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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

AS Board changes ROP name, discusses AS Review proposals

By Kayna Dean

The Associated Students Board met on Wednesday, March 14 to take action on the name change for the Associated Students’ Resource and Outreach Programs and to discuss proposed changes to the AS Review.

Motion passed to change the name of the ROP

After a few weeks of discussion, the restructure and renaming of the Resource and Outreach Programs proposed by AS Vice President for Diversity Erick Yanzon passed unanimously by the Board.

Yanzon proposed three different motions. One of the motions was to change the name of the ROP from Resource and Outreach Programs to Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Centers.

The coordinator for Equity and Identity Resource Centers, Leti Romo, spoke about the proposal. Romo said a lot of students don’t understand what the ROP office does and that the office wants to be more prominent on campus.

Centers in the ROP provide information, advocacy, activities, and peer education, according to its website. The ROP is made up of the Womxn’s-Identity Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, Veteran’s Outreach Center, Legal Information Center, Disability Outreach Center and Social Issues Resource Center.

With the new name, Romo is hoping ROP will be associated as an advocacy program where students can feel free to voice their concerns as needed.

Romo wants to see an increase in the center’s community outreach and engagement. This means making more effort to help connect students with faculty and staff who share an identity with them and make the students feel like they are part of a community, Romo said.

Romo also mentioned the educational programming the ROP provides.

The ROP needs to have better branding and marketing, Romo said. Romo wants faculty and staff to be able to send students their way when they have a social issue or concern. Students and staff need to be aware of what the office does before that can happen, which is where marketing comes in, Romo said.

Yanzon’s motion also included creating more coordinator-level positions because too much work is being placed on the few coordinators there are now, according to the proposal. Promoting some of these positions also means a $4,000 budget increase, he said. The AS Board will determine how they are going to reallocate the budget to take money away from other areas in order to cover the ROP’s finances.

Proposed recommendations to the AS Review

The editor of the AS Review, Erasmus Baxter, discussed some recommendations for the paper, which were submitted to the AS Office of Assessment.

The AS Review is Western’s weekly alternative publication.

The assessment of the AS Review said the paper has low social media following, lack of timeliness and low pick up rate. For these reasons, the AS Review faces a lot of competition from the Western Front, according to the proposal.

One of the suggestions made by the AS Review is shifting more focus to its website, rather than the weekly publication. Baxter said this would include adding more visuals to go with stories, having a welcoming homepage and integrating social media onto the website.

A tradeoff the AS Review is making to focus more on their online presence is shifting a biweekly print publication instead of a weekly one, Baxter said. This would cut printing costs, allow for a higher quality product online and increase pick up rates by being on stands for longer, he said.

Baxter also said The Bellingham Herald (where the AS Review is printed now) is shutting down its printing. The Herald is now being printed in Tacoma.

The AS Review will move printing to the Lynden Tribune like The Western Front does, Baxter said. They will be able to print a slightly smaller paper for a comparable price and the Tribune would also be able to do overnight printing, he said. Instead of having to wait up to a four-day delay for printed papers, the AS Review will have the opportunity to have printed papers with much more relevant information than they do now, Baxter said.

The Board will further discuss proposed changes to the AS Review at their next meeting.

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