Breanna Jones

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

BreAnna Jones: The main reason why I want to serve on the AS board of directors is because I feel like I’ve had a lot of privilege going into the university and Western has done so much for me as to my professional development as well as my social development. A couple years ago I kind of gave up on the AS, I kind of saw that they weren’t doing much and recently with me shadowing Matt Jarrell, I realized that the AS does have to do a lot with student life here on campus and though they don’t make a lot of big changes, changes do happen. Since I’m in a variety of different areas on campus, I feel like if I was able to consolidate all of those places I would be able to better serve the university as a whole instead of compartmentalizing myself throughout the whole campus. The main thing that motivates me is knowing that the AS President is a big resource for the majority of the campus and being able to be a resource for individuals who are at the university and prospective students as well motivates me to do that because I want to make an impact on student life here on campus and, most importantly, the students that will come after I leave the university. So, being an active resource to people and also just promoting the AS more. I feel like we have so much potential here at Western. We have 13,000 plus students and working at the Admissions Office, I’ve seen a lot of the files of the students and I know that they’re individuals that can be empowered but they haven’t had the opportunity to do so and I feel like, if I am in a leadership position, I would be able to tap into the different talents that we haven’t used yet at Western and to make our university improve and make that improvement sustainable so that it can continue on in the next couple years or so.

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

BJ: Well, for me, the AS board of directors is — they’re supposed to promote, for one, the Associated Students and secondly, their job is to make sure the student life here on campus is comfortable —Astudents are comfortable here as well as their voices are being heard. Also, I know that they’re supposed to represent the interests of Western students on all issues, not just issues that are pertaining to academic life, but to all issues. And also, working with the AS is important to the Bellingham community itself. It’s an actual place, a physical place, where [if] someone from the outside Bellingham community wanted to communicate with Western students, that would be the avenue for them to do so. And, just like I said before, they work to promote the Associated Students throughout the whole Western community.

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

BJ: If I am elected — I have a four-part platform. The first one is: try to keep tuition affordable. I know that I cannot do that alone but I know that with the VP of Governmental Affairs, I know that it’s his job to be the voice for students that are here on campus. Tuition’s a pretty serious matter. So just being able to work through different elected positions, such as Governmental Affairs, we can ensure that tuition can be stable, predictable and affordable. Especially when communicating to legislators. Two: to sustain and increase the quality of education. I know that we lost about $3.8 million of our operating budget. Budget cuts usually mean a decrease in the quality of education but if I work with the VP of Academic Affairs, I can charge the VP for Academic Affairs to reach out to places like the AS Senate Chair, increase communication between each college dean and each college, and then also for the VP of Diversity, to encourage students of color [to] enroll or to become interested in programs that they haven’t been exposed to. Also with that whole money issue that we’re having in the quality of education, increasing transparency. I know that Bruce Shepard this year, he talked about making sure that all the decision-making and whatnot is more transparent, but I feel like it’s transparent to people who are heavily involved in activities on campus, but for the majority of the students, it’s not. So finding more ways to inform the student body. And my third point is: unite the student body. Like I said before, the responsibility of the board is to work to promote the AS through campus and I feel like it’s a responsibility that has not been fulfilled. And, knowing that we have more than 200 clubs recognized here on campus, I think that we’re not working under a united front. And the united front, it’s a strategy and it’s not just a tactic. It’s designed to get students who aren’t interested in the Associated Students interested. I can’t do it alone, but with my VPs I know that I can do it. That would include working with the VP of Activities. I would suggest to the VP of Activities to have programs to inject leadership into people who are in the different clubs and to unite them under a common vision instead of all of these different visions that we have going on, figuring out a way to consolidate them. And, for the VP of Student Life, I can make the third point happen by suggesting an increase in communication with students in the residence halls, off campus, and, most importantly, promote through campus, which is not limited to Hall Council visits, tabling in Red Square, but to go beyond the whole Info Fair kind of program that we have. In the beginning of the year, everybody knows about Info Fair and we have all the resources out there, but throughout the year that energy dies down and it’s just a matter of keeping that up. My last point is: sustain and improve the eco-friendliness of Western. Right now, I know that we purchase 100 percent renewable energy by supporting a wind energy plant but I feel like we can always do more. We have the Vote Green on our ballots right now which could potentially allow us to buy more renewable energy credits, or RECs, but we can always do more. And we have the Huxley College of Environment, which is supposed to be here to help us prepare for issues that will happen, potentially tomorrow, pertaining to the environment. And to just promote the goal that President Karen Morse set for us in 2007, which means continue to develop the Climate Neutrality Plan. Most important for the VPs, I know that they’ve been ordered to improve the eco-friendliness of our campus. We need to go into the different classes. We have so many different resources here on campus but not many people know about it. If we can figure out how to consolidate some of the things that we have here on campus and to promote them more, I believe that it can make it all a better and a much stronger and sustainable infrastructure that could benefit us in the next couple years. For instance, before my little brother and my little sister go here.

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?

BJ: Well I can say that my first couple years here at Western was just the issue of diversity and going with diversity throughout the campus. And I don’t mean just ethnic diversity, but a diversity in ideas and in interests and whatnot because when I first came here I honestly felt like I was entering a suburban community where people didn’t really care about the whole idea of the campus, but instead their individual needs and wants. And, I feel like the issue of diversity, it has been addressed somewhat. I was given the privilege of being able to start a program in the Office of Admissions to try to figure out why is it that people that have really, really diverse backgrounds decide not to go to Western. And why is it that the faculty that are here at Western that are from diverse backgrounds, they also have a low retention rate. The retention rate of minorities in particular had been a big issue of mine but each and every year I’ve been working really, really hard to figure out why this is happening and also to make it more sustainable. I know that the VP of Diversity and Student Life is working on it and it’s just like a matter of getting people who are much different than who’s already here, such as the exchange students. Creating a better support system for the under-represented individuals here on campus. I think that the issue of inter-club dialogue had been addressed pretty well. Within the Associated Students, all the different clubs that are there. My first couple years, I felt like there was a lot of separation in the different clubs. But I feel like in this year and last year the inter-club dialogue has increased. Clubs have started to collaborate with each other more. I don’t know if it’s because of the AS VP of Activities, what they’re doing, or what else is going on, but I’ve noticed that there’s been a lot more unity in the different clubs and also in the different ROP offices. So, collaboration, I feel like, has been dealt with a lot more with sustaining the different clubs that we have here and improving the programs that we have here. Also, the amount of programs that we have here has been dealt with pretty well, [with] the publicity office getting overwhelmed.

Colin Watrin

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

Colin Watrin: My main reason for running has been mostly my experience this year on the AS board as the Vice President for Activities and that’s given me a lot of experience in terms of seeing what the strengths of the AS are and the university and also areas that could be improved. I really want to take that voice and opinion and that experience and take that to the president’s role because I believe that I could take that experience and represent students most effectively that way.

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

CW: The way I see it, there’s three main functions of board members. First is to represent student voices on different committees throughout the university and those are probably the most effective way that student voice are heard to the administration and most effectively help out in the decision-making process around our school. Second, main role is very position-specific based on that board member’s role.  Student Life is dealing with issues in housing and dining and the Recreation Center and Academics with academics. The AS President’s main role is dealing with the board of trustees, Alumni Association, University Foundation, some of those more broader administrative roles. And lastly, the role of the board of directors is to be the managers of the Associated Students organization and the program offices, which is a role that has been lacking lately and I think that’s a role that I’d like to see the board take on stronger next year.

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

CW: So obviously, the best way to ensure that is to talk to students themselves, but having 14,000 voices to represent is not easy. I think there’s a lot of mechanisms in place already that we could utilize to help capture student voices, including the Residence Hall Association, things like the Interclub Council, RHA [Residence Hall Association], I already said that, Ethnic Student Center Presidents’ Council, different groups like that, the Student Senate, which already have a feed on what’s going on on campus and student voices. But really utilizing those groups to ask them to go out and seek student opinions and bring it back so we can make the most effective decisions.

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?

CW: I think a good example of an issue that was both addressed fairly poorly and fairly well was last year with the Student Technology Fee. The mishandling of some student fee money by the university administration is not a good thing. Without our student fee dollars being managed properly, the student experience wouldn’t happen the way it’s supposed to. But I think also, at the same time, that situation was handled very well by last year’s board of directors. They took pretty quick and decisive action to ensure that things like that won’t happen again in the future in terms of creating more oversight on all the fee committees that handle student fee money. And I think also the creation of the new AS charter between the AS and the university administration that was created by this year’s board has a lot of pieces in place that will help prevent future mishaps like that.

John Woodworth

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

John Woodworth: Well, I’ve been in education for a little while now.  I’m a secondary education emphasis literature major and I’ve also been living in a library and I’ve physically had more experiences than I can count that have been worth writing books on. I feel like I’m living a best seller and I don’t have time to write it down. And I just want to start enacting the most amount of change as humanly possible and affect the most amount of lives positively and I believe I’ve found some, almost like equations that I think I can implement into a campus this size and not only affect Washington State as a whole but eventually the whole United States in one year of being elected. So, hopefully I can be the best human being I can be if I am elected AS President this election.

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

JW: As a director, you’ve got to have a sense of harmony, I think is the biggest thing. You’ve got to be able to facilitate, be a liaison, a resource, someone who’s dedicated to helping out everyone and isn’t seeking to further any specific agenda other than the optimum amount of good. As far as that specific role, as someone who’s leading a group of people and helping facilitate meetings, I think it’s really important that we have someone who’s lived a life that’s been diverse. I have experiences in my head that I always want to relate and help other people reflect but it’s more important to be a clear reflection of, water for other people to see themselves in and I think that I’ll be a great representation of that for not only the people in my cabinet, or the board, but also the entire school.

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

JW: Already I kind of feel like my life is caught in a space where I don’t have a specific door to go into. I’m kind of in a hallway and I’ve been there and the world’s expanding around me but I’ve always stayed in this stationary position. I’m trying to do my best already to represent my house, which is the alternative library, the sushi tribe, but also the oasis, another student co-op, my family, just every organization I’ve ever been a part of, the food bank, the ground floor, the whole Bellingham as a community. Since I believe that Bellingham is kind of a Mecca for enlightenment or growth on a spiritual level, it’s important that, I think, we have a candidate who’s definitely got a life that’s considered spiritual and something to hold on to and I definitely have a lot of experience in that category. But then again, we all do. But how do you define or compete? It’s kind of hard.

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?

JW: It’s been tough because we have so many systems in place in humanity, but we don’t have any systems bringing us out of those systems and towards humanity. And it’s kind of a hard thing to picture, but I believe that this year we can implement one specific system that’ll be a catalyst for change throughout the whole and hopefully bring about change throughout the whole world. It’s basically with water and water awareness, and teaching people health advocacy awareness for themselves as well as other people. And that’s been something that I’ve had to figure out on my own, through my own trial and error and my own experiences, gone out and tested the waters, literally, in several different areas of life to figure out what’s the best place to go. Something that we’ve done well is basically set all this up. Western seems like this beautiful place that’s just got the ground floor completely laid out and now it’s time to really build a student body that’s more connected than ever. I hear a lot of people complaining about diversity issues and I think there’s a William’s syndrome out there too, and I don’t know if that’s a syndrome, but it’s where we’re evolving into where people see past race and people see people as people. And it’s true, people are people where ever you go and instead of othering and thinking that we need to be more diverse, it’s important that we just kind of mother and nature each other, or nurture each other, we’re already kind of naturing each other.  I feel like we’ve already done really well establishing ourselves at Western but possibly not in the community as much as we could be. I’ve definitely had my feet in other organizations and it’s really hard to get support and to show people that this is something that works. How to get involved when the school itself doesn’t have any classes that are aboutholistic health or having Fairhaven even separated a little bit. Students don’t know what Fairhaven is. I didn’t for like three years and I’ve been here about five years or so. And I’m looking to actually create a class at Fairhaven that’s integrating lots of things from basically a contemporary culture class that’s also integrated with this idea of mixing, DJ-ing, hip-hop, but also connecting it a little bit with astrology because I believe that’s one thing that it’d be really good for a lot of students and people to learn because it’s basically learning about themselves.