The AS Review: What motivates you to seek out this position?
Patty Hastings: The Western campus and the Western community motivated me to seek this position. I went to the AS job fair and learned about it, I talked to the current VP for Activities, he told me more about the position, I got interested in it, thinking it’s something I’d be interested in. My experience during high school as president of the humanitarian club, I really got excited every time I organized an event and every time I organized an event I got this natural high because, well mostly because they were service projects, so it was for the better good and I’d like to apply that strategy to the position of producing activities for the greater good.
ASR: What groups of students might be easily overlooked by the AS board, and what will you do to ensure that you represent them in your work?
Hastings: I believe that students with disabilities are likely to be overlooked by the executive board. Just because a lot of them are invisible, you know. This week was Disability Awareness Week, so we were talking about not just physical, “I can see you” disabilities but the invisible ones as well, so I plan to make activities all-inclusive and more accessible for people with disabilities, ensuring that activities are all complying with the ADA and that all students are comfortable with them. Possibly the other minorities, like students of different ethnicities could possibly be overlooked, so ensuring that they get funding for the Ethnic Students Center and that all activities aren’t offensive and are all-inclusive.
Since you came to Western, what has been the most important issue facing students that went unaddressed or was dealt with poorly?
Probably the most important situation I’ve come across is just students having difficulty registering for classes and there being no one to help them with it, [to] help them with the process. So, especially for freshman, because I live in the dorms so I’m with a lot of freshman even though I have senior standing, and they’re always just complaining to me about how they’re not getting the classes they want or need even though they’ve talked to advisors and they know what they need for a program. So I know that’s not part of the VP for Activities position, but taking a deeper look into what goes into the registration process would probably help out students a lot, just because it can be really frustrating when you don’ t get the classes you want, and they fill up fast and you’re doing all these different strategies, like having upperclassmen hold classes for you. [That] is also tricky because those classes, the classes they hold for you, have to match with your schedule, might not match with their schedule, so it’s just really weird.
ASR: Since you came to Western, what has been the most important issue facing students that went unaddressed or was dealt with poorly? What issue would you say has been addressed most positively?
Hastings: I would say that environmental issues have been addressed most positively. Go for the Green week was an amazing event. I watched everyone get super excited about saving energy and recycling and all sorts of people in my dorms were taking showers in the dark and just remembering to turn off lights. Right when I came to campus, I noticed a really positive vibe about being environmentally friendly, being eco-friendly, signs everywhere reminding people to reduce and just simple things like what’s up in the VU, the different compartments for trash, there’s compost, there’s recycling, there’s trash and the recycling system in the residence halls is getting better and better each year, or so I’ve heard.
ASR: What are your three biggest goals for next year?
Hastings: My three biggest goals for next year are to increase and improve the communications about activities on campus, so that includes online communication. Facebook is a really good tool, texting is also a really good tool, e-mail—I feel that the AS Web site that includes the AS event[s] calendar needs to be redone, so redesigning that, so partitioning strategies—better for students to read and more accessible. It’s kind of squished into the corner in the layout. It’s just a little funny. So using what I’ve learned in technical writing to address that would be helpful. Also, my next biggest thing is to ensure accessibility for all activities, so again, going back to those minorities, getting their voices heard, asking them what they want to see, what they want done on campus. And my third is to motivate students to pursue their activities. I feel like we have so many great activities on campus and a lot of people are aware about them but they don’t want to pursue them because they’re not motivated to, so finding a means of just explaining how activities improve our education to students would definitely be a positive attribute to the Associated Students; explaining how activities improve learning beyond the classroom and supplement our learning. I mean, our passions are born and highlighted through activities. I’m part of the linguistics club, and I do scriptwriting for Viking Television and as an English major, this is where I get really excited, not just in my classes and writing essays for my classes, but in doing those sorts of activities outside the classroom.
ASR: When a student comes to you with a question that is beyond the scope of your job, how will you respond to this student?
Hastings: Well, I would try and answer the question as best I can, but I would likely refer them to the person that would be the most familiar with the situation they’re talking about. There are many qualified people within the AS and I would send them to one of those individuals, or likely the president.