Today, applications for SUSA’s executive board open for all positions—President, and Vice Presidents of Administration, Community, Events, Finance, Fundraising, Marketing, Professional Affairs, Service, Strategy & Operations, and Technology. As Team 2018 prepares to pass the torch, executive board member Ari Riske reflects on her time as VP of Events.
“I was on the events committee before I ever ran for an executive board position,” she remembers. “All of my friends were applying… we all wanted to be a part of SUSA.” For her and her friends, SUSA was a way to get more involved in Smith while also learning about the innerworkings of the business school.
“I wanted to get to know more people in the business school, and I wanted to understand how it worked more, so those were the big reasons I joined.”
Although Riske enjoyed her time on the committee, she wanted to realize change for Smith on a greater scale. “I loved my experience on the committee,” she assures, “but it was always frustrating that I felt like I could do more than I was given.”
Then, in 2017, one of Riske’s close friends took over as VP of Technology when the former VP of Tech stepped down. “It was always so cool to hear about the stuff he was doing, the stuff he was deciding on,” she says. “I really wanted to be a part of that, so I pretty quickly knew I wanted to be on the board.”
Riske first applied for the VP of Professional Affairs position, but was chosen as the VP of Events because of her former experience on the committee. As part of the committee, she had seen things she wanted to change. Now, she could change them.
“One thing I tried to do with my committee was to give them more autonomy over the events,” Riske explains. “They got to make a lot of the decisions rather than me making them and then handing off the work to them. That was one of the things that really frustrated me when I was on the committee.”
She is especially proud of her committee members for “the way they’ve been able to take ownership of events… and handle conflicts, issues, and deadlines.” She hopes that, “whatever they choose to do after SUSA, they can translate this experience.”
Riske herself has been able to leverage her experience in SUSA to succeed in the professional world. “For my internship over the summer, I had to lead a team of five, and they were all across the country, so it was all virtual. My experience in SUSA made that so much more manageable because that’s what I do with SUSA on a weekly basis.”
Part of Riske’s responsibility is making sure the next VP of Events is prepared for the position. She advises that “anybody that runs for any position needs to have a well-versed understanding of the entire Smith community, an idea of the larger picture.” Additionally, she says that “the biggest thing is learning how to delegate, so you have to have people on your committee that you can trust… If you can’t trust the team you’re working with, it’s just not going to be productive.”
Over the past two years, Riske has put 10 to 15 hours of work into her position. “I think that SUSA has really influenced my college experience,” she reflects. “I feel very well connected to a lot of different parts of Smith and I really feel a strong sense of belonging here—I think SUSA is directly tied to that.”
The executive board application is open until Sunday, October 28th. Apply here!