Abbott leaves SC for Student Activities job

Only one job was appealing enough to lure James Abbott away from the position of Student Confederation Comptroller; he started that position Aug. 14 in the AU Student Activities office as the new Accounts Specialist.

"In this position I have a lot of the same abilities to help out with a lot of the same student activities. I'm in a position to help out more than I was in the beginning," Abbot, a senior in the School of Public Affairs, said.

As the Account Specialist, Abbott will assist the comptrollers of the SC and Graduate Student Association in managing their budgets as well as the numerous clubs and organizations which fall outside the domain of student government.

Though budget management will remain Abbott's main function, the nature of his new position is slightly different.

"In the comptroller's office, there's a decision making ability because you are empowered with a very large budget and a very large chunk there, and here it's kind of like a support position because other people are making the decisions, and [I am] simply carrying them out," he said.

In addition to working with the coordinators in the Student Activities office to facilitate the programming of student organizations, Abbott is specifically responsible for training the treasurers of each organization to manage their budgets under the university's system.

"It was a pretty easy transition, so that uniquely qualified him [for the position]," Karen Gerlach, Coordinator for Student Media and Government and the chairwoman of the committee which chose Abbott for the position.

The comptroller position gave Abbott direct experience, she said. In addition, she said Abbott relates to students well and has additional management experience in the restaurant sector.

Now a full-time AU employee and a full-time student, Abbott said he did not have to give up his priorities to address student concerns to take the staff position in Student Activities.

In terms of the most prominent goal of his campaign for Comptroller, which was to make SC financial records public and accessible on the Internet, Abbott says that goal translates directly into his new position. When he was hired, he stated that a major goal would be to publish all Student Activities finance records on the Internet.

"If we can technologically do it, which I imagine I could get some student somewhere to work it out for me, then it can happen," he said.

Abbott is confident that the transition to the new comptroller of the SC will be smooth.

"I was elected with an associate comptroller. Melissa Pearson had the same objectives as I did. The fact that Melissa was there made it a little bit easier for me because I knew that there was someone who was able to step in and fill in right away," he said.

In addition to resigning as comptroller with the SC, Abbott gave up his positions as a resident assistant and desk coordinator at the Tenley campus with Residential Life and Housing Services. He said it was time to move on from that because it would have been his third year as an R.A.

Abbott is not completely sure of his plans following graduation in May, but he is very interested in pursuing an MBA from the Kogod School of Business, allowing him to remain the account specialist with the full-time benefit of partial tuition remission.

His parents are particularly happy with his new job because it means they don't have to support him as much, he said.

"Student Activities is really closely tied to student issues," he said. "I think that here we are allowed to reflect student opinions more than the average university office"

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