Alisha Beck

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

Alisha Beck: First off, I want to say that I love the AS organization.  Currently I work in the Personnel Office and I see how it works on a daily basis and I wish I had gotten involved sooner.  I love being involved and I love being in leadership positions.  My senior year of high school I was ASB president and yearbook editor, as well as involved in various other clubs and volunteering activities.  I thrive when I’m busy and I’m extremely organized.  I have a passion for helping people and giving others opportunities they might not otherwise have.  As VP for Activities I would have the opportunity to help clubs receive funding to put on activities and events.  I want to enrich the college experience of the students at Western as much as the AS has enriched mine.  With over 200 clubs on campus there is something for everyone.  And I want to help students in finding that something for them.

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

AB: Most obviously, the board is the representation of students’ voices within the university.  And also ultimately the managers of the AS as an organization.

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

AB: This is actually a very key piece in my campaign.  I believe that the board is there to represent you, the students of Western.  I feel that this is very easy to do to ensure that your voices are heard.  Simply, I would talk to students.  While in line for coffee, before class starts, on the bus, just trying to reach students on the Viking Village forum.  Since I would be representing and making decisions on your behalf, it’s key that we listen to what you have to say, and take that into consideration prior to our decisions.  I will make sure that your voice is heard.

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

AB: I think that this would be the Student Technology Fee. Last year, not many students know, but the board discovered that the university was withholding part of their shares that they were supposed to be paying for the Student Tech Fee.  And because of the board of directors this was discovered and we now have great new computer labs for students.

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

AB: Currently, as a student initiated issue, the AS is currently working with admins to approve gender-neutral housing.  Students that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered were previously isolated in single dorm rooms.  And this new housing option would provide all students with housing options that make them feel comfortable.  And although there have been some issues with house proposals, gender inclusive housing …has been moving along.  I believe that it is an amazing step forward for Western.

Tasheon Chillous

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

Tasheon Chillous: Well, the reason I wanted to run is because I have a passion for leadership.  I want to increase the number of students in the AS and involvement in clubs and activities on campus.  My motivation comes from my involvement in hall council this year, at least at Western.  And my motivation from just being involved in Hall Council comes from my leadership experience last year in student programs at Pierce College. I just also want to get the best out of my Western experience possible.  And I’m also very driven.  And my experience last year has driven me to be more of a leader in the school, the community of the school.

ASR:  What do you believe the role of the AS Board of Directors is?

TC: I believe…the role of the board of directors is to serve the students and represent them first. They do a lot of things, like setting policy on campus, things that students don’t even know that’s going on with fees and stuff.  I believe the role of the board of directors is to serve students first.  And also they do this by setting policy and get—bringing students resources and things on campus whether it be like the LGBTQ or the new office of disabilities for disabilities and give a voice to the administration and the board of trustees.

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

TC: First my plan is to have a biweekly booth in Red Square. And this [is] a suggestion I got from a club recently that I’ve visited.  They want to see the AS out there and actually getting feedback from students and representing students, because a lot of the students don’t know what the AS is or what they do.  And having this biweekly table in Red Square will help them know more about the AS and it will help us better represent the students.  And also for activities and representing students in that way I just want to give clubs their resources they need to bring different activities to campus and just create a community on campus that promotes relationships and just connections for leadership.

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

TC: Being that I am from a community college and I was involved with my student government last year, I knew I was coming in to Western knowing that there is going to be budget cuts and tuition hikes.  Being that I went from a two-year to a four-year, I noticed that the tuition hikes here were dealt with but were addressed but not dealt with clearly enough for the students to understand what was going on campus.  I mean, that students did go out and try to work with the administration and see what they can do and go down to and rally, but I don’t think it was addressed or it was dealt with poorly by the administration.

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

TC: It’s the same thing with budget cuts but it was the work study program. This is just basically representing the students that they just went out and did the rally and down in Olympia.  Eighty students came down to get work study to make work, to make sure that work study wasn’t cut.  They, I mean, 30 percent of it was cut, but because of the student it wasn’t 100 percent cut.

Abraham Rodriguez-Hernandez

AS Review:  Why do you want to serve on the AS Board of Directors?  What motivates you to seek this specific position?

Abraham Rodriguez-Hernandez: First of all, I want to serve as a representative of the Western experience and the Western community and what I like to call the Western family is in regards to the defining a student body. You may ask yourself, what is the Western experience? I consider [it] the right or privilege to have the access to leadership through education as well as extracurricular activities. And the magnificent thing is, well it’s not so magnificent, it’s the thing that motivates me the most, it’s the lack [of] connection between leadership and involvement.  There is tons of leadership going on but it’s rarely any involvement to the student family that I like to call. And I feel like that’s the thing that motivates me the most, the role that I can play with it, building that bridge and most importantly, leaders, like I said, are making humongous strides in cultivating a culture of leadership.  It’s evident how poorly the students from Western Washington are actually participating in this in the student body elections.  Last year itself it’s evident. I think it was only like 17 or 18 percent of students actually voted. So on that note it’s [a] lack of involvement where I see myself playing a vital part and I want to bring leadership and activities opportunities, not just as a culture but as a lifestyle. And when I say that I mean that. Instead of me waiting for you to come to my office, if elected, I want to bring it to your world. That’s your classrooms, your cafeterias, your bathrooms if I have to. Whatever it is, I’m going to take the initiative to actually do that and, like I said before, I don’t really want to create an identity of Western, of leadership, but mainly a state of mind where it’s actually sustainable through generations so we don’t have to keep restructuring what leadership is. It’s actually a form of a GUR, kind of like an educational part of leadership.  Because when I think of VP for Activities, to act, in my opinion, is to lead.  To do something in regards to leadership, to have the initiative to do something. I actually have four points in regards to what motivates me and what I want to achieve. The first thing is educate through awareness. So in academics, inject the GUR system with a course mainly on leadership. Its curriculum, its theory, its practicum, ethical and responsible leadership. Through that I will provide activities to participate and engage in leadership activities. The third one, after students take the class are actually engaging and participating in leadership activities, they actually have the opportunity to develop an identity as a leader, as a student leader.  I might emphasize that the part that says that, a student leader, because without a strong background in academics, you will rarely become an effective leader.  It will just happen through experience and the actual ability to lead. What I will do is act as a facilitator for others to actually lead. The last one would be just celebrating and recognizing their achievements in leadership and their involvement.  I just want to say, what motivates me, what I want to do within the position, is mainly all in regards to getting people involved because it is pointless for me to get be elected if only 18 people are voting.  That’s not even a position.  The reason why people like faculty have jobs, the reason why students like me would have a job, is because the student[s] that need that service. It would be a privilege for me to actually provide that for them.

ASR:  What do you believe the role of the AS Board of Directors is?

ARH: Alright,  so I’ll bring that into a more personal note. I would say my role within the AS board of directors, if elected, it would be to facilitate the accessibility to leadership and its activities, mainly to represent the students’ needs and the size, even if they conflict with my own bias. Just serving them and not my voice. Also initializing a leadership grassroot movement where we actually go out and actually interact with students and actually create a family, a community, not a committee, because that’s like it kind of has higher powers.  I’m trying to create a community based on leadership and involvement of activities.  And once that happens, I think it’s important to and vital to emphasize that as a leader, as a representative of a university, any type of director— ASB, vice president, president, whatever it may be—you cannot lead without following your students’ voices and in doing so you cannot be representative without listening and interacting with them.  I feel like the movement would be a grassroot movement where we actually interact together, students and us.

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

ARH: That’s a really good question. What I have is, basically, mostly based on the involvement in, once the grassroot have been initiated. I would, like I said before, I want to go into your lifestyle.  I’m trying to impose leadership as a way of living, not as in like a click on and off button, actually select when you’re leading and when you’re not a leader. You walk as a leader, you have a purpose as a leader and, like I said before, I want to develop a community of leadership that is not a committee because I feel like that kind of segregates people. Practical steps that I would like to take is creating an online leadership and activities forum. Like I said before, going to residence halls and taking the initiative to go to cafeterias and actually gain students’ input. Also, a surveying students after activities to see if they actually liked it, if they actually had a purpose, if they don’t to actually talk to us and actually interact with us to improve those activities. One of the biggest ones I feel is shifting from the perspective of student body to a student family because once you create a family, it’s hard. A healthy dialect can be created from there.  And also creating a mentoring leadership network with faculty and with staff so we can actually have a perspective of what goes behind the scenes of what we’re actually doing.  And I think the most important one is visiting clubs, listening to their actual needs, to their desires, because, I like I said before, if you don’t understand their voice, you’re doing nothing.

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

ARH: Well, most currently, there’s been a lot of budget cuts and that’s been affecting a lot in a lot of different ways. I feel, like I said before, the whole point of a university to exist is the fact that there’s a student, there’s a client, there’s the students.  They’re block[ing] the student in.  I feel like the elimination of certain programs and resources was a bad choice. It might have been necessary, but it was a bad choice. I even have a suggestion as in regards to creating community partnerships.  Imagine this:  Say, for example, you go to Microsoft and you tell them, we’ll give you ten scholarships; what we want you to do is pay us that money and instead of giving it as tuition for those ten students they give that to activities and those ten students use it to attend Western.  Really, what is the difference between ten students paying for tuition and specifically that money going into activities. Or even on a more personal basis, getting pay cuts ourselves as student leaders.  Or as representatives. You don’t need to get paid to be a representative. I feel like that’s a privilege. You shouldn’t be getting paid for that.  Also, again emphasize that without students we don’t have a job to serve and I like to call it a duty because I feel like it’s my duty to do that.

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

ARH: Well, historically speaking, at least in the concept of my scheme, deciding that we don’t have a Greek system in the university, because I feel like that would kind of like segregate communities and create subgroups within a community. Most of all the students, the VPs, actually supporting financial aid, trying to retain tuition down. Recently, I think it was last quarter, they had a meeting and they actually decided they want to support undocumented students in their access to education. That doesn’t mean that they’re endorsing them, it just means that they’re actually supporting their cause. I just think that’s a magnificent step, a higher education institution already deciding that that’s what they want to achieve, providing education for everybody not just for a few elite people. To close, I would like to say that education is a daily weapon but it doesn’t compare to the correlation between education and leadership.  You don’t have to kill anybody. Education and leadership changes the world.