State of the WUnion

WSGA Vice President, Malcolm Mikkelson, prepares for the upcoming WSGA meeting.

Chadd Clubine

A new year is amongst us, which means that the Washburn Student Government Association is getting things prepped for the new year for the university.

Blake Porter, president of WSGA, and Malcolm Mikkelson, vice president of WSGA, got the organization together for a meeting on Jan. 18 to discuss future plans of where they would like to be at by the end of the year, as for the progress that has been made so far.

Located on the downstairs floor of Memorial Union, the WSGA staff gets together on a monthly basis to discuss where they are now, what tasks need to be accomplished and to set goals.

Porter gave a rundown on WSGA’s agenda to eliminate sexual assault on the Washburn campus.

“In the coming year, my administration and all of WSGA will be tackling new issues as well as continuing to build on some of our progress from last semester,” Porter said. “One of the first orders of business that we conducted last spring was creating the sexual assault [task] force, which was aimed to help prevent sexual assault. The task force has worked diligently, and WSGA will hear their recommendations at our first meeting back of the spring semester.”

Porter continued on with explaining how they will be seeking ideas and thoughts for the students to bring to their organization.

“At these forums titled ‘Big Block of Cheese Day,’ which was borrowed from ‘The West Wing,’ we provide pizza to students in an effort to hear their concerns and ideas for Washburn. We have been able to gather useful information about the concerns of students, and we hope that this line of communication will remain open.”

For any students interested in volunteering with the campus or need volunteer hours for the spring semester, WSGA is putting on one of its biggest events, called The Big Event. The Big Event is focused on helping the entire community of Topeka as a whole. All students who are interested in this event and would like to sign up will be given an opportunity to one of various locations of Topeka to help out the city through putting in their part of service.

During last year’s WSGA election run, three president/vice president tickets were cast. This year, Porter hopes to exceed that number.

“We are not only hoping to exceed our previous year’s total of three president/vice president tickets, but we also are pushing to have a record number of senators run.”

By the end of all the voting, Porter hopes to have the largest voting turnout that Washburn has ever experienced.

WSGA is seeking help and advice from fellow students over a new policy that they would like to represent to the Washburn administration. This policy will focus on smoking on campus that will be at the best preference for everyone on campus. With more help, the WSGA hopes to have a draft policy by the end of the semester to present to administration.

The other policy that WSGA hopes to take action on is the matter of diversity on campus. Porter stated his hopes and thoughts on the policy.

“At the end of last semester, WSGA along with several other departments hosted an event called ‘Courageous Conversations’ where students, faculty and staff gathered to have a candid discussion about the climate of diversity on our campus,” Porter said. “Many concerns were voiced and we are meeting again on Feb. 2 at 7:30 am in the [Bradbury Thompson Center] to create an actionable plan to address the concerns that were brought up.”

WSGA hopes for a huge outcome of participating students this semester in order to get the university involved more than ever before. In the meantime, students, faculty and staff are more than welcome to come to WSGA for any thoughts and suggestions.