The 2019-2020 ASW board was sworn in on April 15, and multiple members of the board sat down with The Forum to talk about their plans, hopes and goals for the upcoming year.
All interviews were conducted at separate times and answers have been edited for conciseness and clarity.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Maggie Regier, next year’s ASW president, said she plans on working with Vice President Kenzie Campbell to expand what a gender equity center looks like and how to increase those resources.
She said another plan is increasing communication.
“It’s about not just communicating what the board is doing to the students but about being visible and open and transparent so students feel like they can communicate with us, because that is something that […] we actually take seriously,” said Regier.
Rebecca Blanton, the incoming speaker of the senate, said she plans to start a Canvas page containing information for senators, so so they can use all the power they have as senators to advocate for student’s concerns and pass student initiatives.
Blanton said she also wants to designate funds so senators can receive two hours a month of pay, to give them more opportunity to work outside of senate meetings and have more time to talk with students.
Johnny Carr, next year’s ASW director of budgeting and accounting, said his mission is to ensure ASW remains fiscally responsible.
Upcoming ASW Chief Justice Kate Pasco said she is revising the guiding documents which are what ASW board members turn to when “they need answers for how things have been done in the past, or what the procedure is on something.”
Pasco said it was crucial the guiding documents did not contradict each other and that they use contemporary language.
Pasco also said she is planning to build a more cohesive judicial council by meeting regularly to create a team dynamic for the branch and to strengthen ASW as a whole.
The upcoming ASW Events President Alyssa Appleman said her plan is “to make sure that events are there for all of campus and that everybody knows what’s going on, rather than such a small group.”
Maya Rockwell, next year’s ASW director of programming, also said that she wants increased attendance at events, and she is planning to promote more sustainable events and practices.
“We’re really looking to get a strong team together and […] work together and just promote a fun and effective next semester,” said Rockwell, a junior biology major.
Obaid Barakzai, the 2019-20 ASW Executive Creative Director, said in an email to The Forum that he wants ASW Creative to makes students’ experiences more “meaningful and colorful.”
“As the 2019-20 ASW Executive Creative Director, I am planning on helping create a space where every student’s voices and concerns are heard,” Barakzai said. “Through creative work, I would like to represent the strength of students’ voices.”
What are your hopes for ASW next year?
The new ASW student board said they hoped the organization gained more visibility and student involvement during the next year.
“As much as it’s good for us to try to do things and initiate things based on […] what we think the campus needs, I think especially, when we’re […] spending student funds, we need to be sure that the things that we’re doing [students are] benefiting from and are in approval of,” Blanton said.
Regier said she also wants more student feedback and involvement in ASW.
She said she hopes “to use the student government and the student board as a platform to empower more students and to reach more students and to take on the full power that a student government has. And to really seek out students and student feedback in order to make Westminster work for the students.”
“We have this dual method where each of the board members are autonomous and run their own branches while also maintaining and lifting up ASW as a whole’s goals and priorities,” said Kenzie Campbell, next year’s ASW vice president in an email. “I really hope that each of us can balance these responsibilities and really make a difference as a student government.”
Appleman, a junior biology major, said she hopes for more students to know about ASW events in advance so there can be more student participation.
“We’re already trying to figure out ways that we can get more advertising to our events, so then that way more of campus can know about it and more of campus can be involved in ASW,” Appleman said.
What goals do you have for ASW as a whole?
Members of the new student board said they wanted to achieve strengthened collaboration and create a family dynamic within the board.
“I’m excited to work on seeking out and connecting with more groups on campus to make sure we’re tapping into all of the varying groups who might not be involved with ASW yet,” said Kenzie Campbell, next year’s ASW vice president and a junior intersectional psychology and justice major in an email. “Some goals I hope to see us work on include increasing ASW’s environmental sustainability, collaboration, visibility/communication and diversity and inclusion.”
Regier, who was the 2018-2019 ASW vice president, said this year ASW did a good job ensuring individual branches of the government were thriving, but she would like to see the branches coming and working together to grow.
“I think that increasing that level of collaboration and getting the branches to really work together towards a common goal is something that we tried last year, and we were really working on, but I think that something that I really want to continue to grow and strengthen,” Regier said.
Rockwell, Carr and Appleman said they all have similar goals to strengthen the ASW branches’ collective work together.
Appleman said her goal for ASW is to feel less like coworkers and more like a family, to ensure all the student board members have deep connections within ASW that will be reflected in their work.
“Leaders are definitely people that students look up to and […] if our leaders are doing well on campus, [students] feel like they can do well also,” Appleman said. “I think one of our main ways to do that is just to make sure that ASW functions as well as it can to benefit the students [by making] sure there’s no drama that’s happening on the team, [that] it’s all a family-based process towards all our goals.”
Barakzai said his goal for ASW is for student government help students from different backgrounds and interests to connect with each other.
“What is fascinating about working with ASW is that I am able to set an example of true global citizenship,” Barakzai said. “The responsibility and love I have for not only leading but serving students of different communities, beliefs, and ways of being through creative work. My goal for ASW is to bring students of different interests together and those who have never been to an ASW event before.”
What goals do you have for yourself?
Overall, the 2019-2020 ASW student board said that their personal goals within ASW were to grow, spend time together and to serve the Westminster College community.
“I’d love to continue expanding events and making sure that students are getting connected to all the really cool things going on campus,” Regier said.
Regier also said she’d like to try creating a comprehensive calendar for everything student related, so “students can better understand all the things that are going to affect them.”
Campbell said she wants to continue prioritizing gender equity and collaboration for next year like working with the Alumni Board.
Carr, a junior finance and political science major, said he wants to spend time with all the members of the student board to get to know them.
“I feel like if we all operate really well together then we can just accomplish a lot more,” Carr said.
Pasco said her personal goal is to grow as a leader.
“Getting to learn how to lead a team, and delegate tasks, that’s something that’s been difficult for me, but I’d like to [be] better at empowering [the judicial council] and allowing them to take ownership over their own projects,” Pasco said.
Similarly, Barakzai said he looks forward to gaining experience running a creative team.
Blanton said she wants to be open and able to adapt to change.
“I just want to be as willing to collaborate and listen as possible because, I just think, when student leaders can come together for the good of the people they’re trying to represent, that’s when really good things happen,” Blanton said.