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An Open Letter to the Student Body

(Photo Credit: Liz Dobbins)

Dear Griffins, 

As we head into the second half of the semester, we would like to reflect on the start of the year and let you know what we are working on and how we can support you as the student body. 

Empowering Student Voices

Students are most likely to affect change on campus when they feel that their voice matters. Everything from tuition to campus safety can shift when students feel the administration takes their voice seriously. We want to do our best for you to feel that way. Our executive board and student leaders meet with top-level administrators on campus, so we want to hear from you to better inform those meetings. We will be hosting targeted ASW & Chill events to better reach various populations across campus. Read more about that under Goals and Priorities and feel free to reach out with any suggestions for these events. 

At the end of the day, we want to hear from you. We want to encourage you to identify and seek out your student leaders for any concerns or questions you have about your student experience. Help us to help you. 

ASW Retreat 

This month we hosted our annual ASW Retreat. Over 50 ASW student leaders gathered to build community, further develop leadership skills, and improve personal wellness. Westminster alumna Annalisa Holcombe delivered an excellent keynote touching on the history of Westminster and how we can be more effective leaders through listening. Kellie Gerbers, faculty from the Outdoor Education Leadership department, shared with students the science behind physical activity’s ability to improve brain function and helped students create a personalized wellness plan. The Dean of Students Office came to show support for ASW and development of its student leaders. They also shared with students the Know Your Bias campaign—including how to identify personal bias. 

Goals and Priorities 

The Diversity and Inclusion committee are working on clarifying the definitions of key positions in senate and have collaborated with senators in the creation of a plan to support student survivors of sexual violence in light of the planned federal Title IX changes. They have also identified a process for next semester in order to improve and welcome underrepresented groups in ASW and student leadership. 

The student board worked on developing specific and measurable goals at our retreat this July. These will guide our work throughout the year and we want to share them with you. This is a paired down version, but if you are interested in the full details please send us an email or pick up complete printed copies outside of the ASW office in Shaw.

Student Relations

  1. Improve and implement training policies 
  2. Improve visibility and outreach efforts 
  3. Solicit intentional feedback

Completed outcomes: The student relations committee has successfully met with the majority of first-year Learning Communities to discuss opportunities to get involved with ASW. They have also implemented a brief training on the branches of ASW to leaders at the retreat, and have identified the first two groups for ASW & Chill of Fall semester. 

Diversity and Inclusion

  1. Outreach to non-traditional, graduate, transfer, and commuter students.
  2. Gender Equity Outreach
  3. Improving representation in hiring, volunteers, and elected positions. 

Completed outcomes: The Diversity and Inclusion committee are working on clarifying the definitions of key positions in senate and have collaborated with senators in the creation of a plan to support student survivors of sexual violence in light of the planned federal Title IX changes. They have also identified a process for next semester in order to improve and welcome underrepresented groups in ASW and student leadership.

Final Thoughts

We are proud that Westminster is a community of bold visionaries, deep thinkers and passionate individuals who are unafraid to challenge you. The world is your oyster here at Westminster, and the possibilities are infinite if you seek them out. 

Here is to a year of asking for help, doing your best, and having fun. 

In Community, 

Maggie and Kenzie 

(Student Body President and Vice President) 

For more information or more ways to get involved, check out www.myasw.org and follow us on all social media platforms @westminsterasw.

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