Running for vice president for academic affairs
Major: political science and humanities
Below are excerpts from an interview with The Western Front.
What made you want to run for the AS?
“When I was in high school I was involved in different forms of student government, and so I knew it was something I cared about. When I first came to Western, I got involved in the presidential task force. Through that I went to a lot of the board meetings and being able to see it I knew it was something I wanted to do, but first I wanted to make sure I could do a really good job in this capacity, so I decided I wanted to wait until I had more experience. I started thinking about it more last year and made the decision I was going to run this year because, through the different committees I’ve served on and clubs that I’ve been an officer in, I felt like I’d finally reached that point where I had the wealth of experience necessary to be able to fulfill this job really well. I could look back at all I’d done and knew I was qualified and ready to be able to serve the students of Western really well.”
What made you passionate about academic affairs specifically?
“For the past two years I’ve been serving on a department-related activities committee as a student representative and then last year I served on the services and activities fee committee and it was through my involvement in those clubs that I really got an interest in the AS VC for academic affairs position. On the department-related activities committee our job as student voting members is very similar. Essentially I represent a constituent body, in this case it’s political science. So I go to members in the political science related clubs and I find out ‘What do you want? What do you need? What would you like to see happen?’ and then I take their specific interests to different departmental faculty and university faculty to get these student voices heard and to allocate funding to specific programs for students and to really ensure in the student voices and faculty decision there’s no disconnect there.
“That is very similar to what the VP for academic affairs does. Through service on things like the faculty senate, you’re serving as that liaison between the student voices and the faculty who make the decisions. I really viewed it as something that I’m already doing and something that I’m already very passionate about, and it just allow me to do it for more students.”
What issues do you want to tackle if you get this position?
“There are two main things that I would like to do. One is through my service on these four different committees that I’ve been on, one thing I’ve seen is students just don’t know that they exist. There’s a huge wealth of committees related to all different types of academic services, support services, issues that students are very passionate about but people don’t know they exist, don’t know they can get involved, they don’t know what they need to do. I would really like to be the person who can increase awareness about these while also being there so that if you have one specific interest, you can come to me and I can get you in touch with the people that you need to talk to and I can help you so that these thoughts that you have actually get to be vocalized. It’s something I notice a lot when I talk to my roommates, when I talk to my friends about things that I’m doing on these committees and they’re like ‘Wow I wish I could do something like that,’ or ‘Wow you can already do so much but like I wouldn’t know about it unless you were telling me this right now.’”
How would you get the word out there about these committees?
“I would really like to do it through different ways. I know this year they tend to do more like newsletter style. I think I would be really nice to have a more public and more frequent update from the board, because when you want to know when something’s going on or happening within the board, you can go online and you can read through their minutes but that’s not something the average student is going to go look for or really want to look in depth to see what’s happening. I would like to increase awareness to the students about the board meetings because people just don’t know that they happen either. Ideally it would be both through going out, being public, being visible for the students to see like in Red Square. Being there so people can come up to you, come talk to you, while also doing it through either an email-style or just putting it in places that students will see it. I know that the current as vp for academic affairs is working with the academic affairs council and is essentially setting the stage for a student senate and the student senate for me is something I would really like to see come about. Going to the board meetings two years ago that was something that they talked about and it was just, ‘Oh well we’re going to suspend it for longer.’ And through talking to a lot of the friends I have at the University of Washington who have served on their student senate, they see it as being very valuable because it gives students that platform to speak and to have their voices heard, but also it increases transparency into that whole process by allowing for more students to be an active part of it.”
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