Executive Vice President candidate: Savanna Jenkins

Major: Music (pre-vet)
Year: Junior

Why are you running for this ASWU position?

I would love to be on leadership through ASWU because I’ve had experiences on leadership as  an RA, a student success coach, and I’ve been on leadership in ensembles, so I think my experience would benefit me in the position. Also I love being with people and I’m a huge extrovert and I enjoy having relational jobs and this would definitely be one of those. As EVP you’re meeting with senators and RDs. It’s a lot about communication. Communication classes have been some of my favorite classes I’ve taken at Whitworth. Also I would love to be challenged and stretched and to be a team player and mentor and friend and professional co-worker through this position. Lastly, I’m the only female executive candidate running, and I’d love to represent 60 percent of campus. We do have quite a large female population.

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

I’ll be finishing up my music major and pre-vet work. I won’t have an overloaded course load; it’ll be about medium. I’ll be in ensembles and I’ll be in jazz band and wind symphony. I’ll continue to be in those ensembles I’ve participated in, because that’s part of my major and I’m really passionate about it. One thing coming into this position that I was cautious about: I talked to one of my professors in the music department, and he cautioned me against stunning because he was afraid that times would conflict, but I talked to people and figured that out. So in terms of meetings and times it won’t be a problem.

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

I think that this position is more the humans resources side of ASWU, and so there’s a lot of communicative and relational aspects to the job, and a lot of behind the scenes communication. Through that, supporting the team in what we’ve decided as something we’d like to move forward in, whether it’s adding language to the [faculty handbook], like they’ve been doing this year. I’d really like to bring more clarity to the RD, senator and ASWU communication system and hold senators accountable to how they vote in ASWU meetings. That’s something I could work on in this position. Something that I’ve noticed through my experience in the music program is that there’s somewhat of a disconnect between ASWU and the music department. The academics and ASWU don’t really have and understanding or relationship. That would start by just continuing to involve myself in activities.

How would you assess your performance in other positions of leadership that you’ve had?

I loved being RA. I think as an RA, I had so much fun. That was like the highlight of my year, spending time with that group of women and also men in the Stewville community. I think I did well and brought energy to the team last year. I came in and brought fresh ideas and I was a new face. I loved getting to know people on the team and really cherished those relationships. I did well there. In leadership in ensembles, I’ve organized a bunch of different events for barbecues and social things geared toward having people get to know each other more and building relationships. That is beneficial

Why should we vote for you rather than your opponent?

I think you should vote for me rather than my opponent because—for one thing, I’m female, like I said before. Also, I have a lot of experience in a great deal of other places on campus like music and science. I have my feet in both areas. I’ve enjoyed continuing to get involved in those things and stretching myself by trying out for different activities. I love Whitworth, and Chase [Weholt] loves Whitworth too, but I want to bring a fun and engaging and relational dynamic to the team. I’m also involved in other things besides just school. My life isn’t just Whitworth; I’ve vaccinated buffalo before, and I’m interested in doing different things with helping out at Whit Pres and so I’ve really involved myself in the community of Spokane. I know a lot of places here since I grew up in Spokane. It would be wonderful for me to be in a leadership position at a university and give back to the Spokane community that has meant so much to me, and also give back to the Whitworth community that’s meant so much to me.

This position also is not so much of a vision-casting position, but more of a supportive position where you are working on communication in the team and making sure those aspects are going well and scheduling and such. It’s not so much the face of Whitworth or dealing with finances, the nitty-gritty. I’m really passionate about the behind-the-scenes work.

How do you plan on working with the rest of ASWU?

I think when your’e on a team, being respectful and making sure you know your job and do your job well is really important. Holding yourself accountable to being the best you can be in the position you’re given is so important. Getting to know the ins and outs of ASWU will be a new challenge for me, but it’s not a hurdle that’s impossible to overcome by any means, and I would fully intend to go the extra mile to make sure I’m comfortable with everything. Also as a team player, it’s important to value the relationships of the people that you’re on a team with and make sure you try to be friends. We’re all students here and we’re all in the same boat, and we’re just regular old people. I want to make sure we’re realistic about things as well, and you go out of your way to be a fun person and enjoyable and relatable.

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

One weakness of mine is that I haven’t been a senator before. The thing about that is there’s no real stair stepping from senator to EVP; that’s what people seem to view. There’s not an equivalent to that for FVP or for president. To me, I don’t think that titles matter at all. It’s more the willingness to learn and the attitude that you bring to the team and position that matters, and the determination and perseverance through challenges and the willingness to overcome and to compromise. That is something I wouldn’t have a problem overcoming.

In some ways, it’s a super positive thing that I haven’t been a part of ASWU before, because I’m a new face. I’ve been to ASWU meetings, so I’m familiar with the workings there. I haven’t had weekly meetings with the EVP, but I don’t think that’s something that is detrimental to the position for me.

Also, a new person coming into a new team will always have challenges getting to know people and understand how the dynamic functions. It’ll be different across the board with different RA and ASWU teams. We just need to be willing to learn and change and fail and try again, and keep a positive demeanor throughout the entire process.

Interview conducted by two members of The Whitworthian’s editorial board, editor-in-chief Katie Shaw and opinions editor Whitney Carter.

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