USS head serves as voice for students

Jackie Valley

Ross Miltner has a few perks attached to his job as the executive director of the Undergraduate Student Senate.

He is the highest paid student leader on campus.

He has a private office in the Student Center.

He can buy a parking pass for the lot behind the library.

However, Miltner said one privilege extends beyond all others — acting as the student voice in his role as the liaison between undergraduate students and administration.

Miltner said his role as the executive director of USS involves more than just deskwork; it involves direct interaction with both university students and administration.

“You have so much influence and a voice in this position,” he said.

As the student voice, Miltner said it is important he echoes the concerns of the plurality of undergraduate students, not a minority.

“It’s very important because often times the executive director is the only student included in the room in committees for the student voice,” he said.

Miltner said the executive director’s role begins during the summer with office hours devoted to forming the $700,000 USS budget, filling out paperwork and meeting with people to prepare for the coming academic year.

“The more you can get done in the summer, the better,” he said, adding other responsibilities during the year make the position time-consuming.

He said those responsibilities include planning meetings, holding office hours, regularly meeting with Pete Goldsmith, vice president of student affairs, and attending meetings as a member of the University Priority Budgeting Advisory Committee and the Committee on Administrative Officers.

Because of typically little business management experience, Miltner said one of the main challenges of his position is overseeing the USS office staff and eight senators to ensure that everyone’s work gets done timely and efficiently.

“You have to manage these eight people,” he said. “It’s very hard to get them to work with you or follow up on platforms.

“Being so young in this position, no one would have that experience.”

Miltner said he must rely on compromises and negotiation skills because the executive director does not participate in USS votes unless there is a tie.

He said another challenge the executive director faces is the implementation of idealistic goals.

Despite the job perks, Miltner said the position lacks the bonus of superhuman powers.

“Just by getting in here, you don’t have a magic wand to wave to get things done,” he said.

Miltner said it is a constant balance “trying to get things accomplished that you want to and helping the senators do the same.”

In the end, Miltner said various factors prevent some goals from being accomplished.

“There’s only so much you can do,” he said. “A lot of students don’t know the difference when they’re voting.”

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].