If you are considering running for Treasurer or interested in what our State Chair does, this blog has advice from former Treasurer’s on their year in the position. Our Treasurer represents our students and the board’s interests in many capacities from presenting our budget to meeting with leaders on university campuses. The advice given in this blog is from the following people listed below.
Former Treasurer Sean Duckworth | 2016-2017
What are the top three skills/attributes that helped you be successful?
Patience, diligence, and focus. Understanding that things take time and don't happen over night, continuing to work and stay committed, and keeping track of what needs to be done and knowing how to prioritize are going to be some of your best friends in the job. (Additionally, engaging with your fellow officers and the staff - you're going to be spending a lot of time together and you need to all be on the same page and remember that, at the end of the day, everyone is there because of the mission and goals of the organization. This was the easiest thing because the staff are amazing and my fellow officers were as well).
How time consuming was this position? How often were you in the cities/traveling to campuses?
It really depends both on the position and on how much you want to put into it. As Treasurer, I wanted to make sure I kept in regular touch with the staff and helped out as much as possible, and signed as many documents as I could (most bills or financial items in the organization require two signatures, usually an officer and the executive director). I was in the cities at least once a month (for office meetings and MnSCU/Minnesota State meetings), and I traveled to the campuses as much as I could for the regular board meetings and to make presentations. I also really love policy work and getting super involved.
Were there any responsibilities you had in your officer role that you didn't think about when running?
Sitting on hiring committees and serving as the Students United representative on various committees and advisory groups - I served as one of the co-chairs of the MnSCU Policy Council, which meets for four hours every other month, as well as having the monthly meetings with the Chancellor and senior MnSCU/Minnesota State administrators - is something that you need to be prepared for. Testifying and attending legislative hearings (the latter part in particular are something I enjoyed) are a benefit because you get to see and hear what's going on directly and get a chance to be heard by those making the decisions. The office meetings are something that you should definitely work hard at attending because that's where a lot of the internal planning and discussion takes place.
For students considering running what advice do you have for them?
Be ready for long hours and being able to travel across the state. Be sure you're able to commit to attending not just the board meetings but also the office meetings and all the other obligations that come with the position. Be sure you're familiar with the governing documents and what the responsibilities are. Don't forget that you're there to serve all 70,000 students in the system, and that they need a strong voice to add to theirs. And enjoy and embrace every moment you can because it's truly an awesome experience.
What was your favorite part about being a Students United (MSUSA) officer?
Feeling like I was a part of something bigger than me, working for constructive change, with likeminded people, with the ability to speak with influencers and decision-makers, and both have myself and my organization respected.