Daily Evergreen Q&A: Cherzan and Montano

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Q. What will be your top priority coming into office?

A. Our top priority as president and vice president would be to increase student voice within the university while expanding the ASWSU brand name across campus. We will do this through getting student delegates, if not voting members, on the faculty senate, improvement of the process for the Office of Student Standards and Accountability through changes in the WAC codes to create a more transparent and fair process, which will both increase the amount of voice our students have at the university level. Additionally, we will expand the ALIVE! process by having sign in sheets where student will place how they identify and any interests they have, and afterwards we will email them the respective clubs and organizations across campus that relate to them. Furthermore, we will be making monthly visits to all major organizations and clubs across campus to ensure we are effectively hearing their voice and gathering their perspective on what they want done on campus. Overall, we will strive to always be visible and transparent through all available options of communication and  to always effectively voice what the students what at all levels of the university.

How will you directly improve retention rates?

A. We will bring together all of the mentorship program across campus including Multicultural Student Services Mentorship, Residence Hall Advisors, the Greek big/little program, First Scholars, Smart Start, and all other mentorship programs to unify all first year students under one program to create a community that provides all necessary information and resources for the most students possible. Additionally, we will establish a Scholarship Fair that highlights all available scholarships because many students cannot continue to attend universities simply due to cost and many scholarships go unclaimed every year, hence why we will create a fair that highlights the options available to students so that they have more of an opportunity to attend the university at a lower cost. Therefore, student will have increased chance of continuing within the university and graduating with lower debt. Furthermore, we will create four $500.00 scholarships out of our salaries to distribute to students who display exceptional leadership and service.

Q. What will you do to ease tensions on campus in light of recent events?

A. Recent events have highlighted the growing issue that faces this campus, and the app Yik-Yak has shown blatant displays of racism and words of violence. As an administration, we will bring together all multicultural aspects of the university, both student-led and administrative, in our creation of the Diversity Forum, which will allow for open communication with all parts of the university and give the opportunity for us to listen to all the issues that are facing our multicultural community and for us to hear what they want from us as their president and vice president and how we should proceed to act and address these issues. Additionally, the forum will provide all groups involved to have a cohesive understanding of the actions being undertaken and for us all to collaborate on upcoming events so that they can be the most successful and attended as possible. We will also want to work with the university and administration to begin the creation of a mandatory class for freshman that educates all participants on issues surrounding cultural sensitivity, gender-identity (ally training), sexual violence, and bystander intervention (green dot) so that we can begin to change the culture of our campus and display how Washington State University is an institution that welcomes individuals of all backgrounds and creates a safe climate for them all. Lastly, Jake, as vice president, will hold an office hour in each multicultural center in the CUB each week in order to be easily accessible to the multicultural community.

Q. How will you encourage student engagement?

A. This begins at the Alive! program. We will have student write down their interests, and how they identify both with their culture and gender. With this information we will reach out to students to give them information on where they could get involved based on their interests. Along with this, we will reach out to all perspective colleges within WSU to have our applications for our executive staff  sent out to the students certified within them, and furthermore we will visit all student orgs to present our application process and encourage all possible students to get involved, because as past few years have shown, the ASWSU executive staff is typically made up of students who have always been a part of ASWSU and students who are involved in the same organizations as the president and vice president. We believe that our executive staff should reflect the whole student body because that is who we represent.

Q. How do you plan on making sure that your constituents are properly represented?

A. We will work alongside Senate in order to restructure how they do their required hour of outreach each week so that ASWSU can guarantee a more representative process that demonstrates who the senators are reaching out to and to ensure we are effectively hearing what the many different student organizations across our campus are saying. We will also make sure that our staff properly represents student populations across campus, and that all of our projects and decisions represent all students on campus. We will establish constant communication through our website for students so that we are always accessible to students.

Q. What would you do to improve communication among student groups/unions?

A. All of the projects previously listed expand on how we wish to improve communication with students in all organizations from faculty senate representation to the diversity forum and personal representation at student organizations. Our administration is aimed at guaranteeing we are always hearing the student voice and enacting changes on behalf of the students, and not solely geared around our ideas.

Q. How will you measure your progress?

A. We will be sure that we keep an accurate list of projects we will complete or have completed, and that we check this list often so we know if we are keeping ourselves caught up with the work we wish to complete. Additionally our constant communication with the diversity forum and outreach to student organizations and individuals will hold us accountable to our goals as well as the students standards for their student government.