Vinson looks back on year in financial affairs

The SGA will say goodbye to the 2009-2010 staff next week, causing Chris Vinson, vice president for financial affairs, to look back on his experiences with the SGA.

Vinson first served in the SGA as treasurer and as a proxy member on the Student Football Ticket Commission under former SGA President Cason Kirby. As the current vice president of financial affairs, Vinson was also given the responsibilities of vice chairman and chairman of the financial affairs committee, respectively. To further his political career, he said, he plans to attend law school next year at the University.

Vinson said his main goal in office was to distribute the Financial Affairs Committee’s funds to as many student groups as “fairly and efficiently” as possible. Vinson said the goal was the “driving force” behind putting the application for FAC funds online.

“In my terms as treasurer and finance VP, we have successfully allocated our entire budget both times,” Vinson said.

Thinking back on his personal undertakings while serving in the SGA, Vinson said his biggest accomplishment was organizing the Second Annual UA Scholarship Date Auction, an event cosponsored by the SGA and the National Society of Black Engineers. Each ticket entered the purchaser into a contest to win a date with an auctionee, which included students like starting quarterback Greg McElroy, a scholarship or various other door prizes.

“I had never organized an event up until this one, so I was initially very overwhelmed. Somehow, we were able to pull the event off and raised $5,000 in scholarships and $1,000 for NSBE,” Vinson said.

In terms of people he admires, Vinson said that he has great respect for John Patterson, a former Alabama governor. While Vinson noted that he does not see eye-to-eye with Patterson’s Democratic viewpoint, he admires him for more personal issues.

Patterson assumed his father’s position as attorney general after he was murdered by the mob in Phenix City.

“He was raised in Alexander City, Ala., which is where I’m from, so I think that first attracted me to his story,” Vinson said. “He fought in World War II and came home to graduate from the law school here at the University of Alabama. His role in Alabama history has been somewhat overlooked, however, because his term was right before the first term of George Wallace.”

When the word “SGA” is searched on UA’s Web site, the link that appears says that the SGA’s main goal is to defend “the rights and privileges of student self-government.” However, Vinson said he is not sure what the SGA really means to students, saying that it is “very unfortunate” many students do not know the role the SGA plays in campus life.

“I think many students aren’t aware of many of the things the SGA does for them, and how hard many talented people work on their various projects,” Vinson said.

Despite some student backlash about the SGA following the Pasadena, Calif., spending incident, Vinson said he is very confident in the leadership for the upcoming year. Having worked closely with vice president for financial affairs-elect Edward Patton and president-elect James Fowler, Vinson said the SGA will be in good hands.

“I know all the executives-elect have accomplished many things in their young SGA careers,” Vinson said. “Edward has worked side-by-side with me for the past year, and I know he is very capable of taking over the role of finance VP. I don’t think I have ever met anyone as dedicated to the SGA as James Fowler.”

Patton had good things to say about Vinson in return.

“He has been a great person to learn the position of VP-finance under. He has been a great co-worker, as well as friend, and I will miss having him in the office in the upcoming year,” Patton said.

Fowler echoed Patton and said Vinson has been one of his close friends and is a very reliable person, with “good ideas on how the SGA can become more transparent in an effective and efficient manner.”

“He has always put students first,” Fowler said. “He is a great guy with a servant’s heart.”

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