ASEWU Amplifying Student Voices
Last spring, the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University (ASEWU) deployed persistence, free donuts and QR code voting to boost turnout and secure passage of a constitutional amendment that allows for the expansion of representatives.
The organization is now in the process of adding four senators-at-large to its slate of student representatives. The move, says ASEWU leaders, will improve diversity and amplify student voices.
The outreach to student voters, spearheaded by ASEWU’s Regan Schumacher and Remington Steelman, resulted in election turnout of 12%. That was 2% more than the voter participation required to amend the ASEWU constitution.
“It was a significant election both because we were able to pass that amendment and because the turnout was actually greater than all of our previous elections going all the way back to 2014,” says Gabriel Blackwell, advisor to ASEWU.
“Having the QR code was a game-changer,” adds Iman Munawar, 22, a senior majoring in political science, pre-law and international affairs who serves as the organization’s executive vice president.
The ASEWU, which includes an executive, legislative and judicial branch, provides an informed, unified voice that advocates for student-centered policies and services.
“Most of the senators are actively soliciting student concerns, and feedback from students and then bringing it back to the organization,” says Blackwell.
When hired, the four new senators will be paid to work three or more hours a week. The organization is also recruiting volunteers to serve on committees.
“The new ASEWU senate model is designed to include more students, more voices, and remain flexible overtime,” says Lucas Fyre, ASEWU’s president. Fyre says EWU is unique because there are so many opportunities for students to become leaders. Thanks to the hard work of ASEWU representatives, and those who voted for change, student voices will be amplified.
“We are directly increasing our ability to gather student concerns through outreach but also through representation of the different areas, specialties, and experiences of campus life,” Fyre says.
Steelman, ASEWU Superior Court chief justice, says the amendment opens the door to greater diversity.
Historically, political science majors who plan to go into law make up a majority of ASEWU representatives — a group that doesn’t always reflect the makeup of the student body it serves, says Steelman, 22, a political science major who is serving a fourth year on ASEWU.
“We don’t have a lot of people who are from STEM majors, or the education or social work departments,” says Steelman. “So, there are a lot of departments that we don’t hear from, or are not represented.”
Steelman says this first year will be a test to determine best practices: “I think that just by having more people we’re going to hear more input, which will then give student government a platform to say, ‘This is what we need to do.’”
More opportunities will open the door to more voices, continues Munawar, adding, “I always think there is room for more people at the table.”
Here’s introducing the current ASEWU officers:
Lucas Fyre | President | Senior | Psychology
Iman Munawar | Executive Vice President | Senior | Political Science
Logan Hamilton | Finance Vice President | Master of Public Administration | Graduate student
Elizabeth Humberstad |Senator for Academic Affairs | Junior | Education
Wade Romine | Senator for Athletic Affairs and University Advancement | Sophomore | Nursing
Taylor Anumodu | Senator for Diversity Outreach | Senior | Health Science
Devyn Britton | Senator for Student Activities | Sophomore | Undeclared | Sophomore
Ava Rea | Senator for Student Health and Safety Services | Senior | Political Science
Rachel Hudak | Senator for Technology and International Advancement | Sophomore |Computer Science
Remington Steelman | ASEWU Superior Court Chief Justice | Senior | English
Leah Syverson | ASEWU Superior Court Associate Justice | Senior | Political Science
War Bear | ASEWU Superior Court Associate Justice | Senior | Exercise Science
Regan Schumacher | ASEWU Superior Court Associate Justice | Senior | Business