Shawna Leader/The AS Review

Considering running for the AS board of directors, or want to be an informed voter? In this two-part series, each of the current board members will describe what they do, from committees to day-to-day activities.

All board members attend weekly board meetings and work sessions, as well as perform other board-specific duties such as maintaining office hours, checking in with AS employees and reviewing meeting minutes.

u'\u201cYou\u2019re not stuck in an office. You\u2019re able to go and interact with students and to be part of meetings \u2026 to really dialogue with students and understand where they\u2019re coming from and what their concerns are.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

u'\u201cYou\u2019re not stuck in an office. You\u2019re able to go and interact with students and to be part of meetings \u2026 to really dialogue with students and understand where they\u2019re coming from and what their concerns are.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

Vice President for Diversity
Bernard Ikegwuoha

Of all the AS board positions, this one is the most flexible, Ikegwuoha said. Rather than sit on several committees, Ikegwuoha attends up to 14 Ethnic Student Center (ESC) club meetings per week and works closely with the ESC.
“[My position] affords me the chance and the opportunity to reach out to diversity,” he said.

Ikegwuoha serves on some committees, such as the ESC Steering Committee, and facilitates the ESC Council of Presidents, which is comprised of the president of each of the ESC clubs. Any issues the clubs may be facing are addressed at this council. He also serves on the university’s departmental Diversity Task Forces as needed, and will serve on the Gender-Inclusive Housing Task Force.

This year, Ikegwuoha has assisted with the Disability Outreach Center proposal and has served on Diversity Task Force, which was created this year to address the needs of staff and faculty of color.

Ikegwuoha also helps ESC clubs with event coordination and assists in planning the ESC fall training.

This year, Ikegwuoha assisted in organizing a lobbying trip to Olympia for underrepresented students. This event, which Ikegwuoha listed as one of his proudest achievements of the year, gave students the opportunity to tell senators how budget cuts and changes to financial aid would affect them.

Students considering running for the position shouldn’t worry about being diverse enough, Ikegwuoha said.
“We’re all diverse in our own way. …The one thing we always try to emphasize to people is that diversity is all-encompassing,” he said.

u'\u201cA lot of the things that I do come from the students,  reacting to what students want.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

u'\u201cA lot of the things that I do come from the students, reacting to what students want.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

Vice President for Student Life
Mike Pond

This position primarily involves working with students and addressing issues that students bring up, Pond said. The VP for Student Life acts as a liaison between students and Western’s administration and represents the student voice in meetings with members of the administration.

“Sometimes they’ll turn to me and [say] ‘how do the students feel?’ and I’ll have to articulate how students would want to be represented on campus and in these meetings,” Pond said.

Committees and task forces that Pond serves on include the AS Transportation Advisory Committee (chair), Student Tech Fee Committee (vice chair), Alternative Transportation Fee Committee (vice chair), Renewable Energy Fee Committee (chair), Campus Dining Committee, Executive Dining Committee, Residence Hall Association, Residential Advisory Committee, Central Health and Safety Committee, Rec Center Advisory Committee, Housing and Dining Budget Committee and Gender-Inclusive Housing Task Force.

Pond also serves on temporary committees, such as the Buchanan Towers Addition Steering Committee and the LEED Committee, which works toward achieving LEED certification for the Buchanan Towers addition. He also served on the H1N1 Response Team last quarter.

One difficulty Pond initially experienced was having the confidence to bring up issues and address the variety of student perspectives in meetings, he said. But over time, that has changed.

“I love it now, to be able to represent the student at large’s opinion to different department chairs and vice presidents, to be able to represent the student, because that’s really what I was elected for,” Pond said.

u'\u201cThe more students who  participate and get actively  involved in legislative issues,  the more effective we\u2019ll be at  getting student issues  addressed legislatively.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

u'\u201cThe more students who participate and get actively involved in legislative issues, the more effective we\u2019ll be at getting student issues addressed legislatively.\u201d Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review'

Vice President for Governmental
Affairs
Morgan Holmgren

As the VP for Governmental Affairs, Holmgren works closely with on-campus groups such as Western Votes, especially during the legislative session. Other major components of this job are coordinating voter registration and planning lobbying trips to Olympia and Washington, D.C.

Holmgren chairs Legislative Affairs Council,  Legislative Action fund Committee and the Alternative Transportation Fee Committee.

During legislative session, Holmgren closely monitors the state legislature and in general keeps the student body informed about what is happening in Olympia.

Holmgren also supervises and directs the legislative liaison, a Western student who works for the AS and lives in Olympia during legislative session.

The most difficult aspect of his job is getting students involved in legislative issues, Holmgren said.

“Getting them [students] interested and then helping to take that interest and move it into action—that’s really one of the challenges of the position,” Holmgren said.

Another difficulty is working with tight timelines, Holmgren said. Lobby days and legislation have to occur at certain times. Also, proposing changes requires time for debate, which also has to be worked into the timeline.

So far, Holmgren is proudest of the proposal for an AS Representation and Engagement Programs (REP) office, which will create a new office to represent students and will combine the efforts of the Elections Coordinator, the Student Senate Chair and the Legislative Liaison positions.

“[With REP] We’ll have, I think, a more coordinated effort to represent students [and] to work with students,”
Holmgren said.