Financial Vice President candidate: Brett Pray

Major: Economics Minor: Music

Year: Junior


Why are you running for this ASWU position?

I knew when I saw all the opportunities and extracurricular activities that Whitworth had to offer, I knew I wanted to work somehow in a leadership position in order to give back. I applied to be an RA sophomore year and got to the final part of the process but didn’t end up getting it. I spoke with my RD and was thinking of applying again my junior year, but between the transition from sophomore to junior year, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with a major, so I decided to opt out of that junior year. Senior year, I figured it would be a good time for that since I’m well into my major, I know what I’m going to do and I’m an economics major so the role of FVP would be up my alley in terms of what I want to do, because it has a lot of budgeting, connecting, networking and working with people, plus that supervisory position. It was something that I’d looked into and it was ultimately a good choice for me to end up pursuing, mainly because it has the financial portion and a supervisory leadership role which is what I wanted to have at some point while on campus. Mainly I just knew that working in ASWU would be a great opportunity. I really want to try to give back, to the students, to the campus and really just to the community overall and I figured this would be a good position for me to run for.


What is your class load like for next year and what will your other responsibilities be?

Because I decided to change to an economics major kind of late, I’m going to have a little bit of a busy class load, but it’s not going to be anything that I can’t handle. Mainly I’ll be finishing up a couple of my prerequisites for some of the capstone classes. There’s only going to be one specific class that I’m going to have to take that’s going to be a little bit difficult because normally it’s a prerequisite but I’ll have to take in in conjunction with another class because of timing. Ultimately my class load won’t be too difficult. Fall will be a little bit busier than spring, but overall it will mostly be finishing up capstone classes. I have a couple of gen eds to take care of but they fit into my schedule pretty well. There will be a lot going on, but nothing that I’m not already used to and won’t be able to manage.

I’m a music minor on campus, although originally I was a music major. I have a scholarship here and one of the requirements for that is that I have to take lessons as well as perform in at least one of the ensembles on campus. That’s something that I’ve been doing every year now and balancing that. Last year I was in two ensembles and taking two different sets of lessons, which was a lot of things to juggle around, but it taught me well how to manage those types of responsibilities differently. I’m also a part of the student investment group where I’m an analyst. Basically what that entails for me is that I will be researching different companies within this industry that I represent, and I will eventually be pitching them to our subgroup, and then if my pitch becomes the favored one of the group, I would present it. It’s more time-consuming in the sense that I have to follow the company as it’s going along; for example I’m currently following two pharmaceutical stores. It’s not hours of work every night, but it’s something I have to keep on top of and keep looking at, which has been a really good responsibility for me. It’s kept me on top of following something on a periodic basis.

The only other this is that I have an on-campus job as event technician. That more that likely will take a backseat due to the fact that I can only have so many hours of work in a week. If I could continue doing that I would love to; I love that job a lot. It’s very nice to work a lot of events and see the behind the scenes aspect of a lot of things that go on. Each year I come here early to help out with the freshman orientation. That’s always been a lot of fun to get to meet all the freshmen and prepare for those events. Those are the kinds of responsibilities I would have next year. I’ve had the job and the music things since freshman year.



What do you think is the greatest need of the student body? How do you propose to meet that need?

Good question. One of the great needs of the student body is the ability to access resources and information. When we have these clubs on campus, a lot of times clubs will bring in outside information or sources for students to get an inside on what the industry might be or what the club might look like if they take it further. When it comes to ASWU, the whole idea of transparency is key: what they’re doing with the budget they have, what kind of programs they’re trying to implement, what they’re trying to change within the constitution and other aspects along those lines. Letting the students know what’s going on. Recently they had the whole debate where they’re trying to change the discrimination through sexual orientation in the constitution, and that was something that they kept the students updated on, which I think is something that’s very important for ASWU—to have that sense of transparency, to keep the students informed. That’s something that a lot of students at some point want to know, whether or not it’s within their field of interest, whether it’s just a hobby they enjoy, whether or not it’s within student government or whatever activities are on campus. It’s very essential that student have some sense of what’s going on. That would be something I’d encourage, especially if I were to be in this position next year. I would make sure that especially a lot of club leaders would know you can come directly to ASWU for funds and let the students know if there is going to be a big purchase or push to help a certain activity go through and why it’s doing that. Encourage them to come to meetings so they can hear what goes on behind the scenes. I want to get students more involved and knowledgeable about things that are going on, because I’ve talked with some people who have kind of heard through the grapevine what’s going on or have glanced at something and got an idea, but they don’t really know the whole story of it, and I think it’s important for students to get all the information they need.


How would you assess your performance in other positions of leadership that you’ve had?

For the past two summers, I’ve worked at a golf course where I’ve been a supervisor for anywhere up to 10 employees a day. Roughly anyone outside service I’ve been asked to come back to the job, and this’ll be my third year coming back to the position. It’s been something that I really enjoy doing. I enjoy helping people and getting people to the point where they know what’s going on and the position of training people in whatever position they’re at. In terms of leadership, I did apply for the RA position and that was something I was really looking forward to overall because I enjoy getting to know people and meeting people and hearing their story and what they have to say. Within this position, I think the leadership aspect comes in terms of being a leader when it comes to these big activites, you can plan for all the students, or being something relatable for the students, especially for freshmen and sophomores who may be interested in ASWU, being something for them to look to. In terms of leadership roles, I’ve always enjoyed being within them and helping out as much as I can. I’m going back to the job at the golf course this summer and I’ll be in a more direct leadership position where I’ll be specifically training new people coming in as well as working a similar position as I’ve had in the past. But it’s a more directly supervisory position where I’ll be working directly with people rather than managing what people are doing. I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be interesting to meet the new people coming in and be able to help them out through the process and be a leader to them to show how things work and can get done. That’s something I would be looking forward to next year as well with the FVP position.


Why should we vote for you rather than your opponent?

That’s always a hard one because I really like the candidates this year. Everyone is very skilled and have a lot of different attributes about them that make them great candidates. For me I’ve had one year here more than Skyler [Lamberd], since he’s a sophomore. I have more of a business background. He has a mathematics background, but I have a little more in terms of financial statements and managing budgets and everything along those lines. I know he’s had a similar thing being in an RA position, but recently with the economics major, I’ve been really kind of focusing in on things like financial statements, transactions, accounting and all those kinds of things. Additionally, I do have that extra year that I’ve been here. I’ve seen kind of things that have been going on. I’ve been able to see ASWU positions for the past three years and what people have tried to do, what has worked and hasn’t worked. It’s really hard, because he’s a great candidate as well, but I think mainly it’s my area of focus being business and having more time on campus and being around people a bit more.

How do you plan on working with the rest of ASWU?


I’ve known a couple of the candidates for a while now; the only ones I’m not too familiar with are Skyler himself and Naji, and I’ve been getting to know Naji in the past couple of weeks as the campaigns have been moving. He seems like a great guy and I’ve been enjoying the time I’ve spent with him. Ultimately, it was kind of mentioned at the public interview [also known as Debates] as Eli [Casteel] called it that there’s a sense that the three executive positions have this friendship and camaraderie between them. I would work on visiting with the people, getting to know them and keeping in touch with them over the summer. That way I would feel more comfortable while working with them, getting to know who they are and how they work, because everyone’s different in how they handle and manage things. I would try to make myself known to them especially in any way that I possibly could.

With the rest of the members of ASWU, it’s a similar process of making myself available and if I could get together with them for coffee or a night at Prime Time or whatever the case might be. I want to get to know people and make myself known. I think that would be a great way to work with them, and especially through that, to see what their beliefs are, what they truly support and stand for, because if there ever comes a time where there might be some sort of disagreement on something that comes through ASWU, I would have that opportunity to know, “oh, this is why that person’s voting that way.” I would have a better understanding of it rather than, “this person is voting A, this person’s voting B.” It would be helpful to make myself known, be friends with them, spend time and get to know them and ultimately just try to build that connection with them.


What are your weaknesses in terms of the position you’re running for?

A big weakness is that I have not been in any on-campus leadership position, whether it be a student leader or in ASWU, I haven't’ been in anything along those lines. I know that’s something that many of the other candidates have, being either a senator, an RA or anything like that. That’s something I knew going into it would be kind of difficult to compete with. The only thing I can say to that is that I’ve tried to make myself known within departments, within faculty and staff and RDs on campus and everything. Obviously the have a sense of connection with them that I don’t have, because they’ve had more time with them or have been around them more. I would definitely say that’s a big weakness. Like I said, the only way to combat that is just that I’m trying to get myself out there more, I’m definitely looking forward to going around Prime Times tonight and getting to speak with people. It’ll be very beneficial and a good way to get myself out there a little bit more. I think another weakness, and I could see this with a lot of people who I’ve talked to because it’s kind of a common trend, is that there are a couple of communities on campus I don’t know very well. It’s easy to stick with the Prime Times and activities in your dorm and it’s difficult to go out and venture around. I have friends in a few dorms so I’ve been around to those. I would like to get to know those communities better, and that’s something this position would provide me: the opportunity to go out there and see different kinds of people and meet with different communities and hear what they have to say, rather than just be around the ones that I know for as long as I have.


Is there anything else we need to know about you to make this decision?

I would reiterate that the transition from sophomore to junior year was me trying to figure out what I’m doing with my major, and that was a time that I was definitely kind of to myself, trying to think of what’s going on, which is why there’s that sense of trying to get myself out there on campus and more known to students. With people who have the senator role or the RA role, like Naji, like Skyler; they all have that kind of preset status within their community, that they are the senator. Even people from other dorms; I’m from East and I knew that Skyler was the Duvall senator. You kind of still get more well-known in those positions. Within this semester the big thing I’ve been working on is getting myself out there more and being more well-known as a candidate. Tonight I’m hoping will help out with that I was hoping that the public interview would help with that, and the campaign overall. I’ve been wanting to be known as someone who’s interested an wanting to help out in whatever way I can. Even if I don’t even up getting this position, I’d still want to try to work with whoever I can to give back in any way possible. That’s really what my main goal here is. If I end up getting the position, that’ll be fantastic. I’ll work hard in it, I’ll give back in whatever ways I can. But if I don’t end up getting it, that doesn’t mean I’ll take a backseat and ride out my senior year not doing anything. I’ll still try and find a way to work in there and help out. I want people to know that I’m willing to help out in any position that they see fit if this doesn’t work out, even if it’s just another student who is supportive through events and activities and along those lines.


Interview conducted by two members of The Whitworthian's editorial board, editor-in-chief Katie Shaw and copy chief Shelby Harding.