News from the ASWC Communications Office.

Senate Reconvenes for Spring Semester

In a prompt start to the Spring Semester, ASWC’s Senate convened on Sunday to discuss club leadership, support Slam Poetry, and confirm a new Ombudsperson. President Percival celebrated ASWC coverage in the Union Bulletin about a Resolution’s “sex assault legislation opposition” as well as myWhitman’s newly added pre-registration form about preferred gender pronouns. He also introduced a “tri-college collaboration” with Walla Walla University and Walla Walla community college. Sustainability Director Dani Hupper, meanwhile, anticipated the growth of the Bike Share Program and progress on upcoming carbon tax legislation. The first-year delegation reported on their participation in a Mascot Working Group and outreach to other Panel 13 colleges.

Josie Furbershaw, ASWC’s Club Director, reviewed a survey of twenty-nine student clubs to encourage greater support of student organizations. She noted their appreciation of strong core membership and organized communication, and mentioned that many desired more funding and increased attendance. Ultimately, Furbershaw called upon Senators to communicate with and assist their three to four assigned clubs.

Senate welcomed Almighty Ink and approved funding for their attendance of CUPSI, a national college slam poetry competition. In addition to hosting upwards of sixty colleges in a competitive capacity, CUPSI offers writing sessions and promotes social awareness. Whitman’s team is intent on “bringing positive energy back to [the] school,” and Paige Dempsey graciously performed a polished poem for the Senate. For the first time in Senate history, two Senators were equally eligible for the position of Ombudsperson because they have served the same number of semesters on ASWC. Following substantial debate regarding the voting process, incumbent Ombudsman Mitch Cutter was elected to serve his second semester. Cutter affirmed the importance of continuity and looks forward to scheduling more one-on-one’s with Senate members.

The Senate Concludes the Fall Season

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.

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Sunday’s Senate, in Seconds

As the song  “Cupid Shuffle” faded out, ASWC representatives gathered for the year’s second Senate.

During Senate updates, ASWC’s committees continued to prove their productivity and commitment. Anya Tudisco, chair of the Finance Committee,  solicited advice on the use of ASWC’s Savings Fund, a sum of unused ASWC budget money that now exceeds $20,000.  Nominations Chair AnnaMarie McCorvie enthusiastically presented the new College Advisory Committees, including a potential Athletics committee. Club Director Josie Furbershaw discussed her work on revising club constitutions and supporting club leaders. Since the last senate meeting, Katie Steen worked with SVP (Sexual Violence Prevention) representatives from the Greek community, while Jack Percival met with President Kathy Murray about student safety.

Max Hanson urged ASWC to ratify WhitCity as a recognized club, emphasizing its “goal of getting students out to games… and engaged in the Whitman college athletics atmosphere.” ASWC Senators agreed that WhitCity is an effective way to increase support for varsity athletics and ratified the club  16-2-1. However, Gillian Friedman, Olivia Hagel and Anya Tudisco spoke for many ASWC representatives when expressing frustration over the quickness of the decision, which was put to a vote without a formal debate. Hagel saw the minimal deliberation time as contrary to what Senate is “supposed to be about,” especially in light of WhitCity’s unclear funding strategies.

The Borders Studies program requested $500 from the Travel  and Student Development fund to support an excursion  to the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center to converse with activists, detainees and immigration lawyers. ASWC unanimously decided to fund the trip.

ASWC also confirmed Mitch Cutter and Alex Barsher as members of the new Buildings and Grounds College Committee. Cutter, a self-proclaimed wearer of many hats,  pledged “to take those garments and put them into [the] job” by focusing on sustainability and students’ input. Barsher emphasized the importance of “framing the right questions” to understand and speak for the college’s spirit.

Acts SAS 15.1 and 15.2 introduced a College Committee that will advise the Registrar’s Office, potentially about class selection, faculty hiring, and changes to the system of registering for classes. The Registrar’s office requested the committee be comprised of a student from each year and preferably from different disciplines of study. Because the Registrar’s Committee applications were distributed to the student body prior to this senate meeting even though the positions technically hadn’t been approved, Oversight Committee Chair Jon Miranda wryly  asked the Nominations Committee to “try to make sure things exists before [they] advertise them.”

Resolution SRF 15.1, drafted by Mitch Cutter, was adopted by acclamation (a unanimous vote that carries extra symbolic weight). The resolution “expresses support for the Umpqua Community College Community” following the tragic shooting of nine individuals on October 1st.

Finally, ASWC developed new speaking procedures to incorporate the ideas and opinions of non-voting members. Previously, “formal debate” only allowed voting members of ASWC to speak, leaving WEB chair Olivia Hagel and other non-voting members without a voice.  Ironically enough, a short debate led to the creation of “debate,” in which all ASWC representatives can speak, and “inclusive debate,” when everyone present can speak.  ASWC will implement these new categories of debate as a trial-run at the next Senate.

First Senate Commences a Productive Year

Last Sunday, the ASWC Senate entered its first meeting of the 2015-16 school year to the tune of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” As the music faded out, the formal dress code and prompt start reestablished the importance of the occasion.

To begin, the Executive Council presented a variety of ongoing initiatives, from Arthur Shemitz’s goal of connecting intercultural clubs to Dani Hupper’s push for a bike-share program. The Senior and Junior delegations trumpeted their success at Trivia Night, while the ever-passionate First-Years conveyed their continued interest in working with BonAppétit.

ASWC ratified the Whitman College Green Park Bi-Lingual Program, where Whitman students who speak Spanish mentor Green Park Elementary School students as they learn English. While already quite successful, the club hopes that ASWC recognition will facilitate its ability to collaborate with other on-campus groups and organize community events.

Additionally, the Senate ratified the Whitman Baking Club, which will donate bake sale profits to a variety of charities. Although some senators raised concerns about recognizing such a new club  (Ombudsman Mitchell Cutter commented that he “likes to see a club exist for a semester” before formally approving it), the Senate  ratified Baking Club unanimously.

Club Director Josie Furbershaw introduced this year’s Senator-Club Pairings , which give clubs a direct way to communicate with ASWC.

ASWC provided funding for the editors of Waiilatpu and four members of the Pioneer to attend the ACP’s National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. Both campus media organizations emphasized the breadth and quality of training provided by the Convention. Waiilatpu co-editor Danica Wilbanks hopes that the workshops in leadership, photography, problem solving and design will help her lead the yearbook’s “large staff of energetic first-years” and improve the general structure of the publication. Marra Clay, publisher of the Pioneer, aims bring ACP back to the Whitman community by hosting all-campus journalism workshops upon her return.

Junior Dennis Young, praised for his exceptional active listening ability, was enthusiastically confirmed as an appointed member of the Nominations Committee. The Senate also confirmed Lily Parker and Conor Scanlon (commended especially for their prior student government experience) as the newest members of the Oversight Committee and Mitch Cutter as Ombudsman, a decision that Senator Tom Howe dubbed “pretty above average.” As Ombudsman, Cutter will liaise between the Executive Council and Senate as well as connect with individual Senators through one-on-ones.

The Senate concluded its official business  by passing Act SAS 15.10, which extends the election voting period from twenty to forty-four hours. Oversight Chair Jon Miranda supported the Act, suggesting that it would increase voter turnout from fifty to sixty-five percent. First-year Senator Shannon Zander, however, expressed concern, claiming that because low turnout results from voter apathy, not time constraints, the act might not improve turnout.

In their closing comments, ASWC members Katie Steen, Emma Bishop, Anya Tudisco, Dani Hupper and Jack Percival expressed joint concern over an incident at an off-campus party  and affirmed their commitment to ensure student safety. A Town Hall meeting addressing these and other issues will be held on October 20th at 7:00 PM in the Reid Coffeehouse.




ASWC Senate Plans Ahead During Retreat

At last weekend’s annual ASWC retreat, roughly thirty students convened at the Johnston Wilderness Center. Exchanging names, ambitions, years and positions, the group was quickly united by its common passion for bettering Whitman College. Students discussed broader issues such as dissatisfaction with the school mascot and financial aid policy as well as shorter-term goals. Sexual Misconduct and Prevention Chair Katie Steen called for increased lighting on campus, while first-year Senator Erin Lopez advocated  for a system that notifies students when they receive packages. Senators also outlined cultural changes that they hope to foster both on campus and in the greater Walla Walla community; first-year Senator Caroline Bauwens proposed putting “as much weight on [racial issues as on sexual violence]” in light of recent events. The breadth of the student representatives’ concerns, as President Jack Percival put it, “speaks to the level of impact that ASWC has on campus” and its potential to effect change. After a discussion of the resources needed to turn these ideas into actions, the group retired to a long night of card games, casual conversations and s’mores.

In typical ASWC fashion, students broke up into committees the following morning to practice their roles. Anya Tudisco’s Finance Committee, for example, decided whether to grant funds to “AnyaMarie McDisco,” an imaginary  jazz-enthusiast hoping to attend a John Coltrane concert. Each committee oversees a distinct element of Whitman life: while Student Affairs acts as “a liaison between student interests,” according to Chair Arthur Shemitz,  the recently formed Sustainability Committee, led by Dani Hupper, is building a wind turbine and reinvigorating the bike share program, among other projects.

Then everyone staged a mock Senate meeting to learn about the mechanics of discussion and voting. The issues on the table were much more lighthearted than usual: the potential formation of a Napping Club, the funding of a “Prancercise” class, and the confirmation of Kanye West as ASWC President for the 2020-2021 school year. By addressing these less-than-serious agenda items, members improved their mastery of Senate proceedings, using vocabulary and techniques from Robert’s Rules of Order to dictate the meeting’s style.

In total, ASWC evaluated and voted on five agenda items, held three formal debates, conducted four question-and-answer sessions, and spent $500,000 to provide each Whitman student with a kitten.

By spending a weekend developing personal goals and the skills needed to reach them, the ASWC Senate took the first step towards creating a productive year — and a closely bonded community with which to approach it.

First-year Platforms

ASWC_Ben_Cosgrove ASWC_Erin_Lopez ASWC_Jacob_Case ASWC_Shannon_Zander

Each of the first-year senator candidates submitted a platform in order to be included on the ballot.

Ben Cosgrove

Hometown: Fall City, WA

Res Hall: Jewett

My name is Ben Cosgrove, and I’m here to represent the Whitman College class of 2019.  I have only been here for two weeks, but I already feel right at home. This is one of the most accepting, welcoming and friendly communities I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. My goal is to facilitate this inclusive environment and help everyone feel important.

I have been a member of student government since my sophomore year of high school, where I was elected to be on the ASB class board. I facilitated the school events, organized fundraisers, and rallied my fellow students’ school spirit. My senior year I led the prom committee. We raised all the necessary funds with events such as the talent show, senior tea, Tolo, and several others. I designated the venue and communicated with its staff. Read more

Senate Recap, 4/19/15

The Senate met this past Sunday for one of the year’s final meetings, considering the transition into next year, confirming appointments to the Council on Student Affairs, considering the leadership structure of next year’s Power & Privilege Symposium, and passing a resolution on divestment.

Resolution SRS 15.4 regarding Divestment was passed, urging the Trustees to “recognize the recognize the significant negative impact on our endowment that divestment in the strongest sense could have”– a conflicting and complicating voice to the recently passed student referendum, which urges Whitman’s divestment from the fossil fuel industry. The resolution suggests a weaker form of divestment, capping the amount of fossil fuel exposure in the endowment to 1%, and further urges a re-evaluation of the financial impacts of divestment after three years.

Molly Unsworth ‘18, Dennie Young ‘17, and Eloise Willemsen ‘16 have been appointed to the Council on Student Affairs, with Blake Landenburg ‘17 and Lorenzo Silva ‘17 as alternates. Council members are assigned to serve for the duration of their time at Whitman, and are selected through a highly detailed and thoughtful process considering the candidates’ ability to understand and operate within the complicated, confidential, and sensitive nature of the Council’s activities. The selected candidates bring both diverse experiences and an emotional intelligence which will serve the Council well over the next few years.

Films & Fruit, Sophomore Senator Style

A swift sample of sophomore delegation culture–dedication and direction, film and fruit.

Dana Casterella

Favorite place that she’s visited: Palm Springs, California

(Anticipated) major: PoliticsSophomore Senator Dana Castrella

Last movie seen upon asking (in October): Gone Girl

What she hopes to accomplish in ASWC: There are many great initiatives that ASWC is working on this year, but I am most interested in producing a resolution to encourage an increase in student input during the tenure process as well as a resolution to offer credits for summer internships.

Mitchell Cutter (Spring 2015)

Favorite place that he’s visited: Wallowa County, Oregon

(Anticipated) major: BBMB

Last movie seen upon asking (in October): The Big Lebowski

What he hopes to accomplish in ASWC:  A) Find and implement ways to reduce the “sophomore slump” and B) Increase the ASWC budget size to fund more activities and give more funds to some of the amazing things our clubs are doing

Favorite fruit: Blueberries

Tom Howe (Fall 2015)

Favorite place that he’s visited: Jamaica. It was quite and eye-opening experience and the people there were so welcoming!

(Anticipated) majors: I  plan to be a biology and mathematics double major. Sophomore Senator Tom Howe

Last movie seen upon asking (in November): Quantum of Solace

What he hopes to accomplish in ASWC: I hope to increase the transparency among the administration here, ASWC and the general student body.

Favorite fruit: Bananas!

Arthur Shemitz

Favorite place that he’s visited: The Portland vegan mini-mall!

(Anticipated) major: It’s a wild lottery between Gender Studies, History, English, and Rhetoric!Sophomore Senator Arthur Shemitz

Last movie seen upon asking (in October): Tough Guise

What he hopes to accomplish in ASWC: Advocate for equitable institutional change, get the petition system off the ground, and do my best to make things totally rocking!.

Favorite fruit: B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Final fall senate summary

The ASWC Senate convened for the last time in 2014 to approve a GlobeMed request, ratify a club, and table a resolution.

With the money allocated from the Travel & Student Development Fund, Haley Case ’17 will be able to attend the GROW institute training conference in Chicago to learn about GlobeMed and develop an internship.

ASWC also recognized stART, Students Teach Art, a club that will provide Walla Walla elementary school students with supplementary arts education and allow Whitman students to develop their pedagogical skills.

Discussion of Act 14.2: Sexual Misconduct Policy comprised the bulk of the meeting.  Senators generally support the resolution, which amends the Whitman Sexual Misconduct Policy, but decided to table it to refine its message before hopefully passing it next semester.

The meeting concluded with reflective remarks and goodbyes from some of the senators who will be abroad in Spring 2015 .