Author: 
BJ R. Siasoco

Employee Assembly (EA) elections are fast-approaching, and the EA is looking for candidates to serve. Below, BJ R. Siasoco outlines the reasons why joining the EA at this point could make a difference for years to come.

Change. It is a concept that many staff grapple with every day. As Cornell celebrates its 150th birthday, as a staff community we look to what changes the next 150 years bring. How will we shape that change? I believe we can by participating in shared governance.

The Employee Assembly is the shared governance body for non-faculty staff members at Cornell University. The staff community is comprised of more than 7,000 members – facilities staff, academic advisors, counselors, staff assistants, technicians, writers and so many more. These staff members work side-by-side with senior administrators, faculty and students to bring Cornell to life each day. I have been on the Employee Assembly for almost two years – this year finishing my term as executive vice chair - and during this brief period, I have witnessed first-hand the unique opportunity staff members have to directly participate in Cornell’s decision-making processes.

The Employee Assembly is empowered by the university board of trustees and president to “explore opportunities to enhance the role, function and contribution of employees to the wellbeing of the university.”

Our 19 members jointly represent staff views to university trustees, senior administrators, faculty, graduate and professional students, and undergraduates on such concerns as human resource policies, staffing needs, transportation issues, university planning and many more. We are a uniquely collaborative assembly, not representing personal interests or ideologies but serving as volunteers who advocate for all staff interests in an effort to empower staff and improve the staff experience.

These 19 members are regularly elected through staggered terms and the next elections will be held May 11-12. This is an exciting time of change and opportunity: a new president, provost, and two vice presidents as well as a university-wide call to engagement will set the stage for the future of Cornell in its next 150 years.

Do you want to contribute your voice to shape this future? Run for an open seat on the Employee Assembly and be a part of this change. Represent your colleagues in your unit, college, division or affinity group. Realize the power in coming together as a staff community to deliberate and shape the Cornell to come.

If interested, see the EA elections website at http://assembly.cornell.edu/Elections/2015SpringEmployee. Questions? Contact me at bj.siasoco@cornell.edu or any member of our executive committee, at http://assembly.cornell.edu/EA/Members for more information.