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November 1, 2013

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CUSC In Brief

Clark has a wonderful weekly newspaper called The Scarlet (the editor-in-chief of which is another blogger, Jeremy!) The Scarlet has a number of recurring segments – News of the Weird, Police Log, and Sigmund Says. Among these is a short column called CUSC In Brief, diligently compiled by Hannah Rosenblum. Past entries have included tidbits such as “CUSC President Rian Watt says that costumes can be a little inappropriate” regarding our Halloween event. It’s a good column.

As you may remember, I ran for and won a seat on Clark’s Undergraduate Student Council (the CUSC of “CUSC In Brief.”) It’s a refreshing change of pace to be on a student board that means something. High school student councils are exercises in vanity and resume-padding – they have little to no actual power and even less influence with the student body or the administration. But CUSC is different.

And a website!

         For one thing, we have a logo!

Every Clarkie pays the Student Activities Fee each year, which is collected into a giant mass of money – about $770,000 – called the Student Activities Fund. Various bits of that are siphoned off into constitutionally required spending - The Scarlet, Clark TV, Spree Day, the Student Sustainability Fund – but the rest is given to CUSC to spend as we see fit.

           A true-to-life depiction of our President, Rian Watt,                   spending/stealing student money as he sees fit.

This means that for the first time, I’m part of an organization with actual power. Every single club at Clark comes to us for their budget and expenditures, as does any student who wants to, say, go to an academic conference. It’s an enormous responsibility. Finance Committee, which I’m a member of, just started November audits, which means that much of my so-called “free time” in the next week will be spent poring over club spending and emailing club treasurers to find out what they’re doing with their money.

In other words, we do a lot. But we don’t have to. Everyone who was on council last year keeps on making dark references to last year’s CUSC – which apparently was not only responsible for gross financial mismanagement but also disliked kittens and puppies.

Institutions only function well if the people in them work hard and do well. CUSC is a great institution – but it’s not a guarantee that it will stay that way. It’s because we work hard and feel responsibility to our constituents that this year’s CUSC is so awesome.

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