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Students gather to eat churros and make change in the community

Nothing draws a college student into a building faster than hearing there is free food. Yet, what makes them stay needs to be more meaningful to their night. Churros and Change aimed to do just that. Associated Students’ Representation & Engagement Programs, Research and Outreach Programs and Ethnic Student Center hosted an event Thursday, Oct. 27, in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room called Churros and Change. At the event, students gathered to talk about the social changes that need to be made and how to make an impact on their community. AS legislative liaison, senior Nora Selander, was in charge of the logistics of the event. “We are trying to get the message across that there are many ways on our campus, in the Bellingham community and across the state that students can get involved and actually make decisions and take power over the systems that we are a part of,” Selander said.

“I hope that someone walked in tonight and thought that they couldn’t make a difference here in Bellingham or at Western and came away thinking differently.”

AS legislative liason, senior Nora Selander
Students have the power to make policies on campus though committees. They can impact how much tuition they pay by advocating on a state level, and lobby locally on issues such as housing that impacts each and every student, Selander said. The event was held with the goal of informing students of the different programs and organizations around the community that one can join in order to work towards improving current systems. “I hope the audience sees where they can fit into these systems,” Selander said. “I hope that someone walked in tonight and thought that they couldn’t make a difference here in Bellingham or at Western and came away thinking differently.”
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Attendees line up to take churros at the Associated Students Churros and Change event Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. // Photo by Elitsa Yaneva
AS local issues coordinator, senior Galen Herz, was one of the six guest speakers at the event. He talked about the process of gathering AS local issues agenda to advocate for what changes need to be made in our local organizations. “I feel like at the local level, students have a lot of power. It is more accessible to us, rather than going all the way to Washington D.C., and we can make a lot of change, here in our community where we live, on issues that affect us,” Herz said. The audience at Churros and Change consisted of 17 audience members and another 18 whom were part of social change groups through Western. Attendee sophomore Alissa Vanlandinghan recently moved to Bellingham and wants to get involved in her environment, she said. “I learned about a lot of stuff that exists in Bellingham that I did not know existed,” Vanlandinghan said. “Young people really work on those committees, and it’s not just people who are detached and uninvolved.” Freshman Sophia Reyes came to the event knowing that it would be a beneficial experience, she said. “There is so much more of a feeling of activism here that I’ve never been exposed to, so I think it is much more accessible to me to try and learn more about what’s going on in the world, without having to go out all on my own,” Reyes said.

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