Evan Marczynski/The AS Review

It is certainly not a total facelift, but with the creation of two new Associated Students programs, the AS will look a bit different when students head back to classes next fall.

This spring, the AS board of directors approved the creation of the Representation and Engagement Program (REP) and a Disability Outreach Center (DOC).

Representation and Engagement Program

AS Vice President for Business and Operations Virgilio Cintron said the creation of the REP is an effort to combine a number of different offices that provide outreach for students to become more involved in various aspects of the AS and Western in general.

“We’re trying to put more under one umbrella,” Cintron said.

According to the program’s creation proposal that was submitted to the AS board of directors in December 2009, the mission of the REP will be to provide resources, services and support to students to make sure they are represented in decisions that impact them at local, university, state and federal levels.

Specifically, the REP will be responsible for recruiting students to serve on AS committees, ensuring that students’ voices are represented in decision-making processes in both the AS and Western in general, getting more students to vote in university, local, state and national elections and encouraging more students to run for AS elections.

Cintron said the creation of the REP will hopefully give more students an avenue to get involved with the AS and will create more structure for training and communication between various programs that fall under the REP’s scope.

The REP office will be made up of five paid positions. There will be two new positions in the office: an REP Associate Director and an Assistant Director. In addition, three positions that are already a part of the AS will be tied into the REP: the AS Elections Coordinator, AS Legislative Liaison and the AS Student Senate Chair.

The REP will also oversee a number of AS programs and activities, including Western Votes and the AS’ voter registration drive. It will also provide students with political and legislative advocacy. The office will also incorporate the operation of the Student Senate, the AS Elections and will work with the AS Vice President of Government Affairs to get students educated and involved in the legislative session.

Disability Outreach Center

Joining Western’s Disability Resources for Students and the AS Students for Disability Awareness club in support of students with disabilities will be the new AS Disability Outreach Center.

The DOC will be part of the AS Resource and Outreach Programs and will provide information, referrals and educational programming for students with disabilities, according to a report presented to the AS Board of directors.

Cintron said the main drive for the creation of an actual office for the DOC came from the efforts of the AS club Students for Disability Awareness.

“They really saw a need to create a safe space,” Cintron said.

The DOC will differ from other disability resources on campus in that it will be more program and resource-oriented and it will have a permanent, physical presence within the AS.

According to the report filed for the DOC, the program has set three specific goals going into next year. One is to create a brand, logo and slogan for the new office to publicize the services it will provide.

Cintron said advertising and raising awareness about the new office would be one of the challenges the DOC will face at the start of next year.

In addition, the DOC plans to refine the annual Disability Awareness Week, which was held this year from April 11 to 16.
Finally, the DOC would like to update and further evaluate the current disability accommodations offered through AS programming, which, the group wrote in their report, are inconsistent and problematic, partly because staff members are not always aware of all the options for accommodations or their responsibility to provide them.