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Q and A with ASWSU President Adam Crouch
Meet Adam Crouch, a senior working on a double-major in Marketing and Management. Rather than graduate last spring, Crouch opted for a fifth year at WSU and took on the ultimate multi-tasking job of ASWSU President on May 9.
In the following interview, he talks about how he got involved with ASWSU, his top priorities for the year, and how you can, and should, get involved.
Where are you from? Why did you decide to attend WSU?
I’m from Bellevue, the West side, both my parents went to UW. I wanted to get away from home and get the real college town experience. I came here for visitation and loved the community aspect of WSU.
When and why did you first get involved with ASWSU?
I actually didn’t get involved in ASWSU until my senior year (2014-15). I was really involved in the Greek community. I was a proud member of Phi Kappa Tau, I was on the executive board for four semesters, I was a co-chair of Greek Week, I was Interfraternity Council President last year, so I’ve done a lot with that. I was friends with Taylor Hennessey and I was an orientation counselor with Jared Powell (the past two ASWSU Presidents). I talked to Taylor and asked him, ‘Hey, what do you think the time commitment would be to be (an ASWSU) senator?’ He said it was only a couple of hours a week, so I did that and it really opened my eyes. I had worked with ASWSU, but I realized there are a lot of things that ASWSU does and bringing an average student’s perspective to that could hopefully improve it.
I’ve been really grateful for all the opportunities I’ve received, and other student leaders mentoring me and making sure I was on track and got my schoolwork done. I’ve been able to do leadership training and personal development and different things. I think I’m also doing it to give back. I didn’t need to stay. I could have graduated in May, but I just wanted to try and make WSU the best that it can be for undergraduate students through extracurricular, outside-the-classroom things, and even inside the classroom.
What are your top priorities for your time in office?
My biggest thing is to improve the transparency of what ASWSU does, and where our funds go. ASWSU as a whole gets around $813,000 from the services and activities fees allocation. We want to show students, ‘Here is what we’re actually supporting. Just because you can’t always see it, doesn’t mean we aren’t doing some really cool things for you all.’ It’s just giving students a better sense of where their money’s going.
Also, just improving the voice. That’s what (Vice President) Kyle Geiger and I ran on—it’s time to revolutionize the student voice. To me, that’s providing more input opportunities and hearing what any student’s perspective on what we should be doing. Just because Kyle and I are in these positions, doesn’t mean we know what’s best. If we’re going to call ourselves representatives, then we need to hear from those that we represent.
We can’t meet with 16,000 people or we’re not going to be able to do anything, so by updating our website, adding new areas where students can write us questions, and improving ASWSU opportunities for your average student who wants to volunteer a couple of hours a week, a month, a semester, they can still have their voices heard.
Cougar Choice Housing is going to be big this year as we try to improve the landlord-tenant situations for all the students living off-campus. We’ll do the 30 Days of Pullman with all the local businesses, Restaurant Week and other things that we’ve been doing.
We have some ideas we’re excited about, but I think there are going to be some really cool ideas that come from giving students a chance to have input.
What are the most challenging aspects of being ASWSU President?
I would say the biggest obstacle is having so much to do, yet so little time. If I was to really get everything done that I wanted to get done, it would take more than a year. There are a lot of meetings, a lot of emails—way more emails than I would have ever guessed—but it’s been a learning experience. Not our entire staff is here during the summer, so it’s going to be a transition as we go from working with about five people here over the summer to over 40—that will definitely be nice.
What are some important things students should know as the fall semester begins?
One of the biggest things is, students should know about all the different resources that the University provides and the avenues to get to those resources. Orientation counselors cover it at ALIVE, but there is so much information thrown at you in 2 or 3 days that it’s almost impossible to retain it all.
But my biggest recommendation is to get involved in something. Once you get involved, you have that aspect of peer mentorship that is so important. You also get to know your University and the more you know, the more you can find out where you’d be effective.
At the end of the day, everyone graduates with a degree, but what gets you the job is not, ‘Hey, I have a degree.’ In an interview, you don’t talk about that piece of paper, you talk about all the things you did outside the classroom and that’s what sets Cougs above a lot of other institutions.
What are you most looking forward to in 2015-16?
Really looking forward to hearing from students, and seeing students have their input actually translated into action. Really looking forward to being the biggest student advocates we can. The past presidents have been involved in ASWSU throughout their tenures, but Kyle and I really haven’t, so we’re definitely bringing a different aspect. Neither of us are even political science majors, so we’re bringing something different. We’re the figureheads of the organization, but students should know that they’re the drivers of it. We’re here to listen to them.
How can students get involved with ASWSU?
The first step is to come up to the office in CUB 314, or go onto ASWSU.wsu.edu, follow us on social media—that’s where we put out all our applications for everything. This year we introduced our executive council, which is our giant group of volunteers for students who want to take the first step into the organization and see what it’s all about, if it’s something they’d be interested in. It’s volunteering, so if you don’t have time this week, we get it. But it’s a cool opportunity for students to get involved in different events, meet with administrators, whatever it may be.
Also, don’t be afraid to come up and just talk to us. We’re just students and we love talking to students. You don’t have to send us formal emails. I think increasing the brand awareness of ASWSU, and letting students know we’re their advocates.