This week in ASWC

Natalie Knott

Except for incoming President Jeff Wilson, next year’s ASWC Executive Council will be comprised of a rookie group of student leaders. For this week’s column I interviewed the outgoing and incoming Presidents Eric Whelitz and Jeff Wilson and outgoing and incoming Finance Chairs, the lovely and dedicated Ajay Abraham and Elliott Okantey.

These are two of the most central positions in ASWC, the President being the only member of the EC who sits in on most if not all ASWC committees and is the student liaison between alumni, faculty and the administration and the Finance Chair who heads the committee that is the most central to the actual business of ASWC, giving people money.

Senior Ajay Abraham has held his chairmanship for two years now, through good times and very bad times (read: the Co-Op), but this year he was especially pleased with the committee he got to work with. Throughout his tenure as finance chair Abraham has always worked towards protecting ASWC recognized clubs. “One of my stated goals has always been to protect clubs.” This overarching goal has provided numerous rewards as well as challenges for the outgoing chair.

Senator Okantey, on the other hand, has a decidedly different outlook on his chairmanship of the Finance Committee. His interests lie in looking towards the administration and the costs that ASWC shares with them. This seems fitting in the seemingly EC-wide bid to increase the transparency of ASWC. Interestingly enough, nobody ran against either Okantey or Abraham in their bids for the chairmanship. “What makes me think I can do this? No one ran against me, I have the mandate of the people,” Okantey joked.

The role of President is a difficult one for the type of person it would seem to attract. The President is the facilitator, the communicator and the conduit through which a lot of information is filtered through to the students. This fit outgoing President Eric Whelitz very well. “I think a lot of what I’ve accomplished is really subtle and really hard to put a finger on. It could be creating the opportunity for people to speak in Senate. I mean you’ll often find that in past years that conversation would be dominated by four or five individuals and I think this year its been really amazing to see more people branch out.”

Having sat in on a number of Senate and Policy committee meetings incoming I have observed President Jeff Wilson in action; he is a skilled debater and clear thinker with very definite opinions on matters. Making the shift from advocate to a roughly neutral leader will be an interesting road for Wilson to traverse.
However, Wilson is approaching the coming year with an abundance of excitement and drive. When asked what exactly he was looking forward to in the coming year Wilson answered, “There is so much I’m excited about. I’m excited about everything!” He is looking forward to increasing the transparency of ASWC by harnessing the media powers that already exist in both print, like the Pioneer and in a new twist over at KWCW.

Next year you will be well-served by your student leaders. They are a capable and enthusiastic bunch that are just waiting to hear your ideas on how to make our campus a better place. Please don’t hesitate to shoot them an e-mail, chat them up in Reid or even leave a note on their desk in the ASWC office. Trust me: they are listening and if the idea is good you will see results.