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Meet Your Feds Exec: Seneca Velling, VP Operations and Finance

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Yvonn Yu
Communications Assistant
Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:00

By night, Seneca Velling likes to watch Brooklyn 99, play grand strategy video games, and Dungeons and Dragons. By day, he is your new Feds Vice President Operations and Finance (VPOF).

As an international student, Velling’s first exposure to the University of Waterloo community was through international Orientation, where he learned a lot about Feds and the clubs our student union has to offer. He soon became involved in a wide range of clubs and societies including German Society and Science Society and even founded the Materials and Nanoscience Society. Through these experiences, he developed an interest in Feds and furthered his involvement by serving on the Students’ Council and as the chair of the Feds Board of Directors.

Being so involved in the student community, Velling was motivated to run for VPOF because he was worried about the impact that the Student Choice Initiative, the Ontario government’s changes to OSAP and tuition fees, would have on students and our community on campus.

“We have to rethink how we do business if we can’t rely on student fees,” Velling said.

He is also deeply invested various aspects of the VPOF portfolio such as reinventing the Bombshelter Pub and the SLC/PAC expansion.

“I want to help revitalize The Bomber into something that students want to go to so it can be the centre of campus community again,” he said. “A lot of the infrastructure [in SLC] is outdated, the architecture is outdated. It’s not stuff students are interested in. Improvements to student spaces will make the SLC a place that students want to go to.”

In addition to this, Velling hopes to provide a successful method of expanding UPass students to include part-time students, improve sustainability by introducing the eco-container program to more parts of campus, and introduce the new legal service for students. On the more technical side, one of Velling’s major goals is to separate the capital and operating budgets.

“If we continue to pay for capital expenses out of an operating budget, we can never be in a position where we can actually help students,” Velling said. 

The first few weeks as VPOF “came in like a wrecking ball” especially since Velling is now the financial controller of Feds, the head of human resources, and in charge of all the budgeting. He recalls that in the first week, he would receive 100 to 150 emails daily from students regarding the UPass.

“I have a 24-response time policy for students,” Velling said. “If a student sends me an email with an issue, I stop everything and I respond to them.”

Velling hopes to transform the VPOF role into one that focuses more on using the budget and operations to help the other Feds execs achieve their goals and initiatives that directly affect the students, instead of having more personal goals or “pet projects” as he calls them.

“Day to day, I look forward to coming in and knowing that I’ve left Feds better than I found it,” Velling said. “In no sense should we ever not try to strive for improvement.”

You can reach out to Feds VPOF Seneca Velling through his email at vpof@feds.ca or giving him a call at 519-888-4567 x33880. He has also given students permission to contact him on Facebook through his account, Seneca Jackson Velling.