u'Jamin Agosti'

u'Jamin Agosti'

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

Jamin Agosti: I love Western. I came down to Bellingham from Alaska right after high school and immediately fell in love with both the school and the town. I was never a part of ASB or anything like it before college but something about Western really drove me to become super involved. I’ve volunteered countless hours to the AS this year. I know the issues and I know how to get things done. As far as running for the student life position, I really like how it feels directly with the university. The VP for Student Life has an extraordinary ability to do a lot of things that could really have a positive effect on the daily lives of students. For instance, getting WTA bus routes on Google maps or catching Western up to the rest of the U.S. by implementing gender-inclusive housing.

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

JA: The board of directors are first of all elected representatives that are responsible to the students. Their most important role is to accurately representing [sic] the interests of the student body. Beyond that they are in charge of the oversight and operations of the AS as an organization. This includes determining how to best spend the $507 each student pays in Services and Activities Fees. It’s important to elect board members that have clear goals for their term and are in touch with the student body. The VP for Student Life really gets to take on their own projects so it’s important that the position always has a fresh perspective and doesn’t end up ignoring certain aspects of the student life.

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

JA: Accurately representing all students is one of my main priorities. The AS currently appoints dozens of students to councils and committees each year and they do a great job. But it’s not enough. Western, as you may have heard, is going through a re-branding process that is focusing mostly on how to sell the university and improve its image. I want to do the same thing with the Associated Students. While a good portion of the student body knows what the AS is, not enough know the extent of the services that it provides. My goal is to dramatically increase awareness and participation by giving the AS a more hip, cooler image across campus.

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

JA: One thing that I would have liked to see this year is more advocacy for our athletics. The Blue Crew was amazing last year in increasing participation and pride in our sports teams but this year advocacy on part of the AS was really lacking. I think that after the elimination of our football team it’s even more important to make sure that Western athletics remains something that students can be proud of. Towards the beginning of 2010 Western was hearing rumors about the upcoming budget cuts, the same ones that were finalized just a few days ago. I think that Western Votes and the AS, under the direction of this year’s VP for Governmental Affairs, did an amazing job organizing the campus, publicizing the issues and encouraging students to get engaged in their education and their government. Since the state tends to put education last on their list of priorities, it is important that legislators hear from students. I’m confident that next year we’ll do an even better job at promoting governmental issues.

u'Mike Pond'

u'Mike Pond'


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



Mike Pond: I would say, what motivates me to be on the AS board of directors is my passion and devotion to leadership. And really to be on the representative body of the students here at Western really makes me want to be a part of this campus community. And what motivates me specifically, the Vice President for Student Life, is I was a transfer student, so I did my first two years at a community college in Vancouver, Wash. And there wasn’t a lot of campus activities, student life kind of things, that I could participate in. So when I came up to Western I decided to dive in head first and really hit the ground running. I decided to live on campus to get that experience, I joined Hall Council, ran for Hall Council president, was elected, did that for about six weeks and a RA position opened up in Beta/Gamma and I decided to apply for that and really take my experience and leadership further. I got that position and got to serve the residents of Beta/Gamma stack 5 and 6 and really create a community up on the Ridge, which paid off. We actually won hall of the year last year, so that was pretty exciting. What motivates me to run for this position is that all of these issues that Student Life deals with are things that I’m passionate about. Whether its residence halls, dining halls, recreation, transportation, sustainability, anything in between, I have a passion to represent these students in all these areas and really champion the student voices to the university, to the administration and really get things done, to help the students through their Western experience.


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



MP: Well from my experience on the AS board of directors this year, I believe that representation and management are the two big roles of the AS board. I say management because of the 80 plus student workers organization that is the AS and then representation because we are representing the voices of the over 13,000 Western students to the university, to the administration, and really championing those student voices across campus.


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



MP: I’m fortunate with Student Life that outreach and tabling, Red Square kind of stuff, is incorporated into my job description. This year I’ve done tons of tabling and info fairs, being able to answer student questions, being able to ask the students questions. How do you feel about this? How do you feel about that? This year I’ve utilized my liaison position with the RHA, which is the Residence Hall Association, and if there’s something important that I need student feedback on I’ll take it to RHA and ask those students, how do you feel about this? Could you maybe take it back to your hall council? Ask your hall councils about this. Really use that representative system that we have in place on campus. I made hall council visits to directly talk to hall councils and students that represent their halls there. As far as outreach goes, this year I planned a forum for the Green Energy Fee and did all sorts of grassroots advertisement and got over 70 people to come to a forum, which is pretty good because the forum is kind of dying these days. We had over 70 passionate students and we also did a survey for that to collect feedback so that when the Green Energy Fee committee was writing the legislation that we’ll all vote on, we really took the student voice into account and really, what they said impacted what we took to the board. So I’m well versed in outreach and being able to connect to the average student on multiple issues.


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



MP: Well, I think besides the Tech Fee, which was kind of a university boo boo, which the Associated Students picked up and was great at the response to that, and actually that was part of the implementation of the restructure of the Technology Fee this year, which has been a good experience. But I would say something that kind of pertains to my area, last year, at the beginning of the year, we had to house over 40 residents off campus in a motel. It was kind of a last minute resort, last ditch effort, to house those students. But your first month of college off campus and not being able to build that community, that’s so important for your freshman year right off the bat and not being able to connect with an RA that’ll maintain through the rest of the year or roommates or really build that community. I saw that as something that maybe we could have figured out another option but it was last minute, last resort thing but this year we’ve taken steps to improve that with the construction of the Buchanan Towers so we’re hoping that we don’t have to go that way in the future, fingers crossed. And something that was handled particularly well, like I said, the AS response to the Tech Fee was pretty great from last year’s AS board. But I would say that something that has gone well that maybe doesn’t get a lot of recognition, I would have to say would be the Alternative Transportation Fee and that whole system. It’s in its third year here and it’s gone great. The student feedback is all positive. We’re taking steps to incorporate the bus pass from WTA on to our Western card to consolidate the cards in an average student’s wallet. Pretty much the program has only showed growth that students are participating, that they’re becoming part of this culture of sustainability and alternative transportation. I think that that’s an area of my job that doesn’t get a lot of praise or recognition but it’s gone immensely well.