In 1908, a small group of Western students formed the Associated Students, which henceforth would be known as the AS. It was from these humble beginnings that the organization grew to exist as we know it today.
“It started out with a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. We've come a long way from that,” Tino Quiroga, ASP Centennial Events Coordinator, said. The AS now contains the AS Board of Directors, several offices and outreach programs and various other services and facilities.
“There's a huge legacy of student involvement,” Kevin Majkut, Director of Student Activities, said. “The AS is...[a] representation of student interest at the highest level.”
The AS is an organization that has, above all, strived to do what is best in the interest of students, Majkut said. That any organization has lasted for a hundred years is remarkable, especially one that exists solely to provide students with resources and support on and off campus. The AS welcomes all student participation and encourages students to use the opportunities and resources at their fingertips.
The AS also serves to “train students for citizenship and be invested in what their government is doing,” Majkut said. “[The AS Board of Directors] is making active and significant decisions on things that impact students.” The AS Board needs student input to gauge what changes need to occur on campus and what is working just fine.
The AS Centennial is a celebration of an organization that is for students and managed by students, including the offices in the Viking Union that employ students as coordinators, advisors and representatives.
“We listen, and I think that is what makes the AS so great, what will make it great for the next hundred years,” Quiroga said. “We have the opportunity to listen and not [to] shoot down ideas.”
In addition to recognizing the AS for its student resources, the AS Centennial is the focus of several exciting events planned throughout the year. The kick-off event for the year is the Hoppin' Hundred, held in the PAC Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 1 to 5 p.m. Quiroga has big plans for other upcoming Centennial events.
“At the end of the year I'm going to have a huge [event which] a lot of the offices will co-sponsor,” he said.
These events serve not only to entertain but to provide a link between students and the AS as well. The AS has a lot to offer: jobs, volunteering, research opportunities, advice, publicity and more. The AS Centennial commemorates all of this and invites students to explore the benefits of the AS that are so close at hand. Plus, the activities at the events are well worth checking out (rock wall, anyone?). Everyone is encouraged to get involved with the programs, events and activities.
“Seeing the people coming in and volunteering and wanting to be part of the AS is energizing. I would love to reach as many students as possible. There's so much support here, “Quiroga said.
“If the AS went away tomorrow, what would the campus look like?” Majkut asked. Luckily, trying to imagine such a thing won't be necessary. The AS is here for everyone, and the future looks promising; another 100 years is plenty of time for more excellent programming, outreach and endless opportunities for students.
So all of you associated students, get out there and celebrate!