by Sarah Golden
This year’s first ASWC student senate meeting commenced last Sunday night, Sept. 10. The Executive Council (EC)—sophomore, junior and senior class senators and the oversight committee—gathered in Reid to discuss, among other things, hopes, areas of focus for the year and the potential of an ASWC retreat.
“It’s really great to see you all here today and all the enthusiasm and energy that will comprise ASWC this year,” said ASWC President Eric Wehlitz at the start of the meeting.
The meeting opened with each officer of the EC discussing their committee’s overall goals for the upcoming year. Offices are: President Wehlitz, Policy Chair Jeff Wilson, Finance Chair Ajay Abraham, Programming Chair Aisha Fukushima and Hiring Chair Laura Hanson. A common thread running through the remarks made by officers was optimism and a hope to facilitate higher productivity this year.
“I’m excited to get a lot of things done this year in the policy committee,” said Wilson. “I want to cover a lot more bases, evaluate what makes policy and how policy needs to be made.”
EC members also spoke about improving the communication within committees and the larger ASWC body to make operations as efficient as possible.
“I want to make the delegation throughout the committee stronger and work as a group,” said Fukushima. “I also want to see stronger communication with constituency—there could be a lot of excitement about the events that will happen throughout the year.”
Abraham, the Finance Chair, spoke about how all campus activities are connected to the available funds. “We need to capitalize on our endowment and contingency funds,” he said. “We need to figure out how to get more so we can do more.” Abraham suggested avenues such as working with the business office.
Hanson spoke about the prospect of involving constituents with the governmental process. “I want to facilitate the nomination process to increase campus awareness,” said the Hiring Chair, who believes that an increased transparency in the nomination process will make ASWC more accountable for its actions.
ASWC also discussed the first-year elections. The chair of the Oversight and Elections Committee, Shayna Tivona, spoke about her committee’s effort to increase the first year class awareness of the candidates and voter turnout. A dinner with ASWC and the first year senate candidates was also organized last, with the intention of the prospective senators spending time with ASWC before the elections.
Wehlitz also organized the first ASWC overnight retreat, scheduled for the last weekend of September. The retreat will take place at the Johnson Wilderness Campus, and Wehlitz believes that the time spent as a group, removed from the larger Whitman community, will make ASWC a stronger entity.
“There will be games, getting-to-know-you stuff, along with discussions within committees about things to do over the year,” said Wehlitz, urging senators to solidify their ideas before the retreat. “If you haven’t thought much about what you want to do over the summer, the next few weeks are an awesome opportunity to develop your ideas.”
Throughout the meeting, the beginning-of-the-year vim from ASWC seemed to cyclically be revitalizing the group.
“We have a lot of energy to make things happen this year,” said Wehlitz