Feature: ASuop’s Next President and Vice President’s Talk Plans for Pacific
By: Jane Hwang
The results for the 2021-2022 ASuop elections are in, and Scout Cooper-Wilson and Tierra Smithson have been elected as president and vice president, respectively. Cooper-Wilson, Economics and Critical and Culture Studies, ‘22, and Smithson, Political Science, ‘22, have a plethora of ideas with which to benefit the Pacific and Stockton communities. The duo’s campaign highlighted the significance of financial transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, as well as a symbiotic relationship between Pacific and the Stockton community.
Both Cooper-Wilson and Smithson are advocating for financial transparency for students so they can see how their tuition is being utilized.
During the past year, the current ASuop administration has attempted to release and publicize the ASuop budget. However, after some calculations and realizations, they weren’t certain if releasing the information would be a good idea. Cooper-Wilson and Smithson have since promised to amend the budget and release it after they had come up with a solid plan.
“We realized that not as much money was going into the students as we wanted,” said Cooper-Wilson. “Because we didn’t feel proud of the budget, we decided to wait until we can change where some of the money is going to release it and come up with more ideas.”
The soon to be president and vice president plan on also working with the Department of DEI. They want to create an ASuop committee that will help the DEI director and coordinator back up other on-campus organizations with a similar mission.
The two also mentioned bridging the gap between students, administration, and the Board of Regents by developing more spaces for communication between President Callahan and the student body.
Cooper-Wilson and Smithson also are determined to establish a rapport between the Pacfic and Stockton community. They want to change the negative perceptions surrounding Stockton by prompting students and faculty to participate in public service programs, and allowing Stockton communities to utilize some of ASuop's resources. They also want prospective Stockton students to understand that, despite the high tuition, Pacific is a place that isn’t far out of reach.
“It’s a two way street. We can help Stockton community and Pacific students but we can also help Pacific students be more involved,” Cooper-Wilson states.
Additionally, Cooper-Wilson and Smithson recognize that many Pacific students are not aware of the resources available to them that support their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. To combat this they want to increase awareness for these resources, so that students will not be as constantly dependent on faculty members for mental health support.
Cooper-Wilson and Smithson have also set their hearts on finding other ways to effectively reach out to all Pacific students and hosting engaging activities for those who want something to do on the weekends. Cooper-Wilson said that though Pacific+ and Instagram are great platforms for ASuop announcements, not all students check their emails or have Instagram. Smithson suggested that having a cabinet member speaking directly to students, publishing an ASuop newsletter, utilizing publication platforms and Tiger Broadcast, and being physically present on campus could all be solutions to this problem. They also want to create more surveys to receive students’ comments and input on various events and programs sponsored by ASuop.
“I don't want students to feel like they don’t have a place to go, a group, or a place where they feel comfortable. So at the end of the year, if we can help one more person find a community or group or something that they’re interested in, I would be very happy,” Smithson said.
Though Cooper-Wilson and Smithson want to tackle more issues at Pacific, they both realize that there are many limitations and budget constraints that might hold them back. They also acknowledge it is more essential to prioritize the feasible needs of students than focus on fixing every small detail, but they aim to accommodate most of Pacific’s needs to the best of their abilities. By the end of their presidency and vice presidency, Cooper-Wilson and Smithson hope to leave students more confident in ASuop and themselves.