Senior Stella Yang has applied her experience as an economics major to helping fellow Shockers through her dedication to Student Government Association (SGA) and many other student organizations.
Stella most recently served as SGA treasurer, a position she held during the 2018-19 academic year. One of her chief roles was overseeing the distribution of almost $10 million collected from student activity fees throughout the year.
Students pay the fees to access campus recreation, including Heskett Center membership and Student Health Services. In previous years, SGA faced controversy over budget cuts to student organizations, but Stella was determined to prioritize students’ needs and hear as many viewpoints as possible throughout the process.
Stella contributed to a comprehensive reformation of the distribution process aimed at increasing student representation in the committee. The reformation made the SGA treasurer the committee chair and added student positions to represent as many student populations as possible.
As chair, Stella took the opportunity to meaningfully work with staff and students across the university.
“It was really cool being able to get together with students and people at all different levels at the university to come together and work on the solution that worked best,” she said.
Among Stella’s chief objectives as committee chair were fairness and transparency, but she understands that most leadership decisions will never please everyone.
“There are a lot of tough decisions to make,” she said. “And not everyone is going to be happy with every decision you make, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.”
Treasurer, 61st Session of the Student Government Association
Stella also collaborated with her advisors and colleagues in creating a process for distributing extra money from the SGA budget to student organizations for events and programs.
As an executive member of several other organizations, Stella can empathize with the groups who struggled to find funding for their events and programs.
“I totally understand the whole, ‘We have this amazing idea. We want to do a show or help a lot of students know about our culture,’” she said. “I understand the whole daunting, ‘We don’t have the money, or the funding.’”
Throughout all of her efforts as SGA treasurer, Stella values the contributions of her advisors, staff, senators and fellow executive cabinet members. Gabriel Fonseca, assistant director of Student Involvement and SGA advisor, reflects fondly on Stella’s simultaneous ability to energetically welcome others and maintain a strong work ethic.
“I think she definitely has the best of both worlds and the skill set to achieve everything that she’s achieved in her term in office,” he said.
Stella will graduate in December 2019 with her bachelor’s degree in economics. As she looks back on her college experiences, she believes that WSU’s size and affordability allowed her to dive into many leadership opportunities while allowing her to remain in Wichita, her home town.
“I felt like WSU was a really great place for me to get a ton of different experiences in leadership roles and stuff like that, and I knew that if I came here that would be possible,” she said.
Stella has also served in leadership capacities with Asian Student Conference, the Barton School Dean’s Ambassadors and Model United Nations. She attributes some of her success in chairing the student fees committee to her work in other organizations.
Despite initially seeking to attend law school after graduating, her business classes, professors and work as SGA treasurer have inspired her to first explore the business world.
When looking back on all of the accomplishments of her time as treasurer and as an executive member of multiple other organizations at WSU, Stella can only say one thing.
“I’m just doing my job.”