Rosa Beyene

AS Review:  Why do you want to serve on the AS board of directors? What motivates you to seek this position?

Rosa Beyene: I want to serve on the board of directors because I want the AS to be more present on campus and I want the students to be aware of what the board members do. The reason that I’m running for my position is because I find this position to be the most important thing. I am running for Academic Affairs because I think that’s the most important position on the board because a lot of students don’t know that they have a voice in their academics. I want students to be aware and let them know they can vote on things such as that.

ASR:  What do you believe the role of the AS board of directors is?

RB: I feel like they’re the closest thing to basically the board of the school, like, the school board. So I feel like they work as a liaison between the students and the school, basically.

ASR:  If elected, what specific things will you do to ensure that you represent all students?

RB: Well, my plans are to create discussion ceremony kind of things, forums where students can come out and it’s more publicized on campus and it can even be for certain classes you can get credit, where students can come in and we can discuss issues. Instead of me just making a decision for the whole student body, make sure that I get everybody’s input.

ASR:  Since you’ve been at Western, what has been an important issue facing students that went unaddressed or was dealt with poorly?

RB: Well, I would say class sizes or availability of classes. A lot of students I hear, word of mouth, is, “oh this class is already filled up,” or, “they don’t offer this class.” I feel like this is something that needs to be addressed.

ASR:  What has been an issue that was addressed particularly well?

RB: I would say the reconstruction probably, like the adding of the dorms or the new AIC building where students can have more resources and stuff like computer labs and things like that.

Ramon Rinonos-Diaz

AS Review:  Why do you want to serve on the AS board of directors? What motivates you to seek this position?

Ramon Rinonos-Diaz:  Over the past year in my position, I’ve come to see how much the university, our administration, our university staff really care about students’ perspectives and really care about doing what they can to support student success. I want to serve on the AS board to be that conduit between our faculty, our staff and our administrators and our students because I love that. I think that being able to share the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to empower other students is just something I enjoy doing and I love that. I think it’s awesome to be able to talk to a student about an academic policy, or something that’s happening here or a situation that they’ve gone through at the university and be able to say I really think that situation could have been improved, and I appreciate you sharing that with me and letting me into your space and let’s really work towards figuring this out. I think Academic Affairs in particular is a position that I have always thought that we go to school and we do our academics, and then after that we’re kind of done, and we feel as students, and I know that I can be guilty of this as well, that my academic life is over. I’m going to go have fun with friends, I’m going to be in a club, I’m going to do my activity, I’m going to go to events. But at the same time there’s so much that goes into making our classes happen, learning the behind-the-scenes and being able to walk through that with our faculty and staff and administrators and incorporating student voices. That is why I want to serve, not just on the board, but also in academic affairs again.

ASR:  What do you believe the role of the AS board of directors is?

RRD:  The role of the AS board of directors is to represent students across campus. Whether that’s in dining halls and residences, whether that’s in government, state, local, federal governments, whether that’s to the department of engineering technology on campus. And that’s really the role of the board, to be knowledgeable on what the concerns are and what the larger picture of the university is. As a board, you need to be knowledgeable so that you can speak on behalf of students. At the same time, it’s really important, and the role of the board is to be continuously learning. We don’t know everything and there are situations and problems that happen, and just being willing to learn and actively seek out those sources of information is the role of the board as our elected officials.

ASR:  If elected, what specific things will you do to ensure that you represent all students?

RRD:  I think in particular there are two goals that I have about student representation. The first one is I would like to reform the Academic Affairs Council, which was created a couple of years ago and has gone through a few different iterations under the Vice President for Academic Affairs. I really would like to see it be more of a nexus point of information so that students can come to the Academic Affairs Council with different concerns that they have relating to academics. If a student is upset about an interaction due to a policy at Western, then maybe some of the problems we can identify with that are communication regarding the policy or maybe the policy is out of date. So the Academic Affairs Council would be able to explore that issue. So that would be my first goal related to that, and other than that I’d really like to strengthen our Student Senate. For the first two quarters of this year I was the board representative for the Student Senate and I think that we have opportunities for growth within the Senate to be able to explore over the next year. Our current representation is done by what year in school students are and I think that year in school is not the only affector on your perspective. I think that studying, specifically what are your interests, do you know what you’re going to study? Also, we have first-year, second-year, third-year, fourth-year, but then we also have fifth-year, potentially sixth-year, and those could be lumped under “senior,” but could have a vastly different perspective. So I think that looking into the makeup of the Senate to incorporate those other perspectives would be another goal that I have for ensuring a more evolved student representation.

ASR:  Since you’ve been at Western, what has been an important issue facing students that went unaddressed or was dealt with poorly?

RRD:  I think that one of the biggest issues at Western that has been dealt with poorly in the past and is continuing to be dealt with poorly would be the issue of academic advising. Our university is really strong because we have a decentralized emphasis with our colleges and our departments and we have really strong departments and that’s wonderful, but as a consequence of that, we don’t have a centralized system of academic advising. We have the general advising that students get when they come into Summerstart, and we have the Academic Advising office, and then they go off into their departments, and all of the advising is run differently and it’s run differently between different departments and it’s really confusing for students. As a student, knowing which GUR categories I have complete, or which major requirements I still have to complete, or I’m being told incorrect advice by my advisors is something that is very concerning to me as a student and as a current board member and as a candidate for reelection. I think that that is also one of my goals for next year, to work towards strengthening our system for advising because we have advising but it’s not always as accessible and accurate as it could be and that would definitely be the poorly dealt with issue that is a wonderful area for improvement.

ASR:  What has been an issue that was addressed particularly well?

RRD:  I think one thing that I view as being addressed particularly well would just be the entire student technology program. I think that that is a really strong program that was started by students about 15 years ago to increase technology access around campus and that has since gone over a few evolutions in a few different ways. Last year there was a task force set up to identify how would we reform the Student Technology Fee and how would we incorporate that more across campus and how will that evolve now that it is fully within the hands of the students. I think that implementing that restructure that students voted on last year —because students voted on that restructure last year, and voted to increase the fee—was a really powerful statement that students view technology and access to technology as such an integral part of our education. Incorporating that Student Technology Fee restructure that I’ve done over the past year, I think it’s been a great partnership between the Associated Students and students at large, and the administration in particular. In particular, our Information Technology office on campus, I think that has been a success, that we’re able to come together and work in cooperation to strengthen the access to technology on campus. I think that’s a great program that, in the future, there will be a lot fewer issues because of the problem-solving that we’ve done over the past year.