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The 2013 – 2014 ASWSUV President and Vice-President share progress on campaign goals

As Washington State University Vancouver nears the end of Fall semester, about half of the regular school year is over. Many students may remember that last March the ASWSUV elections for Senate and President/Vice President were held. But how well have the executives been able to stick to their platform in the past half year?

Shavey Winters and Pauline Ramos were elected in March of 2013, and re-elected later that same month after the first election was invalidated. Both 22-year-olds from the area, they believe they have managed to complete their campaign platform well in only half of the year. The main objectives in the platform were to focus on and improve inclusiveness, diversity, accountability and partnership.

According to Winters, one of the objectives of inclusiveness was to get students on the student advisory board.  In doing this, they targeted some students who had not necessarily held a position on campus before, and get them involved. As a result, they now have a grad student on the board. Tying directly into that aspect was the platform goal of focusing on diversity. Ramos said that diversity was an aspect of being inclusive. As the two looked to fill positions, they wanted to have an accurate representation of the WSU Vancouver student population. Winters added that the executive staff, which consists of several departments, including communications, legislative affairs and University affairs, is a good representation of the diversity on campus. Winters also said that one of the biggest factors of diversity on the WSU Vancouver campus is age, and they have worked to make sure that the different age demographic groups are represented.

One of the other platform goals Winters and Ramos made earlier this year was to focus strongly on accountability. Ramos said that one of the driving factors in this was to keep the students constantly informed, and to make sure that those in the various departments were always mindful of their actions. “If you don’t want what you are doing splashed across the front page of the VanCougar, don’t do it” Ramos said. Additionally, they have been keeping budget information available to students so that the flow and usage of money can always be seen. According to Winters and Ramos, in order to promote the accountability aspect, however, students must be willing to give feedback. If a student sees something in the budget that they are not necessarily sure of they should ask about it, or make a comment about it, so that the government knows how they feel.

The last part of the platform, which Ramos stated was added later than the first three, was partnership. The goal behind partnership was that students would become more involved with and connected to other students, other campuses and the administration. As an example, they mentioned the success of the Seattle Invasion event in which the WSU football team came to play in Seattle’s Century Link Field and students from Vancouver were in attendance. Collaboration between students and the administration was what made the Seattle Invasion possible.

Winters and Ramos also pointed out a couple areas where they have met some hurdles. They mentioned three programs that are in the works, but taking a bit longer than hoped for. First there is the Umbrella Share Program. This program would put stations in buildings around campus to store umbrellas for students caught in surprise storms and rain. Students would simply grab an umbrella, use it to get to the next building, and leave it at the next station. Winters said they planned on starting with just the cafeteria, Multimedia Classroom Building and the Firstenburg Student commons, but eventually expand to other buildings. Winters explained ASWSUV is now figuring out maintenance, who would run the program and the costs. This program’s development process has thus slowed but is still underway.

Another program in the works is trying to get healthier late night food options on campus for students enrolled in night classes. Ramos pointed out that the cafeteria usually is closed by the time night classes start and off campus eateries are too far to be solutions during class breaks. Winters added that students are left with vending machines as their on-campus food options that include soda and “questionable” snacks.  The solution Ramos described was work to add another vending machine; stocked with premade sandwiches, salads and microwavable soups. The costs of this program have totaled up to $4000. ASWSUV submitted a request for the program’s funding through the Cougar Parent Grant program but they were ultimately unable to secure the funding. Though this can be a setback, they have not given up and are currently looking for alternative forms of funding.

In discussing obstacles faced so far in their administration, Ramos and Winters mentioned communication with the students. They mentioned that when they do their events such as giving out coffee students will talk to them without any problem and ask questions or give comments, but when they are in their office the flow of traffic is much smaller. Winters and Ramos are constantly looking for ways to further improve communication and want to remind students that they are always happy to hear comments and answer questions.

Aside from the programs that have hit obstacles, Winters and Ramos also highlighted the All In Campaign. This campaign is going to focus on the idea of a more holistic college experience including social and organizational opportunities. The All In Campaign is geared toward helping students get involved by pushing them to meet new people and encourage them to go to events. Ramos added that she remembers how nervous freshmen can be but asks them not to be intimidated. Ramos encourages students to talk to people in class that you haven’t before, go to events make friends and develop a college experience outside of classroom as well as in the classroom. “As the young people say, #YOLO,” said Winters.

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