The Ethnic Student Center is planning to hire a new manager, replacing outgoing ESC Coordinator Nathan Panelo.
The restructuring of the ESC will include hiring new front desk staff and two new positions funded by the Associated Students, including Panelo’s position, which will be renamed to Ethnic Student Center Manager.
Panelo’s last day at Western is May 27 and he will be starting his new job as an academic counselor in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the University of Washington on June 6.
During his time as the center’s coordinator, Panelo worked toward expanding the center’s staff, which allowed more support for students and clubs, Panelo said.
Through student initiative and collaboration with the center’s staff, the ESC Referendum was passed by students, recommending the current ESC move to a larger and more accessible space.
“We have been wanting to move the ESC to a more common space and bigger space for the past 15 years or so,” Panelo said.
Panelo attended Western in 2003 and earned his degree in human services as a first-generation student. Panelo said he remembers taking a sociology course about race and race relations, where he first learned about the ESC and met the center’s previous coordinator Michael Vendiola.
“I was pushed into a lot of leadership roles at that point,” Panelo said. “I joined [Filipino Student Association] and became their activities coordinator my sophomore year.”
“I was still young in my career, but I think what happened was I was really passionate about working here and I really brought that into my interviews.”
ESC Coordinator Nathan Panelo
Panelo was encouraged to run for the AS vice president for activities, getting elected his junior year. After graduation, Panelo left to work for Boys and Girls Club for a year and then went to pursue his graduate degree in higher education and student affairs at the University of Vermont in 2008.
With his master’s degree, Panelo worked for two years as a resident director at Seattle University. Two years later, Western’s ESC coordinator position opened and Panelo applied for the position. He got the job and returned to Western as the new coordinator in 2012.
“I was still young in my career, but I think what happened was I was really passionate about working here and I really brought that into my interviews,” Panelo said.
Erick Yanzon, a desk attendant at the ESC, said he’s sad to see Panelo go and a void will be felt with his absence.
“He’s done great amazing things and all of the staff is leaving next year, so it’s going to be a really different Ethnic Student Center environment,” Yanzon said.
ESC Programming Coordinator Giovanni Milan said Panelo’s new job allows for Panelo to stop having to commute to Seattle on the weekends to see his family.
“He had a baby not too long ago,” Milan said. “I’m excited for him to be closer to his family and in a more relaxed environment.”