By Madison Roper
The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College has a student senate, but what are they here for and who is behind it? The student senate is the primary body that represents students’ voices on campus.
For Running Start student and senator, Elliot Saldivar, the senate is a “great opportunity to get involved.” The senate meets biweekly on Mondays, to discuss and vote on funding, programming, events, and opportunities on campus.
The ASWCC’s mission is “to serve students by providing diverse opportunities for campus involvement, to build campus community, and represent student concerns in college decision-making.” The senators are a diverse group of multiple races and genders, made to represent the various demographics on campus.
The senate is made up of 12 student senators, along with the ASWCC Executive Board and has ASWCC Executive Vice President, Rayo Suseno, leading the meetings. Suseno was a senator during the spring 2018 quarter, and was elected ASWCC Executive Vice President, as well as Chair of the Student Senate program, in the fall quarter of the same year.
He had applied for senator before the spring 2018 quarter, but his application was put on hold due to a full senate. “Ever since high school, I’ve been involved in this kind of stuff. I’m really craving for something like this again.”
Suseno is an international student that moved to Bellingham from Indonesia in fall 2017. “I think that I’m kind of longing for home. Back in my home country, my routine was to go to school and work on some projects with some of the other student leaders and it’s been a habit ever since.”
Suseno mentioned events coming up that he wants students to be aware of.
To him, the community between students and ASWCC matters.
“The most exciting part is meeting different people for every meeting. Seeing new faces and talking to different people every meeting has definitely refreshed my vision. There’s new students or new faculty members coming to us and saying ‘hey, we need something, can you support us?’ It’s really relieving to see them coming to us. And it’s also exciting that our work in the student senate is making someone else’s life better.”
On Jan. 24, the ASWCC Executive Board will be going to Olympia to talk with state legislatures. The board is looking for students to submit ASWCC postcards with their stories of what issues they are struggling with on campus.
The four issues the board will be discussing are the affordability of college, textbook resources/expenses, food security/student hunger, and previously incarcerated students.
When filling out the postcard, there will be stickers to put on the cards to represent what students care about most.
The board is going to meet four representatives, but is waiting on Senator Doug Ericksen. Ericksen is on the Washington State Committee for Higher Education and Workforce Development, and the Senate representative for Whatcom County.
The stories can help influence the representatives, and the postcards will work for data to represent what matters most to Whatcom Community College students.
On Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. an event called Find Your Pod is being held in the Heiner Theater. Students who have the same academic interests will be grouped together, so they can have a conversation with someone that can help guide them in their chosen field of study. For anyone that wishes to attend the event, they must register beforehand. The event runs until 2 p.m., and free lunch will be served.
The ASWCC Student Senate’s next meeting will be held on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. in Syre 108.
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