Thursday night, the Student Activities Council elected College junior Jen Chaquette as its new chair. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Chaquette to discuss her goals for the upcoming year, along with SAC’s newest funding moratorium.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What was your role in SAC before you were elected chair?
Jen Chaquette: I got elected to SAC as a sophomore after being elected the vice president of finance of Penn Mock Trial, because you have to be on the executive board of a SAC-recognized group in order to run for SAC exec. I was a general member until February of my sophomore year. And then, at that time, I got elected communications director of SAC exec.
DP: Why did you decide to run for chair?
JC: I’m pretty involved on campus between Mock Trial, my sorority and SAC, and I decided that out of all of those things SAC was the extracurricular that I really wanted to focus on for my senior year. I am continuing with Mock Trial and my sorority, but I decided on SAC for my big leadership position on campus.
DP: What are your plans for the coming year as SAC chair?
JC: I want groups to collaborate more, and I think SAC can be an organization that fosters that in addition to our financial responsibilities. The activities fair, in my opinion, is really good for recruitment … but something that we don’t have is a forum for groups to come together to collaborate and share ideas. Something that I would like to do in addition to the activities fair is a coffeehouse-type event in Houston Hall. I think we would see, for example, a bunch of cultural groups and performing arts groups who maybe want to collaborate because they share a similar culture or similar mission in that regard.
DP: How do you personally feel about the strength of SAC’s new debt policy, which comes in response to the moratorium on recognizing new student groups?
JC: I think that the new policies will go a long way in helping deter groups from going into debt, which is obviously our goal in the first place. I think by adjusting the penalties to the numbers that we did, that will help deter groups going into debt. I think that teaching groups financial responsibility is one of our goals as SAC exec board.
DP: So would you say it’s more about advising and having more open communication with groups?
JC: Absolutely. I think that a lot of times SAC gets seen as a checkbook. We have money from the University, and we are responsible for allocating it to groups during our big budget allocation cycle, and then we’re responsible for overseeing contingencies throughout the year. We’re also here as a resource, and that’s a fact that gets overlooked. The nine of us are incredibly knowledgeable, and that’s something I really want to focus on, especially given our financial situation. Using our combined knowledge can help our groups a lot, I think.
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