While running for ASWSU president and vice president, Riley Myklebust and Amanda Spalding touted their commitment to maintaining campus safety and reaching out to all students in many different ways. Though they have faced setbacks, the ASWSU leaders have achieved many of their goals to reach out to the community and are in the process of resurrecting a familiar safety program under a new name.
Last year marked the demise of the short-lived SafeWalk program sponsored by ASWSU. The safety program, which
provided a group escort to
others on weekend nights, was cancelled due to the high cost of background checks needed for student volunteers.
However, ASWSU officials hope to resuscitate a similar program operated by Women’s Transit. In the new program, Women’s Transit would absorb the $10-per-person fee for the background checks.
Spalding said ASWSU would likely fund the hiring of the required graduate assistant for the first semester, but Women’s Transit will need to request the money for the salary in future semesters if the program goes well. Myklebust said the new service may be available sometime next semester at the earliest.
ASWSU has also supported Green Dot, a program that promotes behaviors and attitudes that encourage safety and discourage violence. In addition to promoting Green Dot, ASWSU donated $1,256.80 to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP) with funds from the Bookie dividend after the murder of University of Idaho student Katy M. Benoit.
The executives presented the check to ATVP during a PB&J Club event in the CUB.
“We just had a large awareness day with Green Dot, saying, ‘Hey, here are some resources for you in our community,’” Myklebust said.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY
While campaigning, Myklebust and Spalding said they would support a diverse culture at WSU. In keeping with past years, ASWSU has funded three conferences this fall and will fund the annual multicultural banquet this spring.
Though the executives stepped on some toes when they failed to consult the multicultural community while appointing the director of multicultural affairs in the spring, Nikki Brueggeman, chair of the Council of Multicultural Student Presidents, said ASWSU leaders learned from their mistake.
When the multicultural director was moved to a different position in the fall, Myklebust and Spalding chose a new one, and this time they made sure to get approval from the multicultural community, Brueggeman said.
“They really made a conscious effort to reach out,” she said.
Brueggeman, who is also the vice president of the Black Student Union, said she feels that multicultural groups are receiving more support from this year’s administration.
“They do seem a bit more attentive with the multicultural community than last year’s vice president and president did,” she said.
The ASWSU executive board has never held a
meeting on the third floor of the CUB, where the ASWSU offices are located, Spalding said. During the campaign, the ticket stressed the importance of reaching out to students by being visible on campus.
“Our staff is very aware of our goal to not live in a silo on the third floor,” she said.
Though they set out to publish two blogs each month, ASWSU executives did one better. They have posted consistent videos to the ASWSU Facebook page each week. The videos provide updates on ASWSU and campus events.
When Ramon Armenta, the original director of multicultural affairs, took control of media relations, the concept of text-based blogs morphed into video blogs, Myklebust said. He said part of the reason for publishing weekly videos is the wealth of information ASWSU leaders have to share with students.
“The more we can get out to students and be visible, then I think we’re doing our jobs,” he said.