Last week, Senior Anya Tudisco, Chair of ASWC’s Finance Committee, sat down with ASWC Unpacked to discuss her position and time in ASWC. The Seattle native described her participation in ASWC as the greatest influence on her experience at Whitman. She is always willing to discuss students’ ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org
ASWC Unpacked: Why did you initially join ASWC?
Tudisco: That’s actually an interesting question — it was kind of […] a whim. Something that drew me to Whitman in the first place was that everyone seemed involved and engaged in what was happening on campus; I wanted to be a part of that energy. So, I was looking for ways to do that when I got here, and I knew that I was going to be involved in music and classes, but beyond that I wasn’t really sure. […] I went to a presentation at Cordiner for first-years and heard some of the upperclassmen speak about [ASWC,] and saw that student government here isn’t at all what it was in high school. It sounded like they were talking about issues that actually mattered to students and life on a college campus, and I felt like it would be a good use of my time. So I put together a silly campaign, and [the election] worked out. I also met a couple of upperclassmen […] to talk about ASWC. I met with [Tatiana Kaehler], who was here last year. That was how we first became friends: I asked her on a weird coffee date and we talked about ASWC and Finance. And I was like, “Fun! She seems great, this seems great…” And I haven’t regretted.
AU: Were on the Finance committee your first year?
Tudisco: Yes, and it was a great experience. [Without my meeting with Tatiana], I would’ve run for ASWC […] but wouldn’t have noted a preference to serve on the Finance committee. She was a year older and had been on the Finance committee before. During our meeting she imparted some wisdom about how, though Finance doesn’t sound cool, and I’m not really a math-minded person, […] what you’re really doing is sharpening your decision-making and diplomacy skills. It’s also just a really cool way to find out what’s going on on campus and new student initiatives; it’s not about accounting. The most accounting that happens is in [the Finance Chair’s] job, and it’s not much at all.
AU: What do you do as the Finance Chair?
Tudisco: It’s a little different than being a Senator, though I would […] say that three years of being a Senator […] prepared me well for this position. Basically, I am the point person for any student on campus who wants to get funding for a travel experience, like a conference, competition, or festival. [I speak with students if] they want [funding] to start a new club, and with people who […] have cool ideas for new events or programs. Some students start projects that work both with Whitman and the Walla Walla community. I train all of the budget managers for the clubs so that […] they feel confident and comfortable knowing how to spend their funds without going into the red and all that good stuff.
AU: Has anyone “gone into the red”?
Tudisco: It’s happened a couple of times. Fortunately, there are quite a few people keeping an eye on things, so it would take a lot for something to really slip through the cracks. It’s fun looking through the Finance archives to see crazy things that have happened; I read a memo last week about some student from 2002 that tried to embezzle money. But nothing like that has happened like that in my time, as far as I’m aware. I sit on the President’s Budget Advisory Committee, which is a group of faculty, staff, administrators and students that meet multiple times throughout the fall semester and put together a proposed budget for the college. I’m also on the Trustees’ budget committee — that’s the committee that actually votes on the budget and puts it into practice for the following year. So, I’m kind of a liaison between students and the administration.