Election 2017



Candidate For President

Tanja Aho - "Vote Aho for President: Professional Leadership, Passionate Advocacy, and Dedicated Service"
Candidate Statement:
Vote Aho for President: Professional Leadership, Passionate Advocacy, and Dedicated Service

We remain in a politically important moment for graduate students: UB keeps raising its fees on us without significantly improving its services. Graduate students are one of the most valuable assets for UB, and yet we are still not being treated accordingly. Parenting students, international students, and students without funding especially struggle to make ends meet. The GSA can and should serve as a voice for all of you who feel that UB needs to live up to its commitment of being an R-1 university. I am here to represent your concerns and ensure you get the most out of your time at UB.

For the past year, I have served you as GSA President, building a network of alliances across campus. I have spearheaded campaigns to provide more support for parenting students, to even out TA/RA/GA incomes across campus, to make on-campus housing more affordable, and to fight UB’s fee increases. have pushed the university for more professionalization funding and workshops, better IT services, a better parking and housing strategy conducive to graduate students’ needs, and more accessible buildings and events. I have worked to thoroughly revise and update our organization’s constitution and by-laws, increase GSA’s transparency and outreach, and implement the services that you want. Whenever UB seemed to be lacking in its promise of equality and inclusion, I have spoken out and encouraged other student government leaders to do the same.

Before becoming GSA President, I had spent five years on the GSA Senate for the American Studies GSA and the UB Society of Feminists. My experience as GSEU department outreach coordinator and my own experience as a teaching assistant means I am very familiar with the specific problems of TA/RA/GAs. Furthermore, as an international student, I understand the specific struggles that over a quarter of graduate students at UB face.

If you vote Aho for President, I promise to keep advocating for all of you and will provide the leadership we need so that you can focus on your studies, your career, and the work that is important to you. We need leadership that is professional and resolute. If you vote for me, I will ensure that we keep fighting fee increases, address the lack of appropriate services for graduate students, and use the GSA to help UB understand that we are one of its most valuable assets.

Vote Aho for President: Professional Leadership, Passionate Advocacy, and Dedicated Service


Candidates For Vice President

Amy Miu - "Your vote MATTERS! Please choose financially-literate and legally-minded officers. PLEASE. Thanks!"
Candidate Statement:
Hi Everyone! I’m currently the GSA Vice-President, and I’m running for the third (and likely the last) time. I’m from the Classics department, but I have accounting and legal experience from other career paths. My platform hasn’t changed, “maintenance.” My main goal is to ensure the Graduate Student Association continues for future graduate students, while providing optimal services for our current people. My concerns are always about trying to keep the clubs running, ensure our internal staff can do their jobs (i.e. Programming, MDRF), to be a second pair of eyes for the budget, and mostly, compliance (not to get sued because we all love our conference and club funding). THIS YEAR IN PARTICULAR is an appeal to vote for officers, I don’t even care if I’m not considered one of them for you, who (1) understand both financial and legal documentation and (2) know that if the association cannot meet its operating costs (its general obligations), it will fall like any organization. Please protect this wonderful affiliated, not UB-owned, student-governed association that protects a separate and unique voice (of the graduate population), and that has also operated well for over forty years.

Karl Sarvestani - "I’m experienced in serving UB’s GSA: let me do it again. Is that fifteen words?"

Candidate Statement:
Hi. I’m Karl, a Ph.D. student in Linguistics. I don’t have any grand, sweeping platform for what I will do as GSA Vice President, but that’s not really what’s needed for this job. Being an effective GSA Officer requires simply an unwavering dedication to protecting and advancing graduate student interests. That is precisely what I have delivered as a past member of the E-Board, and that is precisely what I would like to deliver again.
During my time as a UB graduate student, I’ve been a graduate instructor in Linguistics and CDS, an active participant in my departmental club, a member of the GSA senate, the GSA Finance Committee, the SBI Board of Directors, and I served as GSA Treasurer for two years. All of these experiences have put me in contact with a wide range of graduate students here at UB and given me a wealth of experience that will help me better serve the graduate student community.
As Treasurer, I oversaw revisions to the Budgetary Guidelines, Community Outreach Fund, Scholarly Publication Fund, Conference Funding and the Mark Diamond Research Fund which simplified the process of application and approval, eliminating unnecessary red tape and making more money readily available to individual graduate students and graduate student clubs. I was able to balanced the GSA budget without any increase to student activity fees in part by spearheading an initiative to restructure the financially beleagured SBI. I also worked to successfully strengthen the democratic character of the GSA by devolving authority for the budget and financial policies from the Office of Treasurer to the Finance Committee and by removing the undue influence of political parties from GSA elections.
The most important role of the GSA Vice President is to oversee the departmental, international and special interest clubs. I believe that my background in Linguistics helps give me perspective on this because it is an inherently interdisciplinary field straddling the humanities and social and physical sciences. The inherently international outlook of our field also gives me an important perspective in dealing with international clubs. I understand the needs and challenges that face a wide range of student clubs here at UB.
I believe that my extensive track record of experience and accomplishment with GSA testify to my ability and determination to serve UB’s graduate students.. I would love to have the opportunity to once again step up and work as hard as I can for graduate students, and that is just what I will be able to do with your support.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/karlviceprez/

Candidates For Treasurer

Anastasia Stepanova - ""B%&#*, better have my money!" - And as your Treasurer I always will :-)"
Candidate Statement:
Hi there, I am a 6th year Ph.D. student in Linguistics and a Fulbright scholar. I am also your incumbent GSA Treasurer.

Throughout my graduate career I have been active with several clubs, and in student government. I’ve served as Webmaster and the Treasurer for the Graduate Linguistics Association, as Editor of the student journal “ABD”, and have been the Treasurer of the Spanish Learners’ club for 3 years.

This past year I have served as the GSA Treasurer, the chair of the Finance Committee and an SBI board member. During my term Conference Funding policies became more inclusive, MDRF policies were revised to eliminate linguistic discrimination against ESL students (grammar penalty). I was involved in modernization of the SBI accounting system and revision of the Constitution and other GSA documentation to improve GSA functionality. I have also opened a new service ‘Statistics lab’ partly funding it using SBI grant money.

My principle is to be frugal and efficient on operating expenses in order to make sure that GSA policies meet student needs and that the fee benefits the student community to the last cent. In addition, my personal experience as an international student brings a different and valuable perspective to the GSA’s decision-making process.

With your support, in the coming year I intend to:
1. Continue working on opening up the decision-making processes to the students to make it more democratic;
2. Review current conference funding levels and evaluate arguments for an increase (as a part of the newly established Services Committee);
3. Focus on making the GSA workflow more efficient and environmentally responsible.

Vote for experience and dedication! Vote Anastasia.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/nastia2017/
Tilottama Turkar - "Trustworthy, efficient and a responsible person with hands on experience in the field of finance."
Candidate Statement:
Greetings to all,

I, Tilottama Turkar, am a first year MS student in finance and I am running for the position of Treasurer in the 2017 GSA election.

Many might think that a treasurer has to only handle money and allot budget to any event/cause. A treasurer is primarily responsible of overseeing the management and reporting of organization’s finances. To be knowledgeable about organization’s funds, financial policies and to keep the board regularly informed of key financial events, trends, concern, assessment of fiscal health in addition to completing required financial reports.

Since I am doing my masters in finance, the responsibility of the treasury role will not be new for me. I will be in a better position to understand the financial aspects of GSA and will be able to give the best advice or option to the senate. I will develop efficient financial systems and workable budgets which will help to increase the overall GSA budget rather than putting it in deficit. There are 4 qualities required to excel as a treasurer and I firmly believe that I possess all these qualities. These qualities are Knowledge, Communications, Planning and Strategy. Having said that, I do not mean to go out of my way and do things that are illegitimate. I understand my limits and I will try to further the financial scope of GSA with the help of all legitimate resources we have.

Once more, I would like to emphasize my excitement of this opportunity to run for the role of treasurer. In closing, I would like to say that I am genuinely interested to be a part of GSA and will be perfect for the role of treasurer as it perfectly fits my qualifications. And according to David Lee as he correctly quotes, “COUNT ON SOMEONE WHO CAN COUNT.” Kindly support me in the 2017 GSA election for the role of Treasurer.

Thank you.


Be sure to vote!

The official Candidate Debate will take place during the Tuesday, April 4th Senate Meeting at 6:30pm in the Student Union Theater.

Absentee ballots:

If you would like to request an absentee ballot for the 2017-2018 GSA E-Board elections, please email the Election Committee Chair, Alexandra Agostinelli ajagosti@buffalo.edu by Monday, March 27, 2017.

Absentee ballots will be mailed by Wednesday, April 5, 2017 with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. All returned absentee ballots must be postmarked/mailed within the United States and its territories by Thursday, April 13, 2017. Any ballots postmarked after Thursday, April 13, 2017 will be destroyed sealed.