Philippi appoints executive staff

Travis Perry

The Washburn Student Government Association has some fresh faces heading up student interests this year.

Newly elected president Whitney Philippi made her choices for her executive staff recently, and said she feels very confident in the people she has selected and in their abilities.

With Angel Romero, former WSGA administrative assistant and now chief of staff, the only remaining member of the Bowhay/Keller executive staff, Philippi thinks the fresh blood will be good to not only spark change and enthusiasm in the WSGA senate but to help them reconnect with students. She cited disconnect as the biggest weakness WSGA currently has.

“[Talking to students] is what being an executive staff member, or a senator, is all about,” said Philippi.

She added that one of the big concerns for this next school year is the need to reconnect with students and to work on clearing up the Washburn Transformational Experience.

Of the six appointments made, Philippi’s choice of budget director has sparked the most discussion. Kevin Nincehelser, a junior business administration major, has no prior experience in WSGA yet he has not let that stop him from fully integrating into his position.

Budget Director

Nincehelser said after he initially heard of executive staff openings for WSGA he was not going to apply. However, after finding out that previous budget director Josh Maples was not re-applying for the position he took at the beginning of the spring 2008 semester, he changed his mind.

“Dollars and cents make more sense to me,” said Nincehelser on his desire to take the position.

Already, Nincehelser has begun to tackle the issue of a strained WSGA budget and is finding ways to continue giving students the most for their money.

Nincehelser added that the Bowhay/Keller administration inherited a surplus of $53,000 from the preceding administration, and they added that money into their budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Nincehelser said because of the way in which money was spent during the Bowhay/Keller administration, the current Philippi/Billinger administration could start with no extra money or possibly even a deficit.

Chief of Staff

Other appointments made to executive staff included Angel Romero, chief of staff.

“Angel is one of the hardest working people I know,” said Philippi. “He’s one of the strongest leaders I know.”

Last year, Romero was responsible for coordinating the Can Emporia efforts, helped lead the Smoking Decision Committee, and also received acknowledgment as an outstanding Freshman Emerging Leader during the 2006-2007 school year.

Special Events Director

Charity Hockman, special events director, will serve as a voice for non-traditional students across campus as she works to coordinate such events as Finals Stress-Relief Week, said Philippi.

“She started working before she even got hired,” said Philippi of Hockman’s current work on coordinating Finals Stress-Relief Week.

Philippi said Hockman, a wife and mother, will be a valuable asset to WSGA as she will be able to keep the interests of non-traditional students in mind when planning events.

Public Relations Director

Erica Koepsel has been an active senator for the last two years, serving on the Smoking Decision Committee as well as the spirit committee. Described as very creative and talented in design work, Philippi is excited for the work that she will produce as an executive staff member. Koepsel will be responsible for promoting any events funded by or deemed important by WSGA.

Administrative Assistant

Dentin Chapman, a sophomore with one year of senatorial experience under his belt, is the appointment for Administrative Assistant, filling in where Romero left off. Touting him as overqualified for the position, Philippi said while Chapman will have some secretarial duties in the WSGA office that is not what she wants the position to become.


A senator since spring of 2007, Ashley Baker is Philippi’s choice for Parliamentarian, a position which requires in-depth knowledge of parliamentary procedure for conducting formal meetings as well as the WSGA constitution.