Scott and Grande to lead with ‘transparency’

Jose Scott and Naomi Grande were elated on the announcement that they would become the ASWSUV president and vice president for the upcoming school year. Looking forward, Scott and Grande seek to rely on student voices and experiences, including their own, to effectively fulfill their roles.

Scott and Grande are not newcomers to student involvement on the WSU Vancouver campus. Scott, the president-elect, currently works as an intern for the Student Diversity Center, was a member of the Impact Volunteer Program which advocates for new students to participate on-campus and is the co-president of the Pre-Law Society. The vice-president elect, Grande, is a retention sub-committee member that works with faculty to find ways for students to stay in school, helps co-ordinate and participates in events hosted by the Student Diversity Center, is a member of the College Access Program which advocates for higher education to younger students, and is the co-founder and co-president of the Pre-Law Society. For the 2017-2018 school year, both members of the team will be entering their senior year studying public affairs.

“We have been involved in all of our time spent studying on-campus so far,” Scott said. “Our motivation to run for ASWSUV Executive positions started before we were even freshmen three years ago.”

For Scott and Grande, their election is an opportunity to carry on the good works and legacies of past cabinets while simultaneously facilitating a new set of approaches. The team wants to sustain and maintain their ability to connect with students. Scott and Grande plan to achieve this by continuing past efforts that worked while also providing new opportunities for student voices to be heard, and in turn elevate those voices to university administrators and community members. The team is eager to utilize a new plan based on the Impact Volunteer Program, called the Student Voice and Advocacy Council, or SVAC.

“We know that students want to know what’s going on and play an active role in what happens. Since there are limited spots in student government, we wanted to design a way for students to voluntarily participate alongside ASWSUV,” Scott said. “SVAC is non-exclusive, will be open to everybody and co-chaired by a member of senate and executive staff. SVAC will allow students to voice concerns while adding a layer of transparency to student government, promoting accountability and accessibility.”

The two winning team-members are not strangers to working with one another. Scott and Grande worked together for about six years since their freshman year of high school. While attending Fort Vancouver High School, the team worked as a cohort for the AVID program, founded the Students of Color Association, worked for the MECHA program and played active roles in student council and student government.

WSU Vancouver has a strong history of electing executive positions of significant diversity. Many winning tickets in the past have had positions held by students from minority backgrounds. The executive team’s platform had four pillars of its campaign. These were equity, accountability,

affordability and community. Scott and Grande believe everyone should have an equal playing field in regards to various factors such as education and accessibility.

Scott and Grande also advocated for transparency in student government through accountability. For example, they plan to post notes from meetings to CougSync so students can be a part of the ASWSUV process. For Scott and Grande, affordability meant the continuation of on-going events like Coug Day at the Capitol and increased awareness of financial aid options. For example, they hope to promote awareness of the State Need Grant, Washington State’s version of the Pell Grant, where according to Scott, 27,000 eligible students are not being funded. With a possibility of tuition being raised by 2% this year, Scott and Grande wish to work to freeze this potential legislation.

Scott and Grande also advocate for open–educational resources, such as providing grants for on-campus professors to write their own textbooks to reduce out-of-pocket costs for students. Finally, Scott and Grande seek to further community by reinforcing the VanCoug identity. Since WSU Vancouver is strategically located, with deep connections and relationships within the Vancouver and Portland communities, Scott and Grande believe continuing the promotion of on-going networking opportunities and retention for graduates and alumni is imperative.

“To promote the pillars of our campaign platform, we talked with students out on the quad, had supporters go out in teams to popularize our campaign, and handed out fact sheets to relay information efficiently to students,” Grande said.

According to Scott and Grande, not all aspects of the election process played out in a smooth way. With controversial actions taken by some of the opponents, Scott and Grande emphasized that they tried to set themselves apart from competitors by playing by the rules with respect for the student government constitution. Scott and Grande said their familiarity with the structure of student government helped in their victory.

After two weeks of debates and campaigning, Scott and Grande found themselves at the election viewing party on Mar. 8. As the results came in, a 12.3% voter turnout rate showed the two had won with 53% of the votes. Looking forward, next year’s ASWSUV president and vice-president wish to accomplish the pillars of their platform, start the SVAC, and create an online forum as a way for students to get involved with their elected representatives.

Scott and Grande can be reached via email at Jose.scott@wsu.edu and Naomi.grande@wsu.edu.

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