If you had $1 million dollars, and you were looking for someone to entrust with your fortune, who would you choose? Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton or Donald Trump? Hopefully you’d choose Mr. Trump because he knows what it takes to manage money. He’s got the experience necessary to navigate the complicated world of Wall Street and to help your money make money.
Think this is a ridiculous question? Think again. In exactly one week you’ll be voting for your next President, the person responsible for overseeing the $11 million dollar ASI budget and advocating for students to the administration and city. From experience, I know that experience matters.
Now don’t get carried away, it’s not like the President is free to go on shopping sprees to Saks Fifth Avenue, but they will be entrusted with the responsibility of making decisions on your behalf about how mandatory student fees are spent.
Going back to that ridiculous question, a university is just as complicated as the New York Stock Exchange, and your ASI president is the one who’s expected to know who to go to for what, where they’re located and how to approach them. You want a president who is able to answer any question at any time, and if they’re not, they better know exactly where to go and who to ask to find out.
This is no small task with hundreds of administrators in countless departments (not to mention SLO city) all with different responsibilities, personalities and abilities. It’s not impossible to map out the university to a point where you understand what can be done and how to do it, but it takes time. When selecting your next president it is imperative that you choose the one who you believe has the experience needed to navigate the complicated world of Cal Poly and who can represent you best by entering office prepared.
Of course, you also want someone who’s approachable, personable and friendly, but being a good president goes far beyond being a nice person and a good speaker. The best candidate for president is the one who’s already done their homework; someone who has taken the time to get to know how the university works; and someone who has already put in the effort to get involved and make a difference within the university.
The reason experience matters, is not because someone without experience can’t do a good job. It’s because if they come in without knowing the ropes, they spend half the year learning their way around, and the other half wishing they would’ve known how things worked earlier.
When you have a chance to elect a solid leader with proven experience, you are guaranteed to achieve greater benefits throughout the year because your president will be prepared to hit the ground running, continue ongoing efforts and create new and innovative initiatives right away that will improve the student experience.
The bottom-line is there is an incredibly important choice around the corner that only YOU can make. When choosing the perfect candidate, ask tough questions, and be critical of their answers. Pay attention to the ones who have answers that make sense, especially if they can already suggest what should be done and how they plan on doing it (or already are.) See you at the polls.
Tylor Middlestadt is the ASI president and Mustang Daily columnist who encourages you to choose the best candidate and get out and vote next week. He can be reached at 756-5828, email@example.com, AIM: CPASI President