ASWU execs reflect on campaigns
WU executive council sat down for a one-on-one interview with the Whitworthian to discuss the goals they would like to achieve once in office.
Breanna Lyons won the position of ASWU president, while Jeff Debray was elected as financial vice president. Executive vice president Norma Heredia did not run in the 2016 election, but instead was appointed to the position after the elected EVP stepped down.
Lyons ran her campaign with the idea of having no set agenda before entering office. Lyons said that she wanted ASWU to operate with the student body’s concerns in mind and reflecting those concerns.
Lyons said that her campaign strategy of running without an agenda has allowed her to look at this year through a clear lens. Meetings and discussions with her team members are less tainted than they would have been if she had come in with plans already in mind, Lyons said.
“It’s given my team the ability to program the things they want and the freedom to voice opinions, popular of not, because I don’t show any biases either way,” Lyons said.
While she had no official agenda, Lyons did have concerns about students’ mental health on campus during her campaign last year. In her interview last year Lyons said she would like to have ASWU support the administration and the health center as much as they can to help with student anxiety and depression.
This year Lyons has brought in administration from the health center to talk to ASWU about the services the health center provides for those seeking counseling.
“We don’t have any formal programming for all of campus yet; however, we are working closely with Greendot as another safety measure for students through homecoming,” Lyons said.
Debray ran a campaign focused on financial transparency and making connections with student club leaders.
Last year Debray said that many students did not know where the $230 they pay to ASWU goes and that he would like to make those figures more accessible.
This year Debray has provided students with club information and the yearly budget for ASWU. Additionally, the ASWU budget is posted on his office window for anyone to read.
“I have sent emails to resident directors, which most of them have sent on to their communities, that both has a list of all the clubs on campus and the club leadership,” Debray said. “Attached in the email was the ASWU budget for the year. I also sent an email to off-campus students with that information as well.”
Debray also emphasized in his campaign the importance of meeting with clubs and their leadership to foster a more personal environment. This year, he has made a point to make himself available every week for student leadership to meet with him and discuss important issues.
“In the Mind and Hearth once a week, I hang out down there for a half hour-45 minutes, every Thursday from 11:00 to 11:30-11:40[a.m.],” Debray said. “That’s another opportunity for clubs to come by and have a cup of coffee and sit down with me and just talk about logistics for the club or really how they’re doing as an individual.”
While Heredia did not run in the 2016 ASWU election, she has goals that she seeks to achieve this year as executive vice president.
“The No. one goal is definitely empowering individuals,” Heredia said. “And by the individuals it includes students at large and also the senators. I know that a majority of the senators are sophomores. So being a sophomore myself last year and a senator of Boppell, I know that it was difficult.”
Heredia recognized that some of the senators may have a difficult time adjusting to their responsibilities due to some of them having to communicate and representing two or more dorms; Arend/Boppell, Duvall/Oliver and Baldwin-Jenkins/Stewart/The Village.
Additionally, Heredia has made it a point to support each senator by meeting with them on a regular basis.
“Every senator meets with me at least twice a month,” Heredia said. “Through those one-on-one’s we talk about what’s going on personally, academically, and just [get to] know one another.”
Each of the three ASWU executives expressed a difficulty in balancing school work with their responsibilities in-office. However, Lyons said this year’s ASWU team has been open to listening and has offered a great deal of support to one another.
“I think I’ve felt more supported than I thought I would,” Lyons said.
Contact Peter Houston-Hencken at email@example.com