ASWU budget proposal: what you need to know

Colleen Bell | Copy Chief

On Wednesday, May 8, the ASWU general assembly will vote on the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 academic year, as prepared by the budget committee.

Budget Committee is composed of the incoming and outgoing executives, the Director of Student Activities, the ASWU Bookkeeper, two voting members of the assembly, the assembly secretary, two nonvoting ASWU members, and two non-ASWU members of the student body chosen by the FVP.

“I chose people from the accounting department this year that were willing to be on the committee and each brought different perspectives,” said financial vice president Chelsea Shearer, who is a junior and a business administration major.

The budget committee process is private in order to protect the members of the committee, Shearer said. She did, however, give a little insight as to what plays into each decision.

“Most of the decisions for budgeting comes from data pulled together from remaining money in accounts, the amounts allocated in previous years, and student needs,” she said. “Each club and most of the ASWU employees are required to present and we hear what they have done this year as well as what their plans for next year are, which also plays into our decision making process.”

The budget proposal document was released to dorm senators and other ASWU assembly members, who may release it to constituents at their discretion, and is also available in a link from the Whitworthian’s Facebook page.

Here is a breakdown of the proposed budget:

With an increase to ASWU student fees, from $120 per student per semester to $125 per student per semester, the overall budget is proposed to increase from $520 thousand to $556 thousand.

There are five new clubs this year, and four previously existing clubs did not charter for 2018-19, but will recharter and receive ASWU funds for 2019-20. Fifteen clubs either did not recharter or did not ask for money.

Of the clubs that chartered and asked for money in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, 14 clubs are facing budget cuts and six will remain stagnant, while 11 will get increased budgets.  

Some of the largest club budget cuts proposed for next year are to U.S.I.T.T. ($250 or 83% of their previous budget), Jubilation Dance Ministry ($400 or 57% of their previous budget), H.O.L.A. ($1200 or 56% of their previous budget), Swing and Ballroom Dance Club ($400 or 50% of their previous budget), Ch.A.O.S ($250 or 45% of their previous budget), Bangarang ($600 or 37% of their previous budget), Business Club ($200 or 33% of their previous budget) and En Christo ($1000 or 20% of their previous budget).

The general operations budget is being cut by approximately $28,000 or 72%. The programs being cut are student bus passes and the newspaper readership program.

The Universal Transit Access Program (UTAP) is a partnership which has been in place at Spokane Falls Community College, Gonzaga and Eastern Washington University for several years, and was new this year at Whitworth. UTAP provides bus passes free of charge to students, only charging ASWU for what is used, up to about $21,000. This maximum amount was budgeted for this year, and the actual charge is not included in the report.

The readership program provides free copies of the New York Times, the Spokesman-Review, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Inlander to students through  news racks in the HUB, Robinson, the art building and Weyerhauser.

Shearer said the decision to eliminate the program was based on observation of the rack in the HUB, which is located next to the closet under the stairs by the info desk.

“The readership program was something that barely made it on to this years budget,” she said. “We have had HUB Managers and other ASWU employees monitor how many of the newspapers are being taken each day and the numbers were so low it made spending the money seem unreasonable.”

Others, however, disagree.

“I would say that it seems pretty successful,” said sophomore Steven Dunn. “For about the amount of newspapers that are brought each day, about that amount seem to be taken, and in my observation it’s not just professors taking them, it’s students. I see them being read in the cafeteria, I see them being read in the cafe, everywhere.”

Communication professor Ron Pyle is also concerned about the effect this decision might have on campus.

"It’s possible that there are good reasons behind the decision," he said. "That said, I do think it’s unfortunate that we are removing one of the ways that our campus community can be in touch with important local and national events. If our community is less informed, the quality of our thought and discourse may be adversely affected."

Some programs and accounts are seeing budget increases. The largest increase, aside from the unallocated funds for club and ASWU use, is a $13000, or 500%, increase to the marketing and PR budget, intended to be used for a new ASWU smartphone app.

“One thing ASWU is really looking forward to next year is introducing the new app we have planned,” Shearer said. “We have had a search committee going all year to find an app that would be better than what we currently use (or are lacking use of) and made sure that it had the resources we needed. The app we have planned is the same one that Gonzaga uses and when we got in touch with their student activities director, there was a really positive response and good outlook that it would be worth it for students to use.”

ASWU’s existing app is still available on the Google Play Store, with the last update to it having been posted in September 2017. Gonzaga’s website contains no information about their current app.

ASWU’s conference budget is also increasing, by $1800, or 45%, and their fall/spring retreat budget increased by $1000, or 29%.

“The conferences/retreat budget for ASWU was reallocated to reflect what is already being spent,” said Shearer. “We are hoping that we could use those accounts for different things and have the retreat fund actually cover the cost of the retreat.”

The full budget proposal can be accessed through the Whitworthian Facebook page or by contacting an ASWU assembly member.

ASWU executive-elects speak on their hopes for the future, campaign experience

ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

ASWU president-elect Tersa Almaw wants to get students involved with events on campus.

Cambria Pilger | Staff Writer

The results from the recent election resulted in junior Tersa Almaw as president, sophomore Andrews Boateng as executive vice president and sophomore Chelsea Shearer as financial vice president. Each elect had a different experience during the campaign process and looks forward to working in ASWU and developing new relationships within the Whitworth community.

Almaw wants to better unite Whitworthians in order to give them a shared experience as well as to find new ways to get more students involved in events, she said. She also hopes to spark conversation about the issues in our community.

Boateng desires to help Whitworth students become more service-oriented both on and off campus. He plans to make ASWU more inclusive through brainstorming how to incorporate different groups that do not feel like their voices are being heard currently.

One of Shearer’s goals is to make the responsibilities of the financial vice president role more known and present at Whitworth. She plans to meet with club leaders frequently and to create a comfortable environment for students to talk with her. Along with clubs and club leaders, Shearer will continue meeting new people on campus, she said.

EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

EVP-elect Andrews Boateng hopes to make ASWU a more transparent organization.

“I think next year there’s going to be a lot of changes,” Shearer said. “I think there were so many more people voting in this election because they want change, and so I think that Teri and Andrews and I are going to implement a lot more of what students have been asking for.”

As president, Almaw also hopes to integrate intersectionality because it is very important to her, she said. Since she is taking fewer credits next semester than she usually does, Almaw said she will have more time to serve and give all that she can to the community.

One of Boateng’s goals is to make ASWU more transparent. He will work alongside Shearer to communicate with students about how their money is being used.

During the campaign, balancing work, school, campaigning and time to be alone was a challenge, Almaw said. Meeting up with new people, encouraging them to vote, and being surrounded by people for long periods was overwhelming at times, she said. It was exciting to meet new people, however, and taught her to push herself out of her comfort zone and genuinely talk to people. She learned to interact with people more and reach out to others, she said.

FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

FVP-elect Chelsea Shearer wants to create a comfortable environment for club leaders.

Boateng said he is glad that students were able to experience democracy on campus during the election and to get involved. The campaign period was not long enough to fully campaign, he said. He wishes there had been more time to meet one-on-one with students and to hear everyone’s voices.

“I want us to put whatever happened in the election behind us and work towards a common goal of making this campus a better place,” Boateng said. “My message is we can coexist despite our differences. I want us to be united no matter what you believe; no matter who you are.”

For Shearer, the campaign gave her time to relate to others on campus, she said. It was challenging to manage time, especially when balancing door-to-door visits, campaigning, and talking to others.

The elections were a stressful time for all the candidates, Shearer said. It was a lot of work but very fun. The candidates each grew together and realized that students want change and new ideas, she said.

Contact Cambria Pilger at

ASWU passes a resolution in support of DACA

Abebaye Bekele| News Editor 

ASWU passed a resolution that affirms its support of undocumented students and immigrant communities.

The resolution states our support of a bipartisan DREAM Act or similar legislation offering a path to citizenship for undocumented youth without causing harm to other immigrants or undermining family unity; and calling on our members of Congress, including representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Senator Patty Murray to take leadership on this issue and sponsor legislative solutions that protect our fellow students, according to Resolution 2017-2018.

Senators, coordinators, and ASWU executives held a discussion with regards to the advantages and disadvantages of passing the resolution.

The importance and value of a resolution is that it does not happen often, and shows where the student government stands on important issues. The resolutions are posted on the ASWU website and it will be on the record so that people 10 years from now can see where the student body is standing, president Jeff DeBray said.

In the  ASWU meeting, Warren hall senator Ethan Clardy said that he had a prime time where he talked about the resolution with his residents. Students came and expressed their thoughts on the resolution, it was mostly positive. he also printed out the resolution and people came up and signed the resolution to show their support for DACA recipient.

Ian Busik| Photographer   Cultural Events Coordinator M. Kamau Chege, Duvall & Oliver Hall Representative Jacob Seo. Oliver Senator Hannah Underwood.

Ian Busik| Photographer

Cultural Events Coordinator M. Kamau Chege, Duvall & Oliver Hall Representative Jacob Seo. Oliver Senator Hannah Underwood.

Arend senator Amber Van Brunt said that her residents are pleased with ASWU’s decision to pass this resolution. One resident, in particular, said that they feel proud to be a part of this inclusive community.

Various questions were asked at the meeting.

ASWU PR coordinator Hunter Smit said he has been asked about how ASWU chooses which national issues to take part in. Smit is in favor of the resolution.

“I believe that this topic is one that directly affects and impacts our students. Whenever there is something that comes up that puts our fellow Whitworthians at risk it is our responsibility as a student organization and student leaders on campus to be an ally and stand up for them whenever we can,” DeBray said.

Students also expressed their views on the resolution.

“Everybody wants to be proud of leadership that is in touch with their community is in touch with the social issues at large on a national scale and I think a lot of us are happy that ASWU that is standing for something that is very clear cut and very beneficial for the entire Spokane community,” sophomore Cat Corvalan said.

The resolution solidifies that ASWU stands with DACA recipients on campus, DeBray said. “So, it is both sending a message to the Whitworth community where the student government stands and to the Spokane community too where Whitworth is.” 

“Personally, I see Whitworth standing up as a pillar of support in the community and this will obviously be great help for the incoming first-year students that are looking at colleges that may be undocumented or may have family that doesn't feel safe I think Whitworth is starting to become an institution that is truly committed through action for their community,” Corvalan said.

ASWU passed the resolution on Feb. 23 and it was sent out to students through their senators. It can also be found on the ASWU website. The last resolution passed by ASWU was in 2014. It was in support of adding sexual orientation to list of protected identities for faculty and staff.



ASWU discusses a new international student representative position

Cambria Pilger| Staff writer 

ASWU members are discussing creating a new representative position for international students. The idea came from international students and is being filtered through ASWU senators, Baldwin-Jenkins senator Alex Mowery said.

“Right now, there isn’t any guarantee that international students will have a voice at all [in] ASWU, and this provides that guarantee,” Mowery said.

Results from a survey of Whitworth international students suggested that the majority of the students felt they did not have sufficient voice in ASWU, Mowery said. Ideally the position will require three hours each week and work closely with international students to represent their voices.

“I think someone in these groups should be able to better represent them than I probably could,” Warren senator Ethan Clardy said.

Clardy said the job will allow ASWU to reach out and connect better with international and minority students.

“I’m kind of shocked that it’s just coming up now,” said Pernilla Faranda, an international student from France studying at Whitworth for only one year. “International students have been coming for a long time...It should have been done before.”

Mowery said that the creation of the role will contribute to ASWU’s mission of providing a platform for all voices to be heard.


“As international students, we can’t really get involved in decisions,” Faranda said. “I think if I was here for four years I would be more involved, and it would be different.”

Since the international population is diverse and people come for different duration of time two representatives would be better, Faranda said. It’s difficult to participate in student government if you only attending Whitworth for a couple of semesters because you’re still getting used to the campus, she said. International students choose whether to attend Whitworth for one semester, one year or four years.

ASWU strives to represent more voices with the addition of the position, Mowery said.

“International students make a really huge part of Whitworth, and it’s really unfair that they just have to sort of blend in with everyone else. Their needs are very specific, and their representation should be just as specific as well,” said BMac CDA Theresa Chowa, an international student from Zimbabwe.

Chowa said sometimes international students get grouped together with minorities, but this position will give them more of a voice and encourage them to get involved in student life.

“The way I saw it, there should be one for international students, one for minority groups, and then they work side-by-side to get what those two groups need together,” Warren CDA Darian Kagawa-Burke said. “If it stays for just international students, I think that the minority groups might feel a little left out.”

The position will help integrate different viewpoints from both international and minority groups, Kagawa-Burke said.

“It’s going to give international students a chance to choose their own representation,” Chowa said.

ASWU members are willing to work with students on campus to decide whether one or two positions is better, Mowery said. Since the conversation is still fairly new to ASWU, however, there are no finalized plans for the representative position right now.

ASWU leaders take a personal approach to zone rep recruitment

Courtney Murphy | Editor-in-Chief

This fall ASWU leaders faced a new challenge when it came to recruitment for zone representative applicants, senior executive vice president Dylan Reyes said. In years past the application was advertised heavily through all-campus emails, but this year ASWU leaders have a reduced ability to send out those emails.

“[Not being able to send our emails] really makes my job more difficult,’s made me more creative about how I go about approaching the zone rep application,” Reyes said.

Reyes said he and the leadership team have opted for a more personable approach, talking to students individually instead of mass advertising. This strategy corresponds with Reye’s goal of making the application process, and student leadership in general, more accessible and equitable, he said.

“I know there are individuals who because of the way the system was set up in the past haven’t always had easy access to that application because they don’t know the right people to talk to,” Reyes said”. I’ve been making an effort to whenever I talk about it with people, make sure I’m reaching all areas of students, both the students that are like me and student leaders, but also students that are completely not like me.”

Some groups of students in the past have felt the opportunity to run for zone representative was inaccessible to them. First generation college students and others who don’t fit the “Whitworth mold” may not feel equipped for the position, Reyes said.

The typical Whitworth student leader has traditionally been someone who is outgoing, knows everyone, takes a lot of credits and actively involved in many things, Reyes said. While these qualities often make it easy for students to run and get elected for positions, they are not the only valuable qualities.

“In my mind a healthy applicant is someone who is willing to be uncomfortable, willing to be someone who's able to talk to the most students possible and create healthy conclusions based on who they interact with,” Reyes said. “That isn’t always the same type of student that’s historically been a Whitworth mold kind of leader...I don’t want to neglect leaders that currently do that well, but has the system and application process been bent toward one type of leader?”

Arend senator junior Amber Van Brunt said that ASWU hasn’t traditionally been a very diverse group of people, but “there are different qualities needed for a leader than just being outgoing and enjoying events.”

“International students don’t know [running for zone representative] is an option for them,” Van Brunt said. Van Brunt served as zone representative in Arend last year as a sophomore  before becoming senator. As senator, Van Brunt has been talking to her residents personally about the zone representative application and showing them how to apply, she said. One strategy she has is talking to people who are involved in dorm activities and ask questions about how to improve the dorm community.

Despite Reyes’ and Van Brunt’s efforts to be more inclusive during recruitment, many students are intimidated by the application. The application for zone rep is almost identical to the ASWU applications for positions like special events coordinator and sustainability coordinator, Reyes said, which may prevent some students from applying. Because zone representative is an elected position, after the application students still need to campaign.

“‘I don’t have time [to fill out the application]’ is the biggest thing we hear,” Reyes said.

The purpose of the application as he understands it is to make sure students running for leadership positions are able to be good students too, so there are certain GPA and resume requirements, Reyes said. However, many students feel inhibited from running because of the lengthy application process.

The application is good to have to show a person is serious about running, but it is extensive and students can feel they will be rejected from the position based on their application, Van Brunt said. However, the application is more of a screening device and applicants don’t need to have perfect responses, she said.


“People are worried that those things like the resume and GPA are things that inhibit them from being leaders in general, not just running and being in the position but also does something psychologically to students where it tells them they aren’t good enough or smart enough to be leaders,” Reyes said.

Reyes hopes to revise the application process for elected positions before the spring elections, he said.

Despite the lengthy application process and reduced ability to send campus-wide emails, Reyes is optimistic about the new recruiting strategies because it causes him and other leaders to be more creative, he said.

“Whenever I’ve told students they are able to do something, it’s so cool to see the lightbulb moment in them,” Reyes said. “I think that’s the funnest thing about jobs in leadership is we get to tell people they can do things, and equip them to do things well. If we don’t utilize the different voices and stories we have on’s going to take away from our experience too, as students and as leaders.”

Zone representative applications are open until 8 p.m. today, Sept. 22. If you would like to apply contact your dorm senator or pick up an application from the ASWU front desk.



ASWU execs reflect on campaigns

Peter Houston-Hencken

News Editor

(Left to right) Financial Vice President Jeff DeBray, President Breanna Lyons and Executive Vice President Norma Heredia each find support in their first month if office. [Kelly Logie | Photo Editor]

(Left to right) Financial Vice President Jeff DeBray, President Breanna Lyons and Executive Vice President Norma Heredia each find support in their first month if office. [Kelly Logie | Photo Editor]

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.

I think I’ve felt more supported than I thought I would.
— Breanna Lyons | ASWU president

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