Student Association President David Burt is not your typical lame-duck president. As his term winds down, Burt spoke about his term and his plans for after the election.
Burt said his greatest success during his term was working with the administration in a way that fulfilled his expectations.
“After last year’s impeachment debacle, relations between the SA and the administration were shot,” he said. “This year I was able to get $57,000 more for students. Now people return my phone calls.”
Burt was not always active in the SA. During his freshman year, he stayed away from student politics. During his second year, Burt was appointed to a vacant undergraduate Senate seat in the School of Business and Public Management. That same year, he ran for undergraduate senator-at-large and came in last.
But Burt bounced back his junior year, when the candidate who defeated him transferred to another school. Burt assumed the seat after winning what he described as “a bitter battle” within the Senate.
He then ran for an undergraduate at-large Senate seat in February elections and won. He was then appointed finance chair of the Senate, starting his way up to SA president.
Burt said he has not completed all of his goals during his presidency. He said he wished he had accomplished more meaningful changes to the JEC charter.
“You shouldn’t need to spend $1,500 just to run for president,” he said.
Burt said he considers the failure of palmcarding legislation as the low point of his term.
“When the bill to ban palmcarding got defeated for the second time, and the Senate wouldn’t even allow me to finish speaking – for the first time, I became a cynic,” he said.
As Burt waits to find out who his successor will be, he is focused on the proposed SA student fee.
Student groups’ funding is currently a portion of the general student fee. Burt’s proposal would separate SA funding from University control and increase the group’s budget with a direct tie to student credit hours.
Another brainchild of Burt’s is SA Inc., a corporation he hopes will launch under new leadership next year.
“I will spend the rest of the year trying to get SA Inc. off the ground,” he said. “It’s being done in the model of Stanford University, where the student association has subsidiary companies. This provides a way for students to get real-world business experience and provides new ways for student groups to get funding.”
Burt said he hopes his successor has less strained relations with the legislative branch of the SA.
Most presidents have some sort of legacy. Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had the Cold War and Clinton’s legacy remains a question mark.
What does Burt believe his legacy will be?
“I don’t really care about a legacy,” he said. “If you’re going to remember me for anything, remember me as someone who worked his hardest for the students and did the best job that he could.”