Student Senate members meet every other Thursday to discuss issues on campus, such as funding student trips to conferences, granting clubs and organizations funds, and establishing gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Photo by Meg Jackson.[/caption]
The Student Life Office at Whatcom Community College is in search of qualified students to fill 23 student government positions currently open for the 2015-16 school year, seven of which are on the executive board.
The student executive board exists to represent everyone at Whatcom and to address the needs and concerns of students. Some recent examples of changes made on campus as a result of student government working with and listening to students include providing gender neutral bathrooms on campus and making the quad a nonsmoking environment.
“Student Life really pushes you to be the best that you can be,” said Victoria Matey, 22, current vice president. “You have to be willing to work more than you’re asked.”
At the informational session on Apr. 9 held for students applying for the available positions, Laura Singletary, Student Life Director, told the audience of students to look to their left and to their right.
“Of every three students, one of you isn’t going to make it to university,” she said. However, becoming involved in Student Life has been shown to increase a student’s chance of eventually attending a university. “We are here to support each other and to support you,” Singletary said.
Fahren Mansour, 20, is the current student president of Whatcom, though her position will be opening up in the fall. She said some of her most memorable opportunities from her job as president were being able to work with a diverse group of individuals, planning school events, and learning more about business and government structure.
“You learn a lot of different types of skills that will enrich your future endeavors,” Mansour said. “This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Presidential responsibilities include communicating with school administration, representing school clubs and the student body, and managing the Services and Activities budget, making sure that as much money goes back to the students as possible.
After applications for government positions are received, students are asked to participate in a group interview with other applicants. Students who are further considered will be asked to attend a one-on-one meeting with a member of the administration where they will give a presentation on why they feel that they are the best candidate for a position on the executive board. Matey stressed the importance of showing the administration your leadership skills through your actions during your presentation, rather than just describing them.
Available jobs in student government also include six senator and ten ambassador positions.
Student senators are responsible for attending bi-weekly senate meetings in which “they guide the executive team on their decision making,” Singletary said.
Ambassadors are expected to possess superior leadership skills and play an important role in representing Whatcom. They take on the responsibility of interacting with new and prospective students by informing them of everything the school has to offer. Additionally, they work side by side with ASWCC and reach out to students in an effort to increase attendance and retention.
Ambassadors are “the face of Whatcom,” said Matthew Santos, Student Life and athletics coordinator. “[They] know as much about campus as they can.”
Eugenia Susanto, 19, has been working as a campus leadership and administrative coordinator since Dec. 2014. One of her favorite parts about being on the executive board “is being surrounded by people who have the same goals and who want to work hard and support each other,” she said.
Susanto will be transferring schools after the quarter, leaving her executive board position available in the fall. She said she would recommend student government to anyone who is interested in making new friends while having an opportunity to serve the students of Whatcom.
Honey Dubes, 19, campus leadership and club coordinator, said she and the other students selected for their positions attended a week-long training with all members where they participated in team-building exercises.
“We all got to know each other really well,” she said.
Applications for all student government positions are due May 1 in Syre 208. Eligible students must be taking at least eight credits while maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students who hold government positions make $10.70 per hour are able to set their own schedule of 10 to 15 hours each week.