The Associated Students of Western Washington University are currently seeking candidates for this year’s upcoming elections. The candidate filing deadline was previously May 5 but has now been extended to May 15.
The AS is made up of eight Executive Board members and a Senate which includes students from every college as well as at-large senators who represent all Western students. The AS is Western’s form of student government.
AS Elections Coordinator Keara Ryan said the deadline was extended to give more students the opportunity to run and fill positions that currently do not have candidates. As Elections Coordinator, Ryan is responsible for facilitating a free and fair election as well as editing the Election Code and promoting candidate filing.
“The AS is an organization that is designed for and run by students,” said the current Board President of the Associated Students, Glory Busic. “The AS provides both paid and volunteer leadership opportunities for any Western student. The AS is home to many student clubs, events, student government, offices that support students and more.”
She also said all students attending Western are part of the AS and are impacted by student government.
As president, Busic acts as a liaison between students and admin, representing the student body at Board of Trustees meetings and regularly meeting with school faculty, including University President Sabah Randhawa.
“I chose to run because I wanted to be able to advocate for student needs on campus,” Busic said. “A large reason that I ran was because I wanted to push forward the Black Student Organization Demands.”
Busic ran unopposed for her term as president, which she feels defeats the purpose of student government.
“We want students to feel truly represented by their student government,” Busic said. “It is important to have student voices at the table with admin, so I really hope we can get all of the positions filled.”
The current AS board has been working to promote candidate filing. Ryan and several of the AS Executive Board members have spent the last week tabling on the Communications Lawn to talk with students about running and encourage them to file.
Quincy Ingalls, a second-year student, is one of two current senators from Fairhaven College and has felt the impact of low candidate turnout.
“There are so many spots open on the Senate this year that we struggle to meet quorum sometimes, which diminishes our power as senators,” Ingalls said. “We’ve had to delay votes which is very frustrating, so I’d love to see that change next year.”
Ingalls was appointed to the Senate at the end of the fall quarter and is seeking a second term. While in office, he spent significant time working on a project that would install four new statues, created by Black, Indigenous and Latinx artists, in Western’s sculpture garden. The project will take until next year to complete, and he describes this as a major reason why he’s running again.
To any student considering running for an AS position, Ingalls said, “I would really encourage you to engage because I feel like the student government should have more power than it does, but if people don’t show up, we don’t earn that power.”
Ryan echoes these sentiments, explaining that running for an AS Executive Board or Senate position is a great way to get more involved on campus as well as create lasting change for the Western community. She describes the current Senate and Executive Board as a group of passionate and motivated leaders and says being involved has led to personal growth for herself.
Ingalls cites communication as the biggest challenge leading to low turnout, explaining that there are AS communications emails and a weekly Fairhaven bulletin, but that many students do not regularly read them and may be unaware that AS elections are happening soon.
Candidate applications are due on May 15. Voting will take place from May 23-27.