The AS Review: What motivates you to seek out this position?
Stephanie Jones: I actually started my motivation last year, when I went to the activities council when Aaron Garcia was VP of Activities and I became part of that. I was at-large, so just going to that and seeing what he did in that position, and seeing how you have so many connections with all the people in the different clubs and get[ting] to hear about what events they’re putting on really, caught my attention and I was like “wow, this is kind of cool.” And I always wanted to take on a higher leadership position and I thought this was the best way to do it, was to do something that I was passionate about and interested in, so that’s what got me going.
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?
Jones: Oh, there’s a lot of students that could possibly be overlooked. There’s a lot of clubs and activities and groups on campus that are quieter than most, that their personalities are quieter too, for instance, there’s the engineering technology groups, that I went to one of their meetings just to see what they were about, and they told me about how the AS doesn’t really pay attention them because they have so much that they need that it’s hard to request it all from them, so they have to go somewhere else and I think that they should have more spotlight on what they’re doing because they’re doing a lot and it’s really cool. And other groups that don’t really feel like they have a connection, that don’t really feel like they’re being heard right now, and so I also want to try and find out who those people are in order to be like, “Hey, I’m”—or whoever is, if I was activities—“hey, I’m VP for Activities and I’m here for you, tell me what you need and I’ll be there for you.”
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 address most positively?
Jones: I would have to say, that the most important issue group that has been unaddressed would have to be students’ activities. A lot of the times when people put on events, and even though they’re advertised in the Publicity Center and all these other ways, it always gets the same type of people going to these events every year. And it’s really hard because we all want everyone to know what we’re doing and what’s going on and if we just keep on attracting the same people it’s not getting spread out throughout the school, and so finding a new way to get people involved in our groups is really important. Like for instance, Latino Student Union is having a dinner on Saturday, and we were on Red Square passing out fliers and telling people about it and of course that always attracts the same types of people like the ESC and friends of LSU. However, when you pass it out to someone who doesn’t want it and be like, “Hey come to this event,” people are like “I’m not Latino.” And it’s like, “you don’t have to be,” you know, “this is an event for everyone.” So I think that’s one of the biggest issues is just letting people know that we’re all open for each other and not just for the same people. I wish that we had more interest in each other’s activities.
I’d have to say changes on campus. There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of changes happening and everyone’s aware of them, with the budget cuts and with losing our football team and with just everything that’s going on, we’re all aware of it, we’re all figuring it out and we’re all working on changing it as a school. Every student has some type of position on changing it and I know a lot of people who are wanting to make a difference and wanting to put their part in, or their two pieces in, to make a difference and to really fight for our school. So I think that’s really hard, is when there’s a big change in our school we all hear it, and we’re all in it together and that works really well.
ASR: What are your three biggest goals for next year?
Jones: My first biggest goal is I think that the Bellingham community and the Western community right now are like two different communities. We need to come together as one, because I know there’s so many events happening in Bellingham that Western students don’t know about and so many events happening at Western that Bellingham doesn’t know about and so I really want to bring us together so we’re not just Western students and the Bellingham community, we’re the Bellingham community. And I’m actually starting that this year, I’m doing Black Student Union’s first annual hair show and I’m bringing hair businesses from throughout the Bellingham area to be a part of it so that we’re all kind of united. And then the second one is, I really want to, with the rest of the students, fight through our economic hardships and keep the budget for clubs and activities strong so that we can enjoy them still because that’s what keeps us sane, is being able to go somewhere other than school and be with our friends. And another thing is I want to start familiarity in clubs, especially the unknown ones, and the new ones and bring excitement for students to be able to get involved in these clubs and bring leadership to them. I find that important too.
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?
Jones: Well, that actually happens to me right now, but if I was VP for Activities, I would probably be with them to scope out all the resources, follow with them to look at all the resources we have to answer this question and get the question answered with them, go to whoever it takes to get it taken care of, because it might be something I’m interested in knowing as well, so I can be ready for it next time it comes to me.