Newly elected ASWSU president and vice president are ‘here to serve’

Luke Deschenes and Maccabee Werndorf were elected as the new president and vice president of ASWSU, respectively



Newly elected president Luke Deschenes and vice president Maccabee Werndorf hope to improve parking and transportation on campus, improve the vibrancy of campus, and increase drug education and awareness during their term.

MUSFIRAH KHAN, Evergreen reporter

On March 7 and 8 ASWSU held elections to vote for the new executive branch positions. Luke Deschenes and Maccabee Werndorf have been voted as the new president-elect and vice president-elect.

Deschenes and Werndorf said they have three primary goals they wish to accomplish as the new president and vice president of ASWSU by the end of next year, including improving parking and transportation on campus, improving the vibrancy of campus, and increasing drug education and awareness. They will take over the official president and vice president positions at the end of this semester in preparation for the upcoming school year. 

Deschenes and Werndorf both have experience as members of the ASWSU board, with Deschenes serving as the Director of Community Affairs this year and Werndorf as a senator representing the Carson College of Business on the ASWSU Senate. 

“We’re here to serve people, not to just act as a figure that doesn’t do anything,” Deschenes said. “We really want to treat this like the job that it is, and work to the best of our abilities.”

He said they hope to lower the price of parking tickets on campus and intend to provide protection from weather and increase lighting at bus stops on campus in order to incentivize people to want to take the bus rather than treating it as a last resort.

Deschenes will also be leading the effort to improve campus vibrancy and cleanliness, with the creation of the new position of Deputy Director of Campus Sustainability in the executive staff. The new position would concentrate efforts towards monthly campus clean-ups and pursuing beautification projects as well as work with various organizations in Pullman to keep the campus clean, he said.

The addition of this new position on the ASWSU executive staff would allow students to participate in clean-up efforts to earn community service hours, as well as allow staff to pursue different projects on campus. Deschenes and Werndorf said they hope to get the bill for the new position passed before the end of the current ASWSU Senate term and intend to begin hiring for the position this semester.

Werndorf is leading the effort to increase drug education and awareness on campus, which he said was inspired by the WSU administration’s decision last semester to stock Narcan Nasal Spray kits, a potentially life-saving opioid overdose treatment.

Werndorf hopes to expand on WSU’s current efforts and is currently trying to pass a resolution that would provide fentanyl testing strips on campus to students and staff.

“It’s a really low-cost initiative,” Werndorf said. “The price that I worked with on the wholesale, it would come down to like 55 cents a strip.”

Werndorf hopes that increasing drug education and awareness on campus will help combat the stigmatization surrounding drug use and allow students to feel comfortable to reach out for help. He also hopes to implement a drug safety course for incoming students that can be included in new Coug orientation, along with the preexisting alcohol safety programs.

Deschenes and Werndorf said that ASWSU has struggled with coming back from COVID after having to shift everything online on such short notice.

“Information is just in a lot of different places because it all went online so quickly,” Werndorf said.

This has also resulted in decreased student involvement and awareness surrounding ASWSU, Deschenes and Werndorf said.  Many students are unaware of ASWSU’s roles and its significance.

According to Deschenes, ASWSU is currently planning to start sending monthly emails to undergraduate students to increase awareness and receive feedback, as well as implementing an open-door policy in the upcoming year so that students can come directly to ASWSU leaders with questions or concerns.

“For me, I really just want to walk away from this position knowing that ASWSU is viewed positively by students,” Deschenes said. 

Deschenes and Werndorf hope that more students will become involved in ASWSU and are looking to refill 21 senator positions for the upcoming school year. Applications for the ASWSU Senate opened on March 27 and will close on April 9, they said.

Deschenes and Werndorf recevied 475 total votes. ASWSU does not have a set amount of votes needed for someone to win the race, Senate Pro Tempore, Tania Henriques, wrote in an email.