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.
President Matt Jarrell
According to Jarrell, most of his job as AS president is reactionary. He speaks on behalf of the AS to students, the Bellingham community and the school. He also works to ensure that the AS is represented in the community.
Another of his primary responsibilities is being an advocate for students at the university level in terms of fees, advising and other matters, as well as in Olympia and Washington, D.C., where he addresses student concerns about financial aid, the budget and tuition, he said.
The committees and other regular meetings Jarrell participates in are: President’s Cabinet, Cold Beverage Committee and Services and Activities Fee Committee.
Jarrell is also asked to speak at events, such as convocation, and give presentations on a regular basis to the board of trustees, the foundation board and the alumni board.
Jarrell checks in with the other board members to keep them up-to-date on university happenings, delegate tasks and provide assistance when difficulties arise for the other board members, he said.
According to Jarrell, one of his biggest obligations is that he is, no matter where he goes, always the AS president. To that end, he must be constantly available in person, by e-mail or via other forms of communication to address student questions and concerns, as well as direct students to resources and communicate concerns to the appropriate people, he said.
Being the AS president has allowed Jarrell to accomplish one of his personal goals: outreach. One of his proudest achievements this year so far is that he has been a strong advocate for students, Jarrell said.
The most difficult aspect of his job is balancing school, work and social life, Jarrell said.
“It’s a challenge,” Jarrell said, “but it’s worth it.”
VP for Business and Operations Virgilio Cintron
This position is largely project-based and typically consists of reviewing updates on projects, preparing proposals and other information for board meetings and meeting with AS directors, employees and other board members to discuss processes, policies and potential issues in the AS and the university, Cintron said.
Cintron examines problems and solutions in the long term, but short term projects can come up as well, he said. An example of a long term project is the development of the AS charter, whereas a short term project is typically something that comes up unexpectedly, such as the Roaming Moanies controversy last year. Essentially, a project is anything that is identified as an issue based on feedback and concerns, he said.
Committees and councils that Cintron serves on are: Services and Activities Committee, AS Management Council, VU Marketing Committee, AS/VU Technology Committee, Facilities and Services Council (Chair), and Structure and Program Advisory Committee (Chair).
As far as budgets go, this position examines their long term implications, Cintron said.
A difficult aspect of this position has been working to change what Cintron called the “organizational culture” of the AS. In other words, there’s difficulty in shifting away from how things have always been and changing certain aspects of the organization, Cintron said.
“You want to get the perspectives of everyone and try to understand where they’re coming from and explain why you want the change,” Cintron said. “But [it’s] also realizing that you can only have a conversation for so long. Eventually you have to make a decision and stick with it.”
VP for Activities Colin Watrin
Most of Watrin’s day-to-day activities consist of working with AS clubs, he said. Watrin assists clubs when they are in the process of forming, as well as when they want to request money for programs or activities, he said. Both activities require approval from the AS Activities Council, which Watrin chairs. Part of helping clubs is guiding them through the AS club system and preparing them for Activities Council, Watrin said.
In addition to Activities Council, Watrin also serves on the following: Department Related Activities Committee (DRAC), Student Publications Council, Cold Beverage Committee, Promotions Committee and Interclub Council.
Watrin has coordinated three events so far: the AS Club Kickoff, Project Leadership and the Campus Activities Showcase. Additionally, he is helping to coordinate the AS End of the Year Banquet in the spring. Project Leadership is an event that Watrin, who chaired the planning committee, is particularly proud of, he said.
Watrin is currently looking into changing his job description so that he will still be involved in the events but not as a coordinator, he said. He is pursuing this change because he believes his position is overloaded and that the student representation component of his position is lacking because so much time is spent on programming, he said.
One of the most difficult parts of the position was initially figuring out the AS and university bureaucracy, as well as difficulties earlier this year between the AS and DRAC relating to addressing communication and the charge and charter, Watrin said.
VP for Academic Affairs Ramon Rinonos-Diaz
According to Rinonos-Diaz, his position is largely committee-based. Committees that Rinonos-Diaz serves on are: Faculty Senate, Academic Coordinating Commission, University Planning and Resource Council, Committee on Undergraduate Education, Student Technology Committee (Chair), Academic Technology Committee, Scholar’s Week Steering Committee and any temporary committees that are formed to address specific issues pertaining to the position.
According to Rinonos-Diaz, committee meetings typically last one to two hours and require an hour of preparation and an hour to go over the information on his own.
Another part of Rinonos-Diaz’s position is communicating student concerns and perspectives to the university committees. Doing so requires talking to a lot of people, he said.
“Keep[ing] students’ voices just in front of our administrators and faculty is something that’s really gratifying to me,” Rinonos-Diaz said.
One difficulty, however, is timelines, Rinonos-Diaz said. While students are often more concerned with finishing projects and making decisions at a quicker pace, the university looks much further ahead, he said. But remembering that the decisions made now will affect students later motivates Rinonos-Diaz even if he will not be in school to experience them.
RUNNING AND VOTING // Next week part two of this series will run with descriptions of the other three board positions. If you are interested in running in the AS Elections, pick up an election packet in the AS board office, located in Viking Union 504. Campaigning begins in the spring and voting begins on April 26. To vote, log on to MyWestern.