New and Returning ASWC Leaders Discuss Goals

Georgia Lyon

The Associated Students of Whitman College is preparing to pursue new measures with the help of the existing leadership and the first year senators elected on September 22. Whitman’s first-year class elected Erin Lopez, Shannon Zander, Caroline Bauwens, and Ben Cosgrove as its ASWC senators. Many of these senators wish to bring a mobile application and increased cultural awareness to campus and collaborate with other ASWC leaders to further some of ASWC’s main objectives.  

ASWC President Jack Percival spoke to The Pioneer regarding the organization’s goals for the year. One of the most important was helping President Murray implement a strategic planning process.

“Kathy Murray is going to initiate a strategic planning process at the end of this year to formulate a kind of vision for the college and take input from all the campus constituencies. I think that it is important to lay the foundation for student involvement in that process and also in major decision making processes that will occur in the future,” said Percival.

Percival also seemed to place value on having student input in the search for the new Provost and Dean of the Faculty and trying to get the Office of Admissions to consider not requiring standardized test scores in the admissions process.

“While [the search for the Provost] does not directly relate to students, it directly relates to students. The provost hires of all the faculty who teach us. The provost also oversees departments—like athletics—that are involved in student life, so I think that it is important to have students oversee that process … Additionally, one initiative that we have been working on for the last couple of years is switching to a test optional admissions policy, and I think that is going to come to a head this year,” said Percival.

Although first-year senators did not explicitly suggest these agenda items, many seemed willing to support concepts such as looking into test-optional admissions.

“I am definitely pro making it test optional. Everyone has something to contribute; however, some minds just don’t do things like ACT or SAT very well, so are we not limiting an entire quota of students by requiring this test? So understanding why the admissions office finds it so necessary to have those requirements would be a big priority of mine,” said Zander.

Lopez’s and Zander’s visions for Whitman seemed to share the overarching theme of consolidating Whitman’s information into a mobile application.

“I had a few points that I really focused on, the first one being a more developed Whitman college app. My platform added links to Whitman websites, a campus map, facility hours, school calendar and weekly schedule of campus events, potentially professors’ office hours and dining hall menus and hours to help students be able to access all this information in one central location,” said Lopez.

Zander suggested an application that would put information in one easy-to-access place, but her emphasis was more on dining information.

“I would like to develop a MyWhitman app … Having an app that contained nutrition information and flex, menus, also hours for the different dining halls, would be incredibly useful for the student body,” said Zander.

Meanwhile, Bauwens seemed to prioritize multiculturalism in her agenda.

“I come from a school where 80% of the student body was Hispanic, so coming here was a bit of a culture shock … I feel like there’s not a lot of talk about diversity and different cultures, so I would like to work on that, and maybe bring awareness to different traditions and different cultures,” said Bauwens.

Percival seemed optimistic about the successes ASWC and its senators could experience this year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what ASWC accomplishes this year,” said Percival.