The Student Leadership Conference of the Washington Community and Technical Student Association, or WACTCSA, was held Sept. 7 through Sept. 9 in Olympia, Washington. WACTCSA is “a student run, student led association, serving as the voice of the students in matters of statewide concern,” according to Article III of the WACTCSA constitution. The officers communicate with community and technical colleges in order to be able to represent them properly. During this conference, student leaders of community and technical colleges attended education sessions teaching them leadership, marketing and motivational skills. Additionally, elections were held for officer positions while the leadership of WACTCSA went through a slight restructuring. “What we’re all about is getting our students’ voices heard,” said Eric Pattison, newly elected president of WACTCSA and BC student.
The restructuring of the leadership of this association had to do with the regions the Washington community and technical colleges were split into. Up until the end of the conference, the colleges were split up into eight different regions with one regional representative per region receiving comments, complaints and questions from the leadership and students of colleges in their region as well as communicating with them about issues in government concerning the colleges and their students. After the conference, however, the bylaws of WACTCSA show the colleges split into four different regions. Bellevue College is in the Central West Region along with eight other colleges.
Despite the regions being larger, Pattison stated that the colleges will not get less attention than before. He said that WACTCSA would actually be able to focus more on individual colleges as the regional representatives will each report to a deputy assigned to them. “It’ll make it a little more efficient,” said Pattison. He then added that regional representatives are going to be available at “all hours if possible.” This, according to him, will be a major improvement from last year when their productive communications involved a college or regional representative asking “Hey, do you want to meet next month at a Starbucks for ten minutes?” Now that regional representatives will be available over the phone and through email, more students and student leaders will be able to contact WACTCSA.
“We’re getting organized on our end,” said Pattison.
The regional representatives and deputies will report to an Executive Committee at meetings, according to Article III of the bylaws of WACTCSA, with one vote per region regarding matters that affect the colleges in each region that WACTCSA can do something about. Pattison stated that this year’s meetings will be more efficient because “a smaller Board of Directors will make it easier for everyone to contribute.” Pattison is part of the Executive Committee and chairs WACTCSA meetings. He also plays a part in teaming up with other student associations. “You could effectively say that I’m the facilitator for the board of directors,” said Pattison.
The issues WACTCSA handles are ones that students have and the students are what really matter, according to Pattison. “At the end of the day these colleges are just representatives on another level to their students,” he said. Additionally, an issue brought before the Board of Directors cannot be turned down. According to Pattison, The board has to deliberate it. “We want to hear from the students,” he said.
Pattison said that he enjoys his job, however little a time he’s been in the position of president. “I like working at WACTCSA with student leaders who are very productive, very driven, very results-oriented,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to represent all these student voices.” He went on to state that the reason he sticks with this position is because he cares about student interests. “I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find an individual on the board who doesn’t feel the same way,” he added. “I encourage individuals to get involved and know that we are definitely on your side.”