Interview With SGA Secretary Elizabeth Yun

Michelle Lee '16 Design Editor This week the Sophian would like to present Elizabeth Yun ’15, the sharp, fiscally-minded Student Government Association treasurer. As the head of most, if not all, SGA financial transactions, it is no surprise that Yun, an Economics Major, is well versed in budgeting and holds a lot of responsibility in her hands. But that’s not the end of it – did you know Yun is also an English Literature Minor, or that she is on the House Student Events Committee for her house? Find out more about Yun and how she goes the extra mile as Smith’s one and only SGA treasurer.

Where is your hometown and what is your favorite thing about it?

Leonia, N.J. I love that it’s a small town. Very small – a mile radius. Everyone grew up with each other and knows each other.

What’s your major? Can you describe a favorite class or subject?

Economics. I’m also an English Literature Minor. My favorite class, even to this day, is Utopia and the Human Nature. It was a first year seminar in the English literature department, taught by Professor [William] Oram. I was always fascinated by the idea of a perfect society. What is a perfect society? Having defined what one is, is it possible [for humans as they are to create one]? Utopias are an interesting topic, with much literature and history to explore.

What brought you to SGA? (Please also briefly list your prior positions.)

I was an HSEC and currently am the treasurer for my house, Park. I enjoyed working with a team, fundraising and planning parties for my house. I wanted to be more involved in the larger Smith community and make an impact. I was also interested in how Smith organizations are financially managed.

What are your main duties as treasurer? Guide us through a week in the SGA treasurer’s life.

I oversee the SGA budget and all monetary transactions. I chair a separate committee of six SGA members that allocates two funds, the Sawyer Fund and the Conference Fund. I also sit on the Organization Resource Committee every week.

Most of my time goes towards reviewing funding requests. On Monday, I review the funding requests for that week and prepare for Thursday’s meeting. On Wednesday, I sit on the ORC, where some funding requests may fall under both the ORC Chair’s discretion and mine. On Thursday, I attend the Cabinet meeting and afterwards oversee the Funding Committee meeting. Throughout the week, I sign reimbursement forms, okay any transactions that happen within the SGA and resolve any other issues that come up with funding requests.

Following on your schedule, how busy is the workload? 

The workload is a lot. I was overwhelmed at first, but more so because at the beginning of the year there is more to do, such as creating a budget and dealing with accumulated funding requests. Though there’s a lot of work, I enjoy what I do and the experience is rewarding. The payoff is greater than what I put in.

As a rising senior, what are your plans for next year, SGA or otherwise? 

I am very aware that I am near my last year at Smith. I want to take advantage of many great things Smith offers, such as the Draper business plan competition, the rock climbing class and the myriad lectures outside of classes. At the same time, I want to continue projects I have started as the SGA treasurer. There are too many things I want to do. I’m not exactly sure how I will fit all of them into my last year.

What tokens of advice you would have for the next SGA treasurer?

Being treasurer is not just about managing money. There is a lot of creativity and communication involved. Creativity because there is always room for improvement – I am always asking myself: Is what we have a good system? How can I improve it? Communication because problems always come up and part of resolving an issue is listening to and understanding the other party, and then conveying my opinion and concerns in the best way possible.

What are your plans after Smith, both short- and long-term? Has SGA influenced your concentration of study or career ambitions (or vice versa)?

I can’t say for sure. In the very long term, I see myself owning a business. I have always been interested in entrepreneurship. Though I can’t say SGA has influenced my career ambitions, I can say that through my position I am gaining a lot of experience and skills as a student leader and as a member of SGA, which will be helpful later on.

When and where are your office hours?

Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the SGA office.