ORT’s job involves ‘a lot of responsibility’

Position should be responsible for fundraising, communication with faculty societies, former co-ordinator says

Former ORT Co-ordinator Adam Mielczynski, ArtSci ’08, says Ryan Shoemaker never contacted him for help over the summer.
Former ORT Co-ordinator Adam Mielczynski, ArtSci ’08, says Ryan Shoemaker never contacted him for help over the summer.
Photo: 
Adam Mielczynski said invoices weren’t a problem following Frosh Week 2006.
Adam Mielczynski said invoices weren’t a problem following Frosh Week 2006.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The discrepancies over finances for Frosh Week 2007 will make things difficult for this year’s Orientation Round Table co-ordinator, Adam Mielczynski, ArtSci ’08, said.

Mielczynski was ORT co-ordinator in 2005-06. He was responsible for training Ryan Shoemaker, who was co-ordinator in 2006-07.

Confusion and inconsistent numbers surrounding Frosh Week 2007’s finances prompted AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Julia Mitchell to conduct an audit of ORT’s finances. She said the report, to be released Feb. 28, will result in policy changes ensuring accountability and communication within ORT and between ORT and the executive.

The ORT co-ordinator’s transition period usually begins at the end of October, Mielczynski said. He said the previous ORT co-ordinator goes over the budget and other organizational aspects of the position with the new co-ordinator.

“Ryan had a pretty good perspective because I had a good talk with Ryan before, about what the general job is, how to go about it, what’s involved,” he said, adding that he also spent a few days training Shoemaker once he had been hired in January 2007.

“We talked about the budget. I showed him how I did it, and it looked to me like he understood,” he said. “He had my budget to work off, to use as an example.”

Mielczynski said he was also available during the summer. He said Shoemaker never contacted him for help, but he went into the office four or five times to see how things were going.

“I was there as a resource for him all the time,” he said.

Mielczynski said ideally the ORT co-ordinator should meet with the faculty societies weekly before the summer break starting in May.

Mielczynski said the budgeting process for ORT appears confusing at first.

He said when he was ORT co-ordinator he worked closely with then Vice-President (University Affairs) Meghan Teuber and Hillary Smith, who was campus activities commissioner.

“Before I ended up spending any money—any substantial amount of money—it was communication between me and Hillary and Meghan. ... We all knew how much was being spent on everything,” he said, adding that he also gave the faculty societies updates before he made purchases.

“It was a very clear way of doing things, I think, and everybody was on the same page.”

Mielczynski said the committee ended up spending less than budgeted for, and raised about $40,000 in sponsorship.

A lot of the money came from sponsorship proposal packages he sent out to companies in early April.

Because the ORT co-ordinator is the only paid position on the committee, the co-ordinator is the one who looks after fundraising during the summer, Mielczynski said, adding that he spent two hours every day talking to businesses around Kingston.

“You’re pretty much in charge of the sponsorship yourself.”

He said the ORT office has records detailing sponsorship over the past few years, which could be used as a starting point for fundraising.

“There is a lot of responsibility that falls onto your head when you take this job,” he said.

“You’re expected to put together a budget, you handle enormous amounts of money, you make really big purchases, you deal with major companies, you are respected by a lot of people and you are expected to perform—to put together a Frosh Week.”

Mielczynski said none of the faculty societies had any complaints when they received their bills for Frosh Week 2005.

“They were actually very happy with the amount that they got because a lot of them were budgeting for a bigger bill,” he said.

“This is a place where you can show yourself, and if you leave a legacy like Ryan, you haven’t shown yourself. You haven’t shown yourself at all.”

Mielczynski said Igor Volzhanin, who was ORT director of communications under Shoemaker, was dismissed from the position.

Volzhanin, ArtSci ’09, said he stopped attending meetings after a while because he had to leave night class early.

He said some of the tasks past communications officers had handled were taken over.

For example, Max Rubin, AMS advancement and development officer, was given the task of raising money for ORT.

Shoemaker and Smith had a meeting with Volzhanin to discuss the position.

“Hillary promised that she would look into what my position does and outline a mandate, and that never happened, so I basically lost all contact with [Shoemaker],” he said, adding that he received an e-mail in early April notifying him that he had been dismissed from the position.

Volzhanin said he felt he wasn’t receiving guidance from Shoemaker.

“After three or four weeks I realized that … I wasn’t being told what I should be doing,” he said. “There was no clear direction to my position.”

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