This year, the GFOA and GGFOA have partnered with the University of Georgia to create a student chapter. As a Political Science, International Affairs, and French undergraduate student at UGA, I had no experience in finance or management. However, at my first job at the City of Roswell, I worked with Accounts Payable and assisted in budget analysis for the Recreation and Parks department. I had no idea how critical budgeting and finance expertise was to even just one department within a medium to small-sized government organization. I realized that I needed to learn more about government finance if I wanted to have a successful and productive career in local government, and I made it a focus when I returned to school for my master’s degree. I discovered GFOA through my connections at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and through research articles and discussions that my professors recommended in our courses. With the help of GGFOA and GFOA, I became the founding President of the new chapter. This chapter has opened many doors and opportunities for myself and others, and it has only been a few months!
On October 24th we held the first chapter meeting with 12 students attending. This success is thanks to the help of GGFOA and your support through free student memberships. Students with and without finance undergraduate degrees attended the first meeting and are interested in learning more about government finance. Most of our members are Master of Public Administration students like myself, but we have a handful of PhD candidates and dual enrolled undergraduate students.
When I became President of the chapter, I had some initial goals of scheduling a monthly meeting to discuss items of general interest to the students. However, with the support from GGFOA and the national GFOA, I believe that greater goals such as internship opportunities, scholarship opportunities, and even post-school job opportunities are very realistic and will help the chapter’s members get a head start on their careers. The GFOA and its affiliated organizations exist in order to promote best practices in government finance. I believe that the university chapter exists to promote careers in government finance so that our Georgia governments will have effective, intelligent, and talented finance officers who can in turn follow and create GFOA best practices. We look forward to further growth and achievements in the coming year and are grateful for the opportunity to partner with GGFOA.