took on the task of creating a new SGA website.  I started working on this in the late spring of 2010, after being elected Vice President after my time to charge hours as SGA Secretary had ended.  I spent an enormous amount of time creating and editing content for the website that we now have.  Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to launch the website until August, because the website could only be edited from Charleston and I was in Atlanta for most of May and when I got back to Charleston I was working most days and tried to stay away from other work while relaxing from orientation.  I have taken on the duty of working to make sure that the SGA Website and Blog compliment each other.  With the content management system, I made sure that IT and Marketing and Communication set it up so that SGA events on the active data calendar show up on the SGA website and blogs on the SGA blog show up on the SGA website.  Now you can also easily follow us on twitter or go to our fan page on facebook from our website.

As SGA Vice President, I am frequently asked to serve on committees that have to do with issues I am interested in.  Last summer, I was on the working group for College’s Institutional Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy and reporting guidelines.  Mid-way through the summer, I was appointed to the Office of Institutional Diversity Programming, Planning, and Implementation Advisory Committee.  I also serve on a sub-committee for this committee for Outreach.

I am in constant communication with several members of the Information Technology team in relation to student issues like the new print management system in Addlestone.  I am constantly briefed on improvements that have been made to the system, shortfalls, and etc.  For this specific purpose, I find myself as more than anything a sounding board for some staff members and have developed positive working relationships with some of the people I have worked with over there.

I couldn’t find this specific in the bylaws, more than likely, because it is probably included with the duties for Parliamentarian and President Pro Tempore, but with assistance from my President Pro Tempore (personally, I just do this myself) I put together the agenda for senate each week.  If you are in senate and ever look, all legislation is numbered, but when you send it to me it is not.  I make sure legislation is numbered, because it makes things easier to file and more easy for minutes.  Typically I proofread bills to make sure that the date on the bill is correct and the bill is branded properly.  In making bill templates, I created a branded version of what a bill should look like, so I make sure that the wordmark is properly sized for the bill and etc.

At this point, I am going to be done talking about my job, because I am too tired to type more, but hopefully I will come back to this to discuss in more detail on my informal roles as Vice President of the Student Body.

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