After two years of applications and interviews, Associated Students has hired Don Daves-Rougeaux as its new executive director.
On June 10, Daves-Rougeaux will take over for Associate Dean of Students Carolyn Buford, who has been serving as acting executive director for the past year. The A.S. executive director is responsible for providing leadership and guidance for the students, supervising and professionally developing the A.S. staff, and overseeing financial and legal matters.
Daves-Rougeaux takes over at a time when A.S. is facing financial crisis. The organization is $340,000 in debt and lost over $1 million in investments last year. Student leaders said if an initiative on the ballot this quarter does not pass, the government will not be able to afford to fund any of the hundreds of student groups that rely on it for money.
Daves-Rougeaux was chosen based on his involvement in student government since his undergraduate days as A.S. president of Fresno State. He was president of the Graduate Students Association at UCSB in the early 90s, and more recently president of the Fund for Santa Barbara, a community foundation that supports grassroots organizations working for social change. Daves-Rougeaux is leaving his position of eight years as a history teacher at the Dunn School in Santa Ynez to lead A.S.
“I’m very excited to be back working on behalf of A.S.,” he said.
A.S. President Brian Hampton was chair of the 12-person committee appointed with the task of hiring a new executive director, which included various staff and elected officials. Over 120 applicants were narrowed down to 12, from which three applicants were chosen by phone interview to come to campus for face-to-face interviews.
“Everyone connected with Don, and we felt he could jump right in to the position,” Hampton said.
Daves-Rougeaux wants to create a better image of A.S. by integrating the staff with the students and larger community.
“A lot of students may not know about the services that A.S. provides, but would use them if they were better informed,” he said.
Buford, who served as the acting director when the top two applicants turned down the job, is prepared for her departure as acting director, although she remains partial to the position.
“I have a fond spot in my heart for student leadership because it is vital to society,” she said. “I’m extremely excited for the students to have Don.”
Buford said she will regularly attend A.S. and Leg Council meetings.
The students that Buford worked with have reciprocated the respect, guidance and friendship they say she provided.
“Carolyn has been an enormous inspiration to the organization,” A.S. Flacks Intern Sara Aminzadeh said. “It will be a great loss when she leaves, but they couldn’t have chosen someone better to replace her.”