2011 Candidates for VP for activities

Daniel Hagen

Candidate Statement: My name is Daniel Hagen, and I’m running for VP for activities to create change within the club system. I currently serve on Activities Council, Inter-Club Council and I also have the honor of being president of both Out of State Student Association and WWU’s Monsters: The Lady GaGa Club. These experiences have given me the skills I need to serve the students of Western and to improve the club infrastructure as VP for activities. Club activities affect everybody on campus whether they attend events or not because they create a community. If you give me the opportunity to represent your voice to the board of directors, I’ll ensure dynamic changes to the club infrastructure that will positively impact Western’s community.

Why are you seeking this position?

The reason I am seeking this position is that I care about the club system. I myself am president of two clubs—Out of State Students Association and WWU Monsters: Lady GaGa Club. I’ve noticed since I’ve been president of those clubs that it’s kind of difficult to make progress within the club system, so if you want your club to be popular and you’re having a difficulty, it can really feel like there are no options available to you, which is really frustrating for me because I’ve worked within the club infrastructure so I know there are options that are available, but I just don’t think the knowledge of the availability of those options is there. So I really want to try to better the club system.

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

It’s stated that the VP for activities is the liaison between the board of directors and clubs. I see that in many ways: I see that as meaning that the VP for activities needs to not only represent club interests to the board and really vote in favor of activities and possibilities for clubs to really enrich their options. In addition, I view the role of VP for activities to be somebody who not only advocates for, but is the strongest advocate for activities on campus.

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

One of the couple of issues that we are talking about in Inter-Club Council is the use of Blackboard, so that’s something a couple of club leaders have been working on trying to solve that issue, the issue that we see as being there, so that’s a big one on the mind of some students I’ve talked to. Another issue that I think the board of directors should address is—this is tough because it’s not directly addressable—is student involvement on campus, because the whole point of the infrastructure is there to create a positive community on campus and to really help students engage and to really give students the opportunities they need not only to find out about leadership but also get involved on campus and clubs really give them an opportunity to do that. If students don’t feel welcomed on campus or if they don’t feel like there are opportunities available for them, then they’re not going to be inspired to learn. If we can really amp up that atmosphere, we can really make Western Washington University more dynamic in general.

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?

You’re talking to the right man, because I’m kind of an expert on working on a budget. As president of Out of State Students Association, we are loathe to ask for money, so anything that we do for planning events we really have to keep—I don’t want to say low-key—but really have to be careful in what we plan. And that’s not necessarily meaning that we’re frugal, it just means we’re not necessarily buying the things we don’t need, we’re not spending money in ways that are wasteful or in ways that aren’t achieving the results that we want. We carefully analyze every spending decision. Speaking specifically in terms of maintaining the quality of AS programs and events, I believe as vice president for activities, it’s important that the vice president advocate for programming on campus. One of the things I’ve done through Activities Council is really challenge students to provide the best events that they can, whether it’s small things like, “You might”—if they give us an itinerary—“You might want to shorten this break because people will lose interest in that period,” or whether it’s things like, “Have you looked at this menu section, because I don’t necessarily know if all of this is needed.” It’s kind of cutting out the excess but maintaining the real integrity of the event that I see as being important and it’s actually very achievable.

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Rachel Bowers

Candidate Statement: I am Rachel Bowers and, with your vote, your next VP for activities. A junior majoring in political science and communication, I’ve been committed to the AS for the last two years. Through my involvement in Activities Council, Western Votes, student senate and working in the Publicity Center, I have the skills and knowledge to best benefit your activities at Western.
I’m running for this position for one reason: you. We’re facing dire budget cuts in the upcoming year, and I’ll work to preserve what really makes this university thrive: the clubs and events run by you, the students. I want to increase awareness about events and resources available to growing clubs on campus and provide you with the tools to make your ideas flourish.

Why are you seeking this position?

I’m running for this position because I’m passionate about student involvement on campus. I believe college should provide a foundation for students to follow their dreams and at Western we have the privilege of providing students and their clubs with that opportunity. I’ve been utilizing these opportunities the last two years and now I want to share them with other students.

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

VP for activities acts as the liaison between clubs and organizations on campus and the board of directors, so basically the position should make decisions and vote in the interest of clubs and students as a whole. The vice president for activities should also be continuously working to make the club system on campus more efficient and informed which I plan to do by spending time familiarizing students with the resources available in the AS.

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

A big issue affecting students in the upcoming year will be scheduling and registration conflicts due to budget cuts and program eliminations and cut-downs. I think the board should focus on making our registration system more efficient and accommodating. There have been a lot of complaints this year about the waitlist system and I think the board needs to take a step to help the university rework our course registration programs.

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?

I’ve spent a lot of time this year fighting against—but simultaneously preparing for—upcoming budget cuts. One thing I want to focus on next year is helping clubs and organizations find alternative sources of funding and working with the community. There are many opportunities available in Bellingham, and we won’t have to decrease the quality of programs because of budget issues. Bellingham is unique in the way that we are a college town yet very community-oriented. I think that as a result of budget cuts, we will have the golden opportunity to work through other avenues to sustain efficiency and fund new projects.

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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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John von Volkli

Candidate Statement: My name is John von Volkli, and I am a sophomore running for VP for activities.
Over the past year, I have been intimately involved with sustaining the abilities of the AS, serving on Activities Council, as well as the AS Budget, SPAC and TAP committees, among others. I am also a club publicity officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of WWU.
As VP for activities I plan to increase awareness of clubs and the opportunities they offer. I also intend to reemphasize club cooperation and dialogue in an effort to expand programming and opportunities to students.
Next year, I intend to continue fighting for the broad and engaging college experience that all Vikings deserve.
I look forward to working for you and with you.

Why are you seeking this position?

I am seeking this office because I believe that I have the communication skills and AS experience necessary to be an effective communicator for clubs and student leaders and be an objective but reasoned voice in the board of directors.

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

Well, basically the role of VP for activities is acting as a liaison between clubs and the greater AS organization; letting clubs know what resources are available to them through Activities Council and also working on the sort of the cohesion of a general club message having to do with involvement or on-campus activities, and putting on leadership events like the “Lock and Lead” event.

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

I think accessibility of programming is something that every board has to deal with, but that especially in times of budget crises, students need to know that there is a lot of accessible, on-campus programming, and a lot of it has to do with clubs and club programming—whether it’s a speaker event, like the one Socialist Alternative is putting on—InkSpeak, something pretty easy to get involved with if you want to have an in-road to maybe an AS Review job, for instance. So I think that even when your wallet is looking small, there is still a lot of really interesting and important roles you can play on campus in the AS without having to, you know, be hired for a job for instance, or run for the board of directors.

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?

Well, I think it’s becoming apparent that these budget issues are going to continue for the next couple of years, at least for the couple of years that I’ll be going to the university, so I’m definitely right there with students who are concerned about that but…. Serving on the budget committee this year, I’m pretty well-versed in what is facing the AS in terms of budget cuts and I’ve been working all year to try [to] make sure that even though realistically we are going to have some setbacks, I’ve been trying to make sure those setbacks don’t cut into the programming and services that students interact with on a day-to-day basis.

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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.