Zawdie Stephens-Terry was only elected two weeks ago, but he’s already started preparing for his position as president of the Associated Student Government for next year.
“There’s a lot,” Stephens-Terry admits, when it comes to his priorities for what the ASG will be focusing on next year. Stephens-Terry speaks passionately about advocating for student rights in Olympia to not only help lower the cost of tuition, but to make sure every student has an equal opportunity for an education. “I plan on making sure we have more representations at our Washington Student Association meetings,” he says. “We are the only ‘community college’ as far as they’re concerned there. It’s mostly universities that are on that board.”
He also wants to bring a more diverse group of students to the Capitol because, “If we have representation from everyone on campus it shows that it’s not just a few people who are thinking about this or care about this. It’s everyone. And that really is the direct connection is being there and talking.”
In fact, all of Stephens-Terry’s plans center on uniting students on and off campus. Throughout his campaign, Stephens-Terry found a disappointing lack of engagement in the election process, and he wants to amend that. “I want students to feel like they have a say in what goes on [around] campus,” he explains. “I feel like there’s definitely a divide between the ASG and the general student body and that’s a problem since we are the Associated Student Government. We’re supposed to represent the people and they don’t know what’s going on. So definitely we’re going to create those bridges.”
Specifically, Stephens-Terry, along with several other members of the newly elected ASG, wants to create student forums where students can join the discussion about the issues facing BC’s campus. By “taking the policies and giving them to students”, Stephens-Terry hopes to increase involvement, as well as creating a tighter campus community.
Stephens-Terry has already started bringing programs together; he founded the Student Programs Association, where representatives from the different Student Programs can meet once a week to learn how to better support each other. He decided to start the SPA after realizing that many of the directors of the different Student Programs face the same issues. “If you have different groups of people who are facing the same issues and working towards the same goal, that’s the perfect time to implement teamwork. That’s when it makes sense to work together to accomplish the goals and eradicate any problems that you have.”
Looking forward, Stephens-Terry hopes to preserve the hardworking atmosphere of the current ASG. “They’re staying true to the mission of ASG,” he says. “Each member of ASG right now is still very passionate about what they do, and [are] good at what they do. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things that we just don’t see.”
Overall, Stephens-Terry wants to inspire students to get involved on campus to improve their college experience. “You have a say, so say something,” he urges in closing.