The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

ASWSU to work on transit, drug safety this semester

New ASWSU executive team focusing on transportation, drug safety and vibrancy around campus
President Luke Deschenes speaking during an ASWSU meeting earlier this year

For students who are interested in the relationship between students and the administration, the Associated Students of Washington State University is the student’s voice in university affairs.

ASWSU President Luke Deschenes said ASWSU is the student government on campus, which is comprised of the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

“The executive branch has 13 members with six different departments. They serve different functions, they plan different events, they meet with administration,” Deschenes said. “The legislative branch is made up of 21 senators and two freshman delegates. They pass legislation, so bills and resolutions.”

Vice President Maccabee Werndorf said as vice president he chairs all senate meetings. One of his main responsibilities is to sign or veto all bills and resolutions that are passed, although a ⅔ majority can overrule a veto.

“A bill is any modification to our bylaws or our constitution. Those can both be found on the ASWSU website. A resolution is a little different in the sense that it’s more stating the stance of ASWSU about something,” Werndorf said. “Once it goes across the senate floor and is voted on, that’s basically the official stance of ASWSU.”

Deschenes started working with ASWSU about a year ago as the director of community affairs, he said. He was elected president last March and officially took over last May.

“Since May I’ve been in this position and I’ve spent the summer introducing myself to as many groups on campus as possible,” he said. “We’ve planned some events coming up for the first month. We’ve just gotten prepared for the year to come.”

One of the main goals for this coming semester is to improve transportation on campus, Deschenes said. A complaint he has heard is that the buses do not run late enough and there is too much distance between the stops and some locations students are going to.

“Another thing is providing some form of shelter from the weather at the bus stops so you can get some sort of protection from the snow or the weather,” he said. “Most likely what is going to have to happen is a ballot measure is going to have to be pressed in the coming elections.”

Another issue ASWSU will be focusing on is working with local authorities and nonprofits in improving drug safety and education on campus, Deschenes said. ASWSU has worked with Whitman County on providing fentanyl testing strips to different groups around campus, but that has not been without issue.

“In Washington state right now, providing fentanyl testing strips to different groups is considered a form of drug paraphernalia, so it’s currently illegal,” he said. “However, we feel there may be some way around this and we’re also lobbying to essentially change the verbiage from testing strips to allow that to be distributed.”

One other major focus of ASWSU this coming semester will be to improve vibrancy around campus, he said. One way they are hoping to do this is in working with the landscape architecture department to make improvements to Ruby Street Park.

As members of ASWSU, the executive branch is responsible for sitting in on meetings with administration, serving on search committees and funding committees and making appointments with the faculty senate, Werndorf said.

Going into the year, there are some positions that are unfilled in ASWSU, including two freshman delegates, who are non-voting members but can still author and sponsor legislation, he said.

The next general election season will take place before spring break, Deschenes said. However, besides just running for office, students can become involved with ASWSU by sitting in on meetings, which are open to the public.

ASWSU senate meetings will begin Aug. 23 and will be held every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in CUB 204, Deschenes said.

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About the Contributors
JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor
Josiah is a sophomore broadcast journalism and broadcast production double major. He is from Lakewood, Washington and began working for the Evergreen in Fall 2021.