By Isaac Price, Staff Writer
This fall Maleah Robles, ‘24, was elected as Neighborhoods representative. This position serves the student population residing in the “theme houses” owned by Whitworth, which were used as quarantine housing during COVID-19.
Why did you decide to run for your position?
I decided to run because I lived in the neighborhoods last year. l kind of had an insight beforehand on what goes on, what happens and the expectations… There was a bit of a disconnection between our community and campus, and I just kind of wanted to be that stepping stone because I understand how isolating it may feel [living in the Whitworth Neighborhoods], even though we’re only across the street from campus. Being a woman, I also saw how others, around me, felt like they were in danger from the outsiders that weren’t a part of Whitworth. So, I just want to be that steppingstone and try to put our struggles into place and amplify, not just my experiences, but the voices of other people.
What are some experiences that you’ve had on campus that shaped you and that you think are going to be good assets for this position?
Well, I’ve had a lot of struggles so far on campus. I feel like it’s been kind of hard for me to be more independent and put aside my personal interests to make sure that those around me feel represented. Something I don’t usually talk about… but I have a bit of a stutter that comes out every now and then, so I kind of stepped back my last few years from being in leadership. I feel like now I’m using those experiences to feel like yes, I may have a bit of a disability that doesn’t really put me at an advantage; but it matters to me that others feel represented and their voices are heard, so just kind of using that experience to motivate myself.
What were the experiences for you so far that are going to shape how you approach this position?
So the last two years, I’ve been really involved with the Catholic Fellowship Club on campus. We did kind of struggle with the structure last year, especially with COVID-19. I feel like we didn’t have as many members coming, and there was a bit of a disconnect. We really had to take it up on our own, fill up the leadership positions and kind of assume our roles in a very short amount of time. So, I feel like working under pressure, and like I mentioned, just trying to put my foot forward and taking those first steps even though I feel uncomfortable, is going to help me with this position. As well, making sure that I need to do the hard thing first and then continue on from there.
What are some new changes that you hope to implement through this position?
I’m very passionate about feeling safer on campus. As women, we’re more susceptible to the dangers in the world. And so I want there to be a better sense of unity, especially with the women on campus and on the neighborhoods. I also want it to be kind of co-ed, so it’s not just the women uniting specifically, but also having other genders coming together and creating more communication with each other to create a neighborhood watch… And I want the house events that go on to be more laid back so it’s not a drag, and for people to not have to worry about if it’s required or not. I do want there to be more involvement by reaching out and letting them [women] know I get it, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Is there anything you want your constituency and the student body to know about you personally as you go into this position?
I’m not super formal or professional. If anything, I feel like I’m more intimidated by other people. So, I feel like they shouldn’t have a problem coming up to me, or if there’s an issue that needs to be resolved, they shouldn’t have to hold back or anything because I don’t want to be seen as some authority figure. I definitely just want to be seen as another resident that’s living in the same neighborhood as them. I definitely do want there to be a good sense of communication.