EVP Candidate: Remi Omodara

Major: Journalism and marketing
Year: Junior

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

So both semesters, I’ll be taking 15-16 credits. Fall semester, I’ll be a TA for Theories of Human Communication and hopefully I’ll be the executive vice president.

Why are you running for this ASWU position?

I think that through the years, I’ve seen that ASWU has a lot of power but a lot of people don’t really care. I think it’s cliché to say ‘promote awareness,’ but I think at the end of the day it comes down to awareness and I think it comes down to people recognizing that ASWU has a lot of resources and holds a lot of power and that’s something they should be interested in. Because I’ve seen that disconnect between students in ASWU , and I have a lot of perspective being in different groups on campus and being in the Whitworthian, I’d like to promote more awareness about ASWU. I’d also like to provide a fresh perspective because I see the same kind of people elected into office, and while that’s great and those people love Whitworth, I think it’s important for people to get another perspective as well.

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

I don’t think there is a greatest need, but I think one need that is very recognizable is the lack of understanding of different perspectives. I think that through that, a lot of things come from that. So like, hate crimes that take place on campus, that’s a lack of understanding of perspective or of who someone is. I think a lack of understanding of other people’s perspectives encapsulates a lot of the needs on campus, that’s where a lot of them stem from.

I think that we tend to hold events that are the same types of events and we think we know the needs of those students and are meeting those needs, but honestly I think people are tired of hearing those things. I think there needs to be fresh and creative ways to get people to think about things. So, Marisol Rosado, the cultural events coordinator this year, hosted an interactive event surrounding diversity, which is a buzz word on campus and a lot of people are tired of hearing about diversity, but because it was interactive, and it wasn’t like ‘this is what you should know, these are the facts.’ It allowed people to grapple with important information and kind of relay their perspectives. People don’t want to be talked to, they want to be talked with. I think that more events that can do that would be more beneficial for the campus.

What are your feelings about transparency in ASWU?

I think that’s something that comes up a lot, especially with recent events with Dick Mandeville, and some things that happened there. I think that honestly a lot of people say “Oh yeah, we’re promoting transparency,” but a lot of people don’t know what transparency is or don’t know how it can be carried out in a body or the role that it plays and the weight that it holds. Coming from the Whitworthian, where our mission statement involves transparency, I think that that gives me perspective and insight because I know what transparency looks like and I know how it plays out and I know how important it is on a campus. I think there is a lot of room for growth for ASWU in the realm of transparency.

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

I think that I touched on the first one. The first one would be awareness, a lot of people use that. to me, a lot of people use it in a cliché manner, but at the end of the day I think it is the foundation which other things can be built. Once people know what ASWU is and what it can do for people, I think that that will translate into a lot of good. I actually have a lot of ideas how that could be manifested. One is through an event at beginning of year that allows people to interact with ASWU members and discuss hopes for the year, just to put ASWU in front of people. I’ve been talking to a lot of people who don’t even know who the executives are. If we say that ASWU is an accurate and faithful representation of the student voice, then there’s a disconnect if there are a lot of people who don’t know who they are. Obviously, not everyone would come, but it would give people an opportunity to meet them and discuss hopes for the year and ask questions.

Second is increased interaction with students. a lot of times ASWU expects people to come to them, saying “Oh come to this meeting,” which is great and promotes transparency, but at the same time a lot of people aren’t willing to make that step, so I think there should be initiative on ASWU’s part to go out and meet students, instead of expecting students to come to them. I think that that could be manifested even through a simple way, asking a person in ASWU like coordinators and senators, “Hey go out and talk to five people this week, then next week come back and let’s talk about what people are talking about on campus.” Just so there’s more discussion about the changing needs of the community. Honestly, ASWU offers a campus climate survey once a semester, and I think that’s good because it allows them to see where students are in that point in time, but I think that needs to be changed because change is always taking place and needs are always shifting. You can’t always say “OK, now we know the needs of the campus,” so I think having people periodically talking to others out in the community could help foster more interaction with students to allow people to know ASWU more.

Third, I think there needs to be more collaboration. I’ve seen a lot of things in ASWU meetings where decisions are made or issues talked about that I don’t think a lot of students were brought into. I think there needs to be more student input behind the issues that ASWU chooses to focus on, even event ideas. I think we talk about a lack of attendance. I think if people were able to vote about the types of events or the types of issues that should be made into programs, then that could help because we could feel out the needs of the community and see what people want and what people would go to. Choosing an issue to target would need more collaboration and would need more student input instead of “We’re going to make this decision and it’s going to trickle down to you guys.”

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

One big weakness for me is that I’m a perfectionist. I know in this job there’s a lot to do, and not everything is bound to go your way. I think that that would definitely be something where I’d need to say, “OK I’ve given this my best effort, this isn’t going to go perfectly as planned, but that’s OK” and kind of relinquish that power.

Why should we vote for you rather than your opponent?

I think that I have a fresh perspective, especially coming from different groups on campus. I am a part of student life, but I’m also a part of the Whitworthian, and I have friends who don’t like Whitworth at all. I think that that’s important and that’s OK, because I don’t think they’re alone. The fact that I don’t just come from one place I think makes me a strong candidate because you need somebody that comes from different perspectives and can garner ideas from different groups on campus in order to faithfully represent the entire campus.

Also, my ability to look at smaller picture. People look at change on a big scale and think ‘this is what I’m going to do, this is this huge idea,’ but I think focusing on the smaller picture and knowing that it takes baby steps to get places or to even make small change. I think that that’s something I’m willing to do. I know that I might not have all the answers, and obviously there’s going to be a lot of room for growth and it takes baby steps to get places and being able to recognize that instead of looking at the full picture and wanting to do these crazy outstanding things all at once.

Is there anything else we need to know about you?

I think that the biggest thing for me is the collaboration piece. As a student, I’ve felt like my voice hasn’t been heard on campus, so I think that’s something that I think that would huge for me next year, if I were to be elected. That’s what’s at the top of my priority list right now.

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