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Students senators work solo

After an extended application process, some colleges are still short a senator some senators are alone in their positions

After the results of a cumulative spring election, two Western Washington University student senators are representing their colleges without a partner. And one student who pulled out of the race ended up elected. // Photo by Nicola Wasmuth

Editor's Note: Brackets were added to a quote by Ebon Oluchi for clarity on zeir original meaning on June 21, 2021.

After the first ever double election for the student senate and executive board in the spring, the Associated Student Senate has now confirmed the official winners. 

The election had to be extended due to a lack of applicants. Now two student senators are without partners to represent their colleges, and a student who publicly stated before the final vote that he wanted to pull out of the race has won a position.

Although there are a few complications out of the gate, AS Office of Civic Engagement Elections Coordinator Mario Alem said that overall, the election went well.

“Historically we have had elections in the fall for the senate and in the spring for the executive board. This is something we tried for the first time, and in the future if the student body doesn't want to do it again, that’s their decision,” Alem said.

Kiernan Park-Egan, an environmental science major and first year at Western, won one of the two seats for the College of the Environment along with Cambria Keely. Park-Egan stated on his campaign Instagram account four days before the vote ended that he planned to drop out due to personal health reasons.

“I decided to stay on because it appears that the voters wanted me to serve regardless,” Park-Egan said in an email. “Additionally, I didn't want to put the AS in the awkward position of trying to fill my seat with a special election, which would have undoubtedly cost them additional resources and time.”

Ebon Oluchi is a first year transfer student at Western. Ze was the only Fairhaven student senator elected to the position but doesn’t feel intimidated by taking on the position alone.

“Even though I’ll be the only student senator for Fairhaven, that doesn’t mean that it’s Ebon’s world … I’ll still have to be community oriented ... [the experience of being a solo student senator] will be a learning experience,” Oluchi said.

Oluchi explained that the position as a Fairhaven senator means doing things differently, similarly to how ze is doing this job solo.

“I definitely believe in resilience and community resilience. That is what I care about for all Fairhaven students. That’s a big part of Fairhaven is doing things differently,” Oluchi said. “I’m a student leader who tries, I’m approachable, I’m accessible, I don’t know it all but I’m always willing to get it right.”

Oluchi’s campaign was not on social media, compared to the other candidates. Ze said that zeir campaign would have a minimalist approach, and fit in with Fairhaven being a place where people could do things their own way and in a way that’s right for them. Oluchi’s campaign was done through a community newsletter with the help of Anna Blick, the academic services manager.

The second student that is alone in their position is Taylor Provence, a first-year at Western and a transfer student from southern California. The first generation college student is majoring in special education with a math endorsement and has secured the seat as Woodring’s College of Education student senator.

“Truthfully I just did it on a whim. I was sure I wasn’t even going to get it and then Mario called me and was like ‘Hey, so you're the only one,’” Provence said.

Similar to Oluchi, Provence is ready to take on the position solo.

“I would like people to know that although I am not experienced in this I am actually very excited to do this and I would really love to have an open door, open email policy where people can just message me when they have something that they want to be brought up,” Provence said. 

Student senators will begin their positions this summer. For more information about Western’s student senate, click here.


Nicola Wasmuth

Nicola Wasmuth is a second-year at Western and enjoys writing about social justice and the arts. When she is not reporting, Nicola enjoys making photos and plans to become a photojournalist through the Visual Journalism track at Western. You can reach her at wasmutn@wwu.edu. 


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