After about eight months in office, ASSP student government officers said that they have been avidly working towards their platform campaign objectives, which are designed to enhance student life as a whole.
Some focuses of the platforms include increased student involvement in CFE planning, more quality programs for students, informing students of how their money is being spent and offering an improved academic experience over all.
"The officers have done a very good job of improving the issues stated in their campaigns," Multicultural Senator Denise Martinez said. "I believe they have been right on for the most part, doing what they said they would do."
Since the elections in April 2000, ASSP President Emily Cochran has been implementing her campaign based on academics, mental health services and service to the community.
"Students express concerns about majors and the common curriculum. I think it’s important for students to be involved in evaluating that," Cochran said.
Cochran also stated in her platform that she wanted to improve ASSP’s relationship with faculty and that she hoped to make ASSP more academically oriented rather than just focusing on social issues.
Cochran said that she has been involved in facilitating functions that will keep students involved in university affairs in an ongoing basis.
Some ways Cochran and other ASSP members are working to improve academics are reviewing the common curriculum and working with faculty to improve academic advising.
A committee of students under the leadership of Director of Student Resources Ruth Kuhnau is working to evaluate the common curriculum. One of the committees goals is to dispel misconceptions students have about the program itself, according to Cochran.
Cochran said improvements in academic advising are also being considered at the request of both faculty and students.
Student input will also play an important part in alterations made to mental health services, according to Cochran.
Negative student attitudes on mental health issues have prompted Cochran to form a group of students to give suggestions on the restructuring of the counseling center. Also, the group will provide input concerning what mental health issues are currently pertinent to college life.
Cochran has had a positive impact on several students on campus.
"I’ve had a few encounters with Emily Cochran. She seems to be really nice, really interested in talking to students," senior Joshua Tucker said.
Robbins Hall vice president Josiah Sullivan also commented on how Cochran has fulfilled her presidential duties, according to her campaign proposal.
"I know Emily has put hours into a PAC (Presidential Action Committee) on mental health and diversity. Those are two [objectives] she has more than fulfilled," Sullivan said.
"I never expected [to be President]," Cochran said. "I never planned it. It is a great blessing to be able to do this job."
ASSP Executive Vice President
ASSP Executive Vice President Gavin Hesse also cited mental health as one of his objectives in his campaign platform.
"There’s a culture (at SPU) that breeds hiding behind a mask. [Students] try and fit in at a place where you’re away from your comfort zone," Hesse said. "Students need a more adequate resource to get them through these times. Too often, students will enlist the help of their PA’s and roommates, who are not qualified to help them."
Hesse has also targeted the goal of making ASSP more education-focused.
Hesse and Cochran met with William Purcell, chair of faculty and associate professor of communication, and Gaile Moe, faculty adviser and associate professor of Family and Consumer Sciences, to discuss a joint education issue they could collaborate on that would address the concerns of both faculty and students.
"[The ASSP officers] are currently engaged in a dialogue with faculty on academic issues," Purcell said. "They have followed through on that. They are very responsible."
This dialogue resulted in the decision to improve the advising process.
Hesse’s other goal in his campaign regarded his duty as leader of ASSP Senate.
"One of my biggest goals was to give my senators freedom to be senators … instead of rubber-stamping proposals given by a select group," Hesse said.
ASSP Senators said they have been appreciative of Hesse’s innovative attitude towards running Senate.
"Gavin Hesse has done a beautiful job of running Senate," Sullivan said. "I put my utmost faith in [the ASSP’s] ability to do their job and their ability to run Senate."
In his platform Hesse stated that students need to be better informed on what ASSP is discussing.
Students commented that they have mixed feelings about how well ASSP officers keep them informed of what is happening with issues concerning them.
"My thing about ASSP is that they’re not accountable to anyone else. People have tried to get printouts of ASSP spending, and it’s impossible," senior Ryan Nash said. "It’s as much the students’ fault for not being involved (in seeking information) as it is the officers’."
"ASSP has done a fairly good job maintaining a strong student government structure, voicing the concerns of the student body and keeping the administration accountable on its relationship with ASSP," Ashton Hall Senator James Pedrick said.
Vice President of Campus Activities
Vice President of Campus Activities Melissa Shults is eager to empower students.
This objective, along with planning quality events and encouraging clubs and programs to spend money wisely made up Shults’ campaign platform.
Since she came into office, Shults has been working closely with the Student Union Board (STUB) to improve events on campus.
She said that she encourages the communication of the 26 clubs on campus, hoping to ensure that events are not planned simultaneously or in competition with one another.
"Student Union Board has been great this year. It’s been really fun to give them ideas and train them on planning events," Shults said. "I’m really proud of the events STUB has planned this year. They have been events students like and want to come to."
Some events planned by STUB include the Date Auction, Tradition and the Tailgate Party.
Shults has also been focusing on improving the financial aspect of student activities.
After coming into office, she cut $100 from almost every budget. She said she did this to encourage creativity from event planners and to ensure that money is being sent wisely, since it comes from every student on campus.
"We’ve been under budget in everything we are doing, and I’m really happy about that," Shults said.
As far as her objective of empowering students, Shults believed this would be a result of her first two objectives of quality activities and improved fund allocation.
"I think we’ve [ASSP] done an amazing job," Shults said. "We set common goals that we’ve all incorporated into our particular roles. We all work well together."
Students appreciate Shults’ effort to keep them up to date on campus events.
"[ASSP] tries to keep everyone involved and tied into the ideal student life," freshman Hayley Gabelein said. "[ASSP sponsered activities] help you to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet."
Vice President of Campus Ministries
Vice President of Campus Ministries Tony Martin said he has been incorporating service in his leadership and is working on several strategies to improve the ministry goals on campus.
Martin laid out these strategies during his campaign for office including the ideas of ministry as a lifestyle and leadership as a service.
One of the ways he is promoting ministry as a lifestyle is in the relationships he has with the student coordinators of Campus Ministry programs, according to Martin.
"I’m there to see that they’re doing their jobs through accountability," Martin said. "I try my best to keep in conversations with these people that encourage them to not only think of the programs they plan or specific jobs they do [but to be] open to being used by God for His Kingdom."
The six student coordinators were hired by Martin and do a lot of work behind the scenes with each ministry, according to Martin.
Leadership as a service is a concept that Martin set as a goal during his campaign for office.
"To me, one of the most effective and important tools for serving is constant prayer for those I lead," Martin said.
Martin’s job is also to evaluate the significance of CFE activities to make sure they are meeting student needs.
This quarter he plans on forming a CFE committee of students to help him evaluate the needs on campus.
"Tony seems like a very nice guy. I like the way that CFE is run better now [that he is in office]," senior Joshua Tucker said.
ASSP Vice President of Finance
ASSP Vice President of Finance Nate Miller said during his election in April 2001 that he wanted to make sure that ASSP was spending money according to its goals. Also, he said he wanted to develop student awareness of ASSP’s financial matters.
"The Senate has been good stewards and spend money appropriately," Miller said. "ASSP has spread the money fairly evenly over several areas including ministries, media and clubs."
Miller said that his plans for increasing student awareness about ASSP financial matters are currently in progress.
"Gavin and I are working on a project right now that will happen in February," Miller said. "Primarily, we are going to write a report with pie charts explaining how the students’ money is spent. This should really develop student awareness, and I’m excited about it."
Miller said that his expectations for the position in ASSP have been met.
"This position is very demanding and has been quite difficult. Yet it has been fun and I have learned a lot," Miller said. "Perhaps the best things have been the interactions with people and the chance to represent the students."
Although opinions of individual performance of ASSP officers appeared positive, mixed sentiments were expressed in regards to the officers’ performance as a whole.
Some students felt the ASSP needs to be more open about information that should be public knowledge.
"I think there are some serious issues that should be looked at," junior Christopher Combs said in reference to ASSP senate’s decision to go into executive sessions. "If they’re going against the Constitution, that’s something to be considered."
In the Jan. 16 edition of The Falcon, it was reported that ASSP senate had gone into two consecutive executive sessions, which are meetings that are not opened to the public.
Other students have been appreciative of the officers’ efforts to keep people involved and informed.
"Things are being run really well," junior Jessica Phay said. "I’m a transfer, and [student government] seems to be a lot more involved here than at most colleges, as far as planning activities and keeping students connected."
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Title: ASSP officer core assessed | Author: Jade Nirvana Ingmire | Section: News | Published Date: 2002-01-30 | Internal ID: 2424