At its final Senate of the season, ASWC continued to actively pursue the improvement of the College, discussing new legislature and reviewing the year thus far. As well as wishing the Senate a Happy Hanukah, Arthur Shemitz described his continued work on campus safety, and Anya Tudisco announced the upcoming “Walla Wallet” Finance blog. Jon Miranda, head of the Oversight Committee, distributed surveys to investigate “what [ASWC] accomplished, what they did right, [and] what they could improve” in the coming months. President Jack Percival expressed his optimism that all of ASWC’s recommendations to the President’s Budget Advisory Committee “will go through.” Meanwhile, the Class Delegations described their goals and accomplishments, from Emma Bishop’s survey on the Whitman mascot to Gillian Friedman’s work with the Student Engagement Center.
For the first time in a decade, a sitting Whitman College President addressed the ASWC senate. President Kathy Murray explained a her “first impression” of Whitman and provided some updates regarding the direction of the College. Issues such as the Global Studies Program, school mascot and budget deficit arose in a lively conversation between President Murray and the students present.
The Senate also granted $2,700 to six leaders of Whitman Christian Fellowship to attend Urbana, a Christian international student conference with emphasis on faith, leadership and social justice. Despite junior senator Tom Howe’s concerns that the trip was simply a “networking opportunity,” the Senate recognized the conference’s role in inspiring programs like Whitman Teaches the Movement, and voted unanimously to fund the trip.
First-year Riley Ellingsen secured $1,015 for Whitman’s Ski Bus, which provides free rides to students embarking on weekly ski trips to Bluewood.
The student leaders of Whitman Teaches the Movement applied for $1187 to share their Civil Rights Education program at Impact, a conference of undergraduate student leaders. The Senate was enthusiastic about the group’s ambition, and approved the request unanimously.
Finance Chair Anya Tudisco led the Senate in its decision to allocate $10,000 of the Saving Fund move the smaller-than-expected ASWC yearly budget. ASWC Advisor Leann Adams applauded the choice, noting that the Business Office “doesn’t like when it looks like ASWC spent more money than it has, to put it mildly.”
ASWC confirmed Matthias Palmer as the 2015-2016 Director of Sound and Lights, praising him as an experienced applicant who expressed “passion[…] about technology and sound equipment.” Senator Tom Howe commended the hiring of the now-Tech Manager, commenting that Matthias has “the best work ethic.”
Sustainability Director Dani Hupper presented on her progress in Fall 2015, updating the Senate on the renovated Bike Share Program and introducing both a potential internal carbon tax and the idea of a Socially Responsible Investment Framework. In addition, Hupper outlined plans for the wind turbine, which will likely power a single light but will serve as a useful educational tool.
Katie Steen and Caroline Bauwens presented Resolution SRF 15.4, a piece of legislation criticizing the Congress’ Fair Campus Act and Safe Campus Act. The Senate agreed that the Acts’ requirements for police intervention in sexual violence cases would “retraumatize victims,” as Jon Miranda put it, and unanimously passed the resolution.
ASWC also passed SAF 15.3, which allows campus media organizations to purchase personal promotional items such as stickers. Meg Logue, Waiilatpu co-editor, claimed that the Act’s passage helps campus media organizations “work in a cohesive way.”
In the Senate’s concluding moments, President Jack Percival encouraged the ASWC representatives to plan for the Spring semester, reminding them that “the work for this year is not yet done.”