Neal Choudhary puts years in JFC at center of platform

Credit: Courtesy of Neal Choudhary Credit: Courtesy of Neal Choudhary

Student Body Vice President of Finance (SBVPF) is a large role with a large responsibility. This person oversees the allocations of over $1.2 million by the Joint Funding Committee (JFC) to all of the student organizations on campus. Neal Choudhary, a sophomore majoring in finance, is running for this position and draws heavily on his previous experience serving on JFC for two years to help shape his platform. “The title is finance but this is mostly just an allocations process. That’s the best word for it. There’s not much finance involved other than the fact that it involves money, so I think that to be able to do this job you need to have experience.” After serving on JFC for two years, Choudhary decided to do something about the changes he wants to make. “I’ve learned a lot about the process as well as seen that there’s a lot of room for improvement. That’s where my platform comes in.” Choudhary breaks his platform down to three basic ideas: diversity, consistency, and transparency.

Choudhary wants to ensure that the needs of the entire campus are met by having a diverse JFC. “First of all, each year in JFC the amount of membership changes. In past years it’s been 30 or 40, this year it’s been less.” His ideal JFC would have “around 30 and 40” members. His reasoning behind this was that it’s “not too much so it doesn’t get too hectic, but it’s not too small that it’s biased.” Choundary focuses heavily on wanting the process to be beneficial for everyone. “I think that finding a good balance is very important and even more important than [that is] making sure that the members are a fair representation of everyone on campus. We have many types of student [organizations] and it’s very diverse and that diversity should be represented within the members. We shouldn’t have all the members from one type of an [organization] they should be from all over the campus.”

He’s served under two very different leaders and has seen the JFC go in different directions already. “Basically each year a new SBVPF comes in. They have a different philosophy. They think that things should be different and because of that you might just find that the JFC budget allocation changes a lot. Some organizations get caught in the middle of it, and it’s really not their fault. I think there should be stability. You shouldn’t just do a 180 one year, that shouldn’t keep happening.” This is why Choundary has made consistency such a key element of his platform. He wants to ensure that the process is as easy for organizations as possible.

His final platform issue is transparency. “Every organization on campus is getting funding from [the JFC] and it matters a lot. It impacts you a lot more than you think it does. It’s kind of like a knowledge based process. The organizations that know the most can reap the most benefits.” Choundary even proposed a JFC awareness week just to keep organizations involved and knowledgeable of the process. “I think to make it fair you have to make sure that everyone knows about it [by] improving communication and maybe hosting a JFC awareness week where we host different events maybe we serve some food and people can come in, and we [can] talk to them.”

While Choundary does heavily rely on experience, what he really wants more than anything is for voters to make an informed decision. “I harp on experience, but I’m not attacking the other [candidate]. I would encourage all the voters to go out there, look at the platforms, talk to people that have been involved, and vote for whoever you think is best. I’m not asking you to vote for me I’m asking you to vote for whoever you think is the most qualified candidate and I think that just getting involved is the best thing.”