Get to know ASWSUV’s new President and Vice-President

Shain Wright and Yesenia Herrera were elected as the President and Vice-President of ASWSUV on March 26 for the 2015-2016 academic year. After campaigning on a platform of equal treatment and accessibility for the entire student body, Wright and Herrera are eager to begin their executive run and get to know students on a personal level.

Wright is a double major in human development and public affairs and is also pursuing a minor in women’s studies. Herrera is a psychology major with a minor in women’s studies. Herrera is a transfer student from Portland Community College and enjoys reading in her spare time. “My favorite books to read are fantasy series and cheesy romance novels” Herrera said. Wright is currently rereading the Harry Potter novels. “I enjoy experiencing the character development, especially between Harry [Potter] and Ron [Weasley]. It’s something that I really identify with,” said Wright, whose other hobbies include crafting, scrapbooking and knitting.

Wright has been heavily involved with student diversity organizations and events while attending Washington State University Vancouver. Equality and gender perception are a few of Wright’s passions and Wright incorporates these concepts in both studies and travels. “I went to Thailand for two and a half months last summer” Wright said and continued, “I learned a ton…because I choose to write papers in classes about gender [in relation] to art and culture, etc. I chose to go to Thailand and interview Kathoey [Thai term for MtF transgender] individuals and I feel like I got an understanding of cultural conceptions and it’s much different than here in the U.S.”

Herrera has been involved with student government organizations throughout her higher education career and has gotten the opportunity to attend conferences across the country. “I have been fortunate enough to lobby in Washington D.C. twice and attend the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in New Orleans for a week; that was probably my favorite.” Herrera said and continued, “I have also attended the National Latina Organization conference in Arizona.”

It has been acknowledged by Wright and Herrera that they are not typical students employed by ASWSUV; they feel that distinction will not only boost retention rates, but also allow for a wide range of student voices to be recognized. “I’m really glad that both of us are not the traditional student employed by ASWSUV” Herrera said and continued, “we know that retention rates tend to be higher when students see someone in power who looks like them. For myself, as a Latina, we have already gotten feedback from students saying ‘I’m so glad you are running because I feel represented.’” Wright concurred and said, “As part of the LGBTQ community, people often assume my identity incorrectly, which is fine. For fellow students to recognize that and feel represented is really valuable.”


Wright and Herrera are in the planning stages of which changes they most want to see during their executive run. Wright identifies three key challenges, first is educating professors in cultural sensitivity, specifically towards LGBTQ, ethnic and the ESL community, citing that professors sometimes make culturally insensitive remarks during lectures. Second, training professors in using simple technology [such as YouTube] during lectures, as an inability to access videos disrupts class time and students are not getting the full value of the material.

The third change is supporting students during the transition to Blackboard in the fall, providing resources such as online tutorials and giving forums for students to voice comments or concerns regarding accessibility.

One of Herrera’s key focus areas is the way in which ticket distribution and sale for on and off campus events is handled. Herrera said, “50% of tickets are going to students who are working on campus. Essentially, events are sold out before going on sale because a vast majority are going to student employees.” One way in which Wright and Herrera plan to change this policy is by making tickets available online or to sell them during different time periods on different days to ensure equal access for all students, not just campus employees.

Wright and Herrera plan to make themselves approachable for students as a platform for them to voice their concerns. “An ASWSUV president a few years back would hang out in the quad and pass out flyers, asking students if they knew what ASWSUV did and what the organization was currently working on. We want to do something similar to that and keep the conversation between student government and the student body flowing,” Wright said.

Students can contact Shain Wright at wright.shain@gmail.com and Yesenia Herrera at yesenia.herrera@email.wsu.edu with any questions, suggestions, or concerns for the upcoming 205-2016 academic year.

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  1. Hannah Schubert says:

    Personal affairs is not a degree. Public affairs, however, is, and is a very popular program at WSUV.