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The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

The Student News Site of Whitworth University

The Whitworthian

EVP Candidate: Eli Casteel

Major: Political Science
Year: Junior

What is your class load like for next year and what will your other responsibilities be?

It’ll be really light. I’ll be taking probably 12 to 15 credits, it’ll be enjoyable. I’ll be taking ‘my major’ stuff which I’m really excited about. Outside of that I’m involved in my church and that’s probably it. So on Sundays I’ll be a reader and stuff like that. Other than that, there is no other outside obligations that I have seen coming.

Why are you running for this ASWU position?

I’m running for this position because I want to support people and I want to make Whitworth a better place. Specifically, my skills are more set for the EVP position. Specifically, two of my strengths are communications and individualization. So, being EVP and regularly meeting with people in ASWU and supporting them and just being a structure for them to lean into and kind of help them become the best they can be in creating space for them to flourish. And that’s kind of what I want to do. Being a second-year RA, in some ways I’ve gotten the ability to learn how to do that on a team because you take on a little bit more of a leadership role in the team. I think the important part about that is I’ve actually learned how not to do it. At the beginning I was really someone that was like–well not that I knew how to do it, I really didn’t think I knew how to be a good RA in a lot of ways, but I knew what not to do and I was constantly force-feeding the newer RAs at the beginning. But I learned over time just listening and creating the space for my fellow RAs to input and collaborate. It was really a better way to help them flourish and to help make me a better RA. Because realistically, we all had good input. And I realize it’s not a direct transfer into the EVP position, but in a lot of ways those one on ones, those structural support of a team, I feel like could cross over.

What do you think is the greatest need of the student body? How do you propose to meet that need?

I think the greatest need in our student body is probably something that people don’t want to do.  I think Whitworth is a really comfortable place, in a lot of ways. I think a lot of us haven’t had to encounter uncomfortable things. Just realizing that we’ve all been really lucky to come to Whitworth, to be in this kind of a sheltered area. To make awareness. And I think we’re doing that, I think that’s why we do get so much negative feedback in some ways. With the diversity report, in a lot of ways, people said diversity was important but they couldn’t articulate why it was important. I think that kind of shows we’ve been in this sheltered bubble and we need to experience a little bit of what it’s like to be uncomfortable. I don’t know if that’s a direct ‘how do you make people feel uncomfortable?’ Because that’s not my direct goal, it’s not a goal in any sense. It’s just, I think people have a lack of awareness for sexual orientation, socio-economic diversity and just what diversity means in general and how that fits into what Whitworth is in a lot of ways.

When we look at our mission: To honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity, people really forget about that third one in a lot of ways. I think for some of the student body the first two we do very well, but the third one is kind of a trickier thing for us. And I think everyone is going to do it in their own way.

I do everything on a relational level, so one-on-one talking to people. So, we challenge each other hopefully. I’m not someone that’s going to try to thrust something upon someone–or I hope I’ve learned not to do that anymore. I don’t think I did that, but I don’t think that is a good way to go about things. When I think about something specific–I really like the Step 7 program. I think that’s really good, especially when they make you go through the scenarios and how you really understand more and can sympathize. I’m not going to make people do that, but I’ll just tell people if they’re interested that’s where they should go–I’ll direct people.

What it (Step 7) attempts to do is to put people in situations of what it feels like to feel systems of privileges–that they’ve been experiencing but to finally be in the minority.

What does the EVP do?

The EVP is one of the cogs in the machine of ASWU that just keeps it going in a lot of ways. They’re kind of behind the scenes. They’re not the vision caster, they’re not the person that’s like ‘we need to go out and do this.’ They’re someone that individually supports structure amongst everyone and kind of (is part) of the engine that keeps everyone moving. And what that looks like is, once every two weeks maybe meeting with senators, once a month meeting with coordinators, sitting on different committees like elections committee, on media committee and on an exec committee of some kind with trustees. And they’re just someone that’s out to keep things going. Consistent follow up, consistent checking in, and someone you can rely on to take on random tasks and kind of get them done. Because things are going to pop up, and I see that as the EVP’s role in a lot of ways, is they’re going to take a lot of these random pop-up things and direct them to the proper place they need to be or look at it and be like ‘OK, we don’t have a place for this, I’m going to have to take this on and get it done.’

What three things do you specifically want to have accomplished by the end of the first semester if you are elected?

That’s something I’d like to ask the senators and coordinators. I’d like to see what they would like to accomplish in the first semester. I think it’s more along the lines–what I’d like to see accomplished is I’d like to build relationships with people in ASWU so people feel like they can trust me and I’ve shown a sense of reliability that I get stuff done. I would also like to set tangible targets for people that they want to do in their communities and how I can help them support their dorms in a lot of ways or their off-campus community or their coordinating position. (I want to) be known, be reliable and help them set tangible targets.

(One tangible example is) with elections committee, I would overhaul how we do elections. Not me, individually, in a lot of ways I would ask how can we do elections better. Because realistically we don’t do them in a very good way. A little bit of that is biased because I come from a political science background and when I look at our elections–we could just do it so much better. That’s kind of my MO, I’m about keeping what’s good, cutting out what’s bad and stealing what’s great. We can do that with elections in a much better way. I definitely don’t have all the answers but I definitely can help start that conversation, provide input and make it a lot better of a process and one that isn’t as stressful and not fun for candidates. And also something that the community might want to engage in more, because we actually don’t have a great turnout for voting, realistically. It basically resembles the national amount and I feel like Whitworth is a place that people usually want to engage in and care about, so it’s kind of a weird misnomer that we’re not getting a larger amount of voters.

What are your weaknesses in terms of the position you’re running for?

I’m not the best phone communicator in a lot of ways. If someone is trying to get ahold of me through my phone I’m not that good at that. In a lot of ways I feel like I need to be someone that’s well organized, someone you can get ahold of from time to time. And in that time to time with my phone I’m not very good at. I’ve really worked on that in the past month or so, and semester when I got a new smartphone. It has made life a lot better, I respond to emails about 20 times quicker, I’m way better at texting and stuff like that. So, my electronic communications is probably a little bit of a weaker area. I respond–my emails I respond pretty well. And I think that is an important thing for the EVP because they need to be able to be organized, communicate with other people, and be on time with it.

Another one of my weaknesses is sometimes I like to just think about ideas in a lot of ways and I get caught up in them and I don’t necessarily follow through with them. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing in this position because I get caught up in them and I don’t necessarily follow through with them. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing in this position because I would love to just talk about ideas with a senator and or a coordinator and just spark conversation. I might not be the one that necessarily has to instigate it and get it going, but if it’s an idea from them I’d love to just talk about it I and I’d love to just hand over the reigns and create space for them.

Is there anything else we need to know about you to make this decision?

I have a passion for Whitworth. I’ve sat on the budget committee, the finance committee for two years, the elections committee in the fall. And those are all positions that I didn’t need to take. I’ve also been an RA for two years, I’m also been an alumni ambassador. I was an alumni ambassador last summer and I’m going to be one again this summer. It’s a place I care about a lot and I feel like I have a lot to offer to it. I think the EVP position might be the best position for me to be in to offer. In a lot of ways I’m someone who wants to create space for people to grow and I see the EVP as the best position for me next year when I look at all the positions. Not coming back as a third-year RA, not moving into an SGC position, or a CDA. (I want to be) going to ASWU and helping other leaders become better leaders and them helping me become a better leader.

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EVP Candidate: Eli Casteel