On February 11th, ASWC, in a 13-3 vote (with 3 abstentions due to absence), passed a by-law amendment that will result in sweeping changes in the way the body and its senators interact with other student organizations.
The amendment was the brainchild of Club Director Brian Wu, spurred by concerns over the Senate-Club relationship model that had been in effect at the time. Wu, who had served as president of the Badminton Club and co-president of China @ Whitman the previous year, recognized the importance of rectifying issues that were negatively affecting all parties.
“ASWC is a student organization, and a very good way to receive feedback from the student body is through clubs, because we have over 60 [ASWC-sponsored] clubs on campus and many many students are involved in these clubs,” Wu said. “I believe a good, healthy club-ASWC relationship can help the student body to learn more about ASWC, and that’s a lot of… what we want to do, to try to achieve as the governmental student body.”
In the model previously in place, ASWC senators were each assigned to a number of different clubs. Senators were then required to reach out in person to club leaders, and subsequently attend several meetings of each club. Senators would then frequently survey club leaders and collect feedback forms at the end of the semester, which the Club Director would use to assess the clubs’ needs.
The problem in this model, according to Wu, lay in its inefficiencies – senators’ abilities were stretched too thinly, while many clubs were not in significant need of ASWC’s resources beyond funding.
“[T]hat sparked the idea of changing the system… to a more efficient one,” Wu said, “in which clubs that do need help will have the resources, but the clubs that do not actively seek help and resources will not be forced to seek help from ASWC.”
Under the new system, the importance of in-person check-ins between senators and club leaders has been diminished, and senator-club relationships will now begin with small check-in surveys sent by the senators. Based on the information provided by the surveys, Wu suggests, senators will be able to deploy themselves more judiciously according to the needs of different clubs. Additional surveys, created by the Club Director, will come attached with detailed lists of ASWC resources, to ensure club leaders have awareness of what ASWC has to offer them.
Wu noted that the new model should take effect within a few weeks of the amendment’s passage.