Going above and beyond in all she does.
As Finance Chair on Student Senate, Jessye Flannery brings a positive attitude and personality to the position.
The unique spelling of her name is one feature of this remarkable woman.
“My mom wanted my name to be unique,” she said. “The spelling ‘Jessye’ comes from the opera singer Jessye Norman. My mom saw her interviewed on TV when I was a baby [and] decided she would teach me how to spell my name ‘Jessye’ so I would be unique from all the other Jessicas.”
“She is one of the most bubbly people that you can ever meet. Bubbly and positive and driven,” Student Senate President Jen Fox said.
Jessye’s position on Senate means that she is in charge of the budgeting calender, which involves making deadlines for the budgeting process that organizations on campus have to go through.
“It is my job to put specific dates [into the calendar] and to get them approved by Senate,” Jessye said.
Jessye was mentored into the position during her sophomore year by Senior Brandon Hirdler, the previous finance chair.
“I was a senator on the Finance Committee [last year] so I got to see every bit of the process,” she said.
The knowledge that she gained as a senator allowed Jessye to ease into her position as finance chair. She works directly with Sophomore Eric Best; both know their job well.
“They’re an outstanding duo,” Fox said.
Being on the Finance Committee means long meetings and difficult discussions along with getting information out to organizations on campus. Jessye frequently sends out e-mails with information about dates for events such as meetings to explain the budgeting process to groups. Such e-mails are meant to alleviate stress from groups that are not familiar with the budgeting process.
“My job is to make sure groups understand the proces … The budgeting process looks very scary from the outside,” she said.
Any questions groups unfamiliar with the process have can be directed to her and she will respond in a timely manner, even when she has other work to do. Through her efforts, communication between the Finance Committee, Senate and organizations has gotten better.
The whole process is something that she wants to make more understandable because it is not only organizations that are on a budget.
“We’re on a budget and it’s not unlimited. We have to make cuts and not everything can get funded … We have to explain to groups why they can’t get funded [for some events],” she said. “We also don’t fund things that don’t have a lot of details.”
An important part about the budgeting process is knowledge.
“I get frustrated with the process,” she said. “Because some things change within the group (such as leadership), “it is critical for the leadership to train in new leaders.”
“[The budgeting process] is one of the most important things that Gustavus does,” Fox said. Without it, some groups wouldn’t exist.
Jessye’s organizational skills do not stop at Senate. As a work-study student for Marketing and Communication, Jessye meticulously puts events in the calendar and performs a variety of other tasks.
“She’s not afraid to do anything new,” Administrative Assistant in Marketing and Communication Lorie Siebels said.
Her work-study job often involves taking orders for campus events, such as the Nobel Conference. This often requires patience.
“She’s very helpful and very informative,” Siebels said. Jessye is able to easily explain campus events to anyone who calls in wanting information.
“She’s on top of her game,” Administrative Coordinator in Marketing and Communication and Special Events Dana Lamb said.
Jessye has been on top of her game since she was young.
“I’ve been interested in politics since I was in elementary school,” Jessye said. As a legislative page her junior year of high school, her interest only increased.
“That experience was a reaffirmation for me that politics was my passion and that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” she said.
“Her calling is political science,” Advisor and Political Science Professor Richard Leitch said.
Being interested in government and political science led her to pursue a Senate position.
“I thought it would be fun to represent the voices of the constituents of Gustavus,” she said. “I wanted to bridge the connection between the students and the administration.”
As a member of Senate, she is exposed to more inner workings of Gustavus than the average student. There is a slight difference in views.
“Students tend to view Gustavus as a community, [but] the administration [also] looks at Gustavus as a business. [They need to think] what’s going to attract students, [inspire] Gustavus alumni to give back. It’s not important to students now, yet it is all connected. Without new students there will be no community,” Jessye said. “The administration has to continually worry about the future of Gustavus where as the students worry less about the future of the college and more so about enhancing the current community.”
As a student, Jessye loves the community as well. “I love the community here, I love the professors; that’s why I came to Gustavus,” she said.
Siebels described her as a typical Gustie. “She’s active, she’s involved, she participates and goes above and beyond,” Siebels said.
“It never seems like she is having a bad moment,” Leitch said.
When not working with Senate, Jessye enjoys hanging out with her friends and going to campus events. She is also involved in Big Partner Little Partner.
Jessye’s distinct laugh is infectious for those around her.
“With every chuckle your spirit is lifted,” Fox said.
“It’s so fun [to work with her],” Fox said.