Over the course of this academic year, three members of the Investment Club, the fastest-growing club on campus, have gone from struggling to fund a trip to Wall Street to winning four executive seats in student government.
Three elected Student Senate officers secured Investment Club seats last Wednesday, including Josiah Dillon, the senate treasurer-elect, who became president of the organization. “I could see how this could make people nervous, but I’m not concerned. We’re well represented [in the senate] but at the same time I think both clubs attract ambitious people,” Dillon said.
Next year, these leaders will not only operate on a $329 budget for the Investment Club but will manage an $857,511 student activities budget. Along with Dillon, senate vice president-elect Bryce Kirk will act as director of research, and Brody O’Connor, elected as student trustee and senate secretary, will become the new vice president for the Investment Club.
The three standing executive members of the Investment Club are not the only close ties the organization has to the senate. Everett McNair, senate president-elect, is also a former Investment Club member.
Investment Club member Jake Kamen joined the senate this spring, appearing in events such as the spring 2015 talent show, which he co-hosted. Brandon Guerette, Investment Club member and local drummer, has recently been involved with the senate’s performing arts committee.
On Mar. 2, an initiative from the Investment Club to manage a small portion of senate funding was presented in front of the senate. “It was an idea to make sure that we could set the groundwork to see if it was possible,” said Kamen.
The Investment Club-run senate fund was never initiated, but discussions continued with the FSA about the legality of the initiative and the alumni foundation, which provided the Investment Club with money to invest. Dillon hopes to look further into the fund for next year.
Along with looking into investing senate funds, the senate has promoted the Investment Club challenge which ends May 16. The Investment Club plans to compete in the Adirondack Cup Challenge next year, facing 24 schools in the Adirondack challenge from Mar. 4 to May 6.
Investment Club programming does not always coincide with senate interests. Brandon Combs, Investment Club president, presented a proposal last semester for an Apr. 17 Wall Street trip costing about $3,000, including funds for a dinner cruise. The proposal was rejected.
“The Student Senate encouraged them to rework those numbers, consider fundraising, and come back with a smaller number that would be more affordable for the Student Senate, because we believed it doesn’t really cost that much to send a group of students down to the city,” said Harrison.
In February, the Investment Club voted 13 to 9 in favor of cutting the cruise, lowering expenses by $120 per person. The senate approved the revised special funding request, on Apr. 13 which did not exceed $1,000.
Along with their experience in the Investment Club, the makeup of next year’s senate has also caused controversy. “You need to find a way that’s going to make students feel like you do care and you are representing, and it’s going to be very hard coming from all white males that are business majors,” said My’Asia Colon, senate vice president.
“I see us less as a powerhouse and more as people who have the mindset of business,” said Kamen, who described senate office positions as the ideal positions for business majors.
Kalijah Crumpler, former student senator, BLSU member, and former member of the Investment Club, said there should be a cap on club and major representation in the senate. “It forces you to go out of your bubble. You want to be able to branch out and understand different mentalities,” he said.
“As long as the student body is involved and they try to get members from different majors and members from different clubs, we can have a greater impact on the events that do occur here,” said Crumpler.
Xavier Miller was the only racial minority candidate running for executive office in the Student Senate this year. He came in third in the presidential election. “We’re getting off to a great start. We had record-breaking polls this semester but we have a long way to go when it comes to diversity,” said Miller.
“You shouldn’t have so much of an E-board to do with one club because they oversee all of the other clubs. It’s hard to prevent any type of bias from occurring,” said Simeon Hart, a BLSU member who regularly attends senate meetings. Members of the senate abstain from voting on issues that affect clubs they are members of.
McNair mentioned difficulties in promoting diversity within the senate. “Most of the people do nothing, and then there’s people who say, ‘I want to do something more,’ and they do everything. They try to do as much as they can do because that’s what they like to do,” he said.
Many relationships in the Investment Club and senate surpass majors and club involvement. Kamen and Combs both grew up in Saratoga Springs and have been friends for years, while O’Connor and Dillon also had a close relationship prior to Hudson Valley, attending school together in Ballston Spa.
“We’ve all worked well together. We’re all friends, and some people could see that as colluding. However, I see that as people who really like each other, have common goals and will continue to work together in the future,” said Dillon.