Below you will find the re-printed interviews with the candidates running for AS VP for activities during this week’s run-off election:

Mario Orallo-Molinaro

Candidate Statement: My dear brothers and sisters of Western, real change happens when the needs and concerns of Western students are addressed individually and as a whole. It takes real listening, real caring and real action. Committed representation as a WE community, not just ME, is one of my main operating principles. I believe the true energy of Western is created by YOU: your beauty, your kindness and, finally, your love. Finding it is key. My main platform is a grassroots promotion in clubs and activities that enhances students’ growth here at Western, while highlighting our diverse, talented and multicultural community. STAND UP WESTERN for your right to expression through clubs and activities with me. Thank you.

Why are you seeking this position?

I’m seeking this position because I’ve been inspired through the hard work of my peers, from my friends. I look out every day and I see people doing what they love and I see people being who they want to be here and I cannot tell you just how amazing that feels—to see people doing what they love. And when I see some students and even faculty and staff not quite sure of what they want to do, I want to help them out, just to inspire them, try to find out what their core is. That’s the reason I’m seeking this position: because I want to learn more about Western students and try and find their special talent, their spice that they feel they could add or they could bring to Western.

What do you think is the role of VP for activities?

Not only is it the role of the VP [for] activities to guide, inspire and assist the board in terms of all means in terms of clubs, activities, but I believe this specific role is to remind the board and show the board that each and every person here—every club, every program—has a place here at Western. When we wake up every day that it is our job and it is our goal to make sure that each program, each club is supported. That’s what I think this role is—to find, yet again, what the club, program, volunteer, employee—what their special talent is or their spice, and try to enhance that, and assisting and guiding it.

Tell us about one issue affecting students that you think the AS Board of Directors should focus on next year.

Again, the big one for me is the idea of believing in themselves, or more the idea that every student has a place here at Western. I feel that is the biggest thing. Some students, they feel like sometimes their path is not clear. We need to go big more, I feel. The issue is that people don’t have faith in themselves. People don’t have faith that they can do it. I feel so much that the board, the [VP for] activities or just some representatives to tell students that there are resources; there are people here for you, here for the students.

This year, the AS has had to deal with funding cuts and tough budget decisions. How will you help maintain the quality of AS programs, services and events if these budget issues continue?

Just reminding the board each and every day that what we represent is bigger than [our]selves, that when we wake up each and every morning, we represent a bigger whole, that we have to continue to work hard, not only think optimistically but think rationally, that our students and that our community needs us. I will personally remind the board that we need to keep the faith. Keep the faith as a whole. There are tons of cuts; there are tons of tough budget decisions, but that doesn’t mean that we as a community cannot fight through it and that we have to, as a community, work together, through collaboration, through communication, just working together.

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Ben Neyman

Candidate Statement: As a student admissions representative, I work constantly to promote the amazing community of Western Washington University. With awesome features like the Outdoor Center, the Underground Coffeehouse and over 200 clubs, there is nothing not to love about our campus! All these fantastic features are provided by the Associated Students, and I would love to spread the magic of the AS and what it offers to every corner of the campus. One area I would like to focus on especially is working with Residence Life and all the campus hall councils. As a current Resident Life employee, as well as vice president of Mathes, I see residence halls as a place in which our clubs can shine and bring unity to our incredible community.

Why are you seeking this position?

I’m seeking it because I love Western, first off. I am a student admissions representative, so I help bring students to Western, and I pretty much promote it to everyone I can—it’s kind of my job to bring out the beauty of Western. I want to further serve it by helping create what I represent through my other job, to really bring clubs together, bring departments together. It’s kind of what I really want to do.

What do you think is the role of VP for activities?

[VP for] Activities pretty much serves as a liaison between all the clubs on campus and the board of directors, so I’m kind of the go-to person if you have needs, if you want to add a club, if you want more funding, less funding—things like that. I serve to cater all the needs of the clubs and really bring those needs to the board of directors so their needs can be met or addressed. 

Tell us about one issue affecting students that you think the AS Board of Directors should focus on next year.

I think AS involvement and getting people into clubs is something we should continue to focus on. I know we’ve been focusing on it now, but I think the more people we can bring into our clubs helps bring our university together and our campus together, so increasing club attendance.

This year, the AS has had to deal with funding cuts and tough budget decisions. How will you help maintain the quality of AS programs, services and events if these budget issues continue?

Hopefully, one of the things I’m trying to do in my AS position is help unify the departments. I think that bringing our resources together and catering to the needs of other departments with what the AS has to offer—really bring our resources together and help make the campus more interdependent and greater, because we’re depending on each other rather than our own need for outside funding. We could really use our own resources, and I think that’s something that should be worked on the most.