VPBF Matthew Johnson wants to “rekindle” what life was like before Covid
PC: Kyra Laurie
It does not go unacknowledged that at Canisius, there are a great many clubs that cover a wide variety of interests and activities. And yet, despite the difference in the interests and functions of the various clubs, they all have at least one thing in common: the person who is responsible for granting and listening to their requests for funding — Matthew Johnson.
Alongside being an honors orientation leader, honors mentor and a member of the Golden Griffin Fund, among other groups, Johnson serves as this year's vice president of business and finance (VPBF) for Senate.
The job of VPBF comes with responsibility that lasts all year long. In the beginning of the summer, Johnson reviews every club on campus and decides how much money they are to be initially allocated. If a club uses all of their allocated funds or needs more, they have to appeal to Senate’s Finance Board. He helps the board decide if — and to what extent — the appeals are granted.
That is, of course, a big responsibility, but one that Johnson knows he is ready for. Now a senior, Johnson first joined the Senate in his sophomore year and soon began to serve on the Finance Board, the same board with whom he works closely today as VPBF. For Johnson, being VPBF comes naturally because he is a finance and economics major. He said that it “compliments exactly what I’m learning in class.”
This year, Johnson said that his number one goal for the year is to “rekindle what the Senate and Finance Board had before COVID-19 and expand that to the entire Canisius campus.” He feels what everyone in the community feels: life during the pandemic just has not been the same as it was before.
The normal process in the Senate, too, has been completely turned on its head during the last year and a half. Johnson has been in the Senate both before and during COVID-19, and he reminisced about the relationships that formed between Senators while meeting in person, and how those relationships did not form in as profound a way during the age of Zoom. A similar sentiment is surely felt throughout much of the student body. So when Johnson said his number one goal this year is to “rekindle” what life was like before COVID, that is what he has in mind.
The struggle to recover from the pandemic’s original effects is still felt, even as students and faculty largely leave the Zoom rooms to return to classrooms. COVID is still the greatest uncertainty for the Finance Board this year, for, as Johnson said, “We don’t even know what will happen next semester.” Still, in the midst of that uncertainty, one of the first big steps towards the desired return to normal was achieved by the Finance Board this past week, when the board granted the first travel grant in 18 months. Not only is that a big deal in and of itself, it also provides valuable experience for those on the board, which has a lot of new members who were not around before COVID. According to Johnson, granting a travel grant allows these new members to see “how we [the Finance Board] did it in the past, and this is how we should do it going forward.”
As clubs continue to operate, they will likely need funding. While most of the financial issues should be covered by a club’s Finance Board liaison, if you have any important financial questions, Johnson can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.