Junior math major Benjamin Zhang is running unopposed for Student Body Vice President for Finance (SBVPF).
Zhang’s platform emphasizes fiscal transparency and an improved Joint Funding Committee (JFC) allocation process.
Zhang has experience in student government; he currently serves in Student Senate for the Mellon College of Science and sits on the body’s Finance Committee, which metes out Senate’s special allocation fund. Zhang is also a member of the JFC, which is overseen by the SBVPF and allocates funding generated by the Student Activities Fee to over 200 campus organizations.
“One of my initiatives as SBVPF would be to increase fiscal transparency at all levels, including working with the university to release more financial information pertaining to how money is spent,” Zhang wrote in his platform. “Students should be informed about where their money goes to, whether it’s the student activities fee or tuition dollars.”
Zhang said during last Wednesday’s debate that fiscal transparency should not apply to just student government.
He promises to work with the university, as well as other organizations that parcel out money, such as the Student Dormitory Council (SDC), to make fiscal information more readily accessible for campus members.
Zhang is also placing a focus on making the JFC funding system more clear and giving student organization leaders a more prominent voice in the process.
“A lot of organizations are confused by how JFC allocates money, and how we come up with our metrics,” Zhang said on Wednesday. “One of my goals is to host an open metrics meeting, in which students can propose their own metrics.”
This metric, Zhang wrote in his platform, “will allow the JFC to make more informed decisions to create allocations that better serve the needs of student organizations.”
Zhang, according to his platform, is currently working on an initiative in Senate to index all funding sources at Carnegie Mellon that students and organizations can access.
Outside of Student Senate, Zhang does research for the Statistics Department and is a brother of Delta Tau Delta, as well as a member of the Spring Carnival Committee.
Zhang grew up in Canada and is an avid fan of hockey.