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ASEWU has been a part of our institution for over 150 years, and it seems like student involvement since then has seriously declined. Students these days either don’t have the time, aren’t willing to participate or they don’t have adequate access to the government that is meant to reflect their voices.
We asked seven random students on campus about their knowledge of ASEWU and several students responded saying that they had no knowledge of ASEWU functions. They also said they had no way of being able to participate because they hadn’t seen any advertising or outreach that they noticed advocating for ASEWU sponsored events.
“To an extent yes, I occasionally get asked to participate, but I rarely see advertising for ASEWU,” EWU senior Shawn Peterson said.
Those who do express having knowledge of ASEWU stated that their knowledge about ASEWU stemmed from having some sort of direct connection to the organization, either through friends or acquaintances.
“Yes I do. I have a sorority sister in ASEWU, so we always know what’s going on,” EWU sophomore Cassady Reeves said.
This year ASEWU is working to increase the amount of student involvement for their functions, including increasing students attendance at council meetings and work sessions as well as getting students to come to their table for more than a free t-shirt.
Some of the ways they are implementing this project are by streaming live feeds of their council and work session meetings on Facebook, moving their council meetings to a more high traffic area of campus – you may have come across a meeting on your treks through the library – as well as increasing their social media presence, Christopher Ryckman, ASEWU public relations specialist, said.
“I feel like [student involvement] this year is increasing, but I still feel like students don’t know as much [as we’d like] about ASEWU,” said Ryckman. “One of our main goals this year is to get students involved … We are the voice of the student body, the middle man, the liaison between students and the higher ups.”
Ryckman said one of their big projects this year is advocating for a remodel or rebuild of the Science Building, stating that this year is a budget year – meaning a decision will be made – and the ASEWU legislative liaison is currently in Olympia working to get funding approved.
So why should students take time out of their daily schedules to get involved in student government?
The easy answer is that being involved is the most effective way to have your voice heard, but in this day and age, with social media having such a strong presence in our day to day lives, having our voices heard isn’t the most miraculous feat of the day. For some, it would honestly be more of a struggle not to post.
The point is, having your voice be heard is easy to do but getting involved in student government, getting involved in any form of government, gives you the opportunity to work to truly promote change. Sure, you can toss your voice into the endless void that is the internet or you can choose to work with a group that is solely focused on making a change, that benefits students, that backs your beliefs and gives you a legitimate platform on which to spread your ideas.
Most everyone on this campus is of legal voting age and even if you are not, you are still eligible to vote on the issues that are presented in ASEWU council meetings. So why would you not take advantage of the opportunity you have been given?
Sure, you can expect to be here at EWU for four years, which doesn’t seem like a significant chunk of time in the long run, but you are paying thousands of dollars to have a college experience, so why not work with others to ensure that you are getting the most out of what little time you are given here.
Trust us, turn off the television, click that little red x in the corner of the screen, pull yourself away from binge-watching Netflix and take an hour to get involved in the work that is being done right outside your door.
Heck, if you can afford an hour of Game of Thrones, you can afford an hour to attend a meeting that is meant to promote your ideas.
Last year, ASEWU only had 8.377 percent of students vote in their election, around 1,097 out of the total 13,095 eligible voters at EWU, according to the ASEWU website. A sad, sad number really.
EWU is our place. It’s our home, our classroom, our life for the time being. ASEWU is our voice to the people who make the decisions. When we stop caring about them, we lose the ability to make the changes that matter to us.
See the related Easterner Asks here.