By Simon Thomas
Jarrett Martin has attended Whatcom Community College for the past four years and has been the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC) president for the last year.
Martin originally came to Washington from Arkansas to attend Digipen Institute of Technology, a private college in Redmond, Washington, but he said he began attending Whatcom because of the affordability and to explore different degree paths.
Martin received a Visual Communications degree from Whatcom in 2015 and will receive an Associate of Arts Direct Transfer Agreement at the end of this year.
Martin chose to be a part of student government to improve his public speaking skills and to gain additional leadership experience.
He joined ASWCC executive board last year as the director of clubs. He chose to stay on for another term, this time as president.
“I wanted to see some things change within the organization of the student government,” Martin said.
It was a goal for the 2015-16 ASWCC to institute a new ASWCC town hall voting system, ultimately removing the student senate, said Martin.
“Last year we were trying to get rid of the senate and put in a town hall voting system, that all students can participate in, we thought it would be a little bit better than a small senate deciding where everybody’s money goes and it would be better if students had a broader say,” Martin said. “That actually ended up not going through, and that was one of the main reasons why I stayed was to try to see that through, because if I left it could have been dropped.”
Martin explained that the town hall system was ultimately too drastic of a change for the college, and that it would have been too quick of a change for the school.
At the beginning of the year the ASWCC comprised a list of goals to reach throughout the year.
The list included implementing new security cameras on campus, providing nightly study space on campus, creating and expanding the Orca Food Pantry and Care Center, and to create a student reflection room. This was the list of goals the ASWCC executive board shared at the first student senate meeting this year.
Martin said the board’s advisors wanted the list of goals to be more detailed and include research citations as well as timelines.
“What happened was we ended up spending half of the year developing our goal sheet, not even working on our goals,” Martin said.
After redrafting a new list of goals for the year, the ASWCC got to work on completing them before the end of their terms.
Their new goals were to finalize getting bus passes onto students’ Orca cards, improve spaces in Syre Student Center so it is more of a student-friendly space, and to create and expand the Orca Food Pantry.
“The President’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees won’t make decisions just based on ideas, they have to have research and data, which makes it really hard for student governments to get anything done, because we are only here for one year,” Martin said. “By the time we get in, find out we have to do a bunch of research, and then do it, we are gone. So all [the data] we got can be passed down to next year’s group, but we have to just cross our fingers and hope that next year’s group has the same vision as us. If they don’t, that’s fine, but then they are not going to make any progress themselves either.”
The ASWCC achieved all goals on their revised list, he said. Students’ Orca cards now have bus passes on them, the ASWCC has hosted events at Syre Student Center over their term for student enjoyment, like the Game Room in Syre 108, and have collected data about these events for future executive boards to use. The Orca Food Pantry has been in effect all year long and is located on the second floor of the Syre Student Center, Martin said. They hope to expand the pantry.
Martin said many things can change about the Student Life and Development Department to improve the organization and effectiveness.
“I wish we could have done our goal developing process differently, if we had our goals sheet set at the beginning of the year we would have been able to get more stuff done,” he said.
After getting his second degree, Martin plans to take time off of school and explore starting a business.
Time for applications for 2017-18 ASWCC has ended, but anyone can attend student senate meetings and the next application process will begin winter quarter 2018.