Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 3
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

New ASWC senators prepare for duties on annual retreat

ASWC representatives prepared for the upcoming legislative session this weekend on the annual ASWC retreat at the Johnston Wilderness Campus. The goal of the retreat is to educate  newly-elected senators on Senate procedures and on their roles on ASWC. Whitman-owned Johnston Wilderness Campus lies 15 miles southeast of Whitman College.

The retreat occurred a week earlier than normal this year due to changes in election rules which shifted elections from the last to the third weekend of September. Last year the retreat occurred in early October, the day before the first Senate meeting. ASWC President senior Tatiana Kaehler hopes that the change will allow for a stronger first week in session.

“I think it will help us because now we’ll have at least a week in between the two first committees to meet and go about their business, which will give us a lot of material for the first senate,” said Kaehler. “We typically have a ton of business at the first Senate.”

The retreat, which began Friday evening and lasted through Saturday, focused on team building as well as parliamentary procedure and the duties of the various committees within ASWC. Senators met with their committees, held mock business debates and participated in team-building activities. Oversight Committee senior Chair Molly Olmsted said that the retreat serves to familiarize senators with procedure and with each other.

“All of Senate flows a lot more fluidly if people are more comfortable with who they’re around and know each other better,” said Olmsted. “That way they feel like they can get up and talk in front of this huge group in this really formal setting more comfortably.”

This semester a Senate seat for the junior class remains vacant, but this does not worry Kaehler or Olmsted. While they hope it will be filled at some point during the year, ASWC has no qualms with training a senator on the fly.

“I think once that junior senator is elected, then of course we’ll have to work with them to ensure that they’re caught up and feeling comfortable with all the things … that they missed,” said Kaehler. “We’ve had situations in the past where senators have had to resign because of … prior time commitments. And so this isn’t something completely new to ASWC.”

The retreat cost around 360 dollars and was funded with the 2,500 dollar ASWC Executive President’s Fund.  According to Kaehler, the money went largely toward food. The ASWC Executive Fund, which totals 6,500 dollars, often runs dry by the end of the year.

“Unfortunately we typically end up using it all because we keep it as low as possible,” said Kaehler. “But it’s my goal this year to ensure that we spend that wisely.”

First-year Senator Deepraj Pawar came back to Whitman with a positive view of the retreat.

“We got a lot of work done, and it was just really good to establish ourselves as a group,” said Pawar. “We all really got to know each other.”

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