Functioning in a pandemic

Westmont’s WCSA continues to push for productive change in the midst of a chaotic first semester

Hans Khoe, Staff Writer

Amid the pandemic, racial tensions and general chaos of the year, the Westmont College Student Association (WCSA) has continued working to make campus life more accessible to students. As Westmont’s student government, they stand as the liaison between the Executive Team and the student body. Comprising a variety of students, WCSA is led by President Noah Good and Vice President Hannah Grierson. 

For President Good, the former Van Kampen Senator, the team is familiar. “I am most excited for the chance to work with my amazing team of leaders as we guide the student body toward justice and community.”

For Grierson, her election to Vice President as her first WCSA seat has been an exciting process. “I’m so excited to be a part of WCSA this year. I firmly believe that WCSA plays a crucial role in representing this student body and I am hopeful for the progress that our campus community will achieve this year, even in such different circumstances.” 

WCSA’s 2020-21 vision is centered around the themes of action, collaboration, and transparency. According to Grierson, “We are striving to fulfill our mission of representing this campus in a way that is empathetic, accountable, and builds a foundation of trust between all parts of Westmont.” This will be achieved through several actions — “We’ve been redesigning our ‘Take a Professor to lunch’ program to include both virtual and socially distanced options. We’ve also been planning for an upcoming Conversations that Matter series on the racial climate in both the US and at Westmont, of which the first event will be on Oct. 14th.”

Continuing Conversations that Matter

Diversity & Inclusion Senator Michael Kong is leading the effort for the Conversations that Matter events pertaining to the racial climate. His hope is to “facilitate dialogue between the classmates we disagree with and also rebuild trust between students and the administration.” VK Senator Tobi Oyebade is also working to that end: “I want to further conversations regarding race and Black Lives Matter. People are quick to say things without knowing what’s up. We should create spaces for education.” 

Tangentially, trust between the administration and student body is as important as ever. Kong commented, “Over my past two years at Westmont, I’ve seen meaningful ideas, messages, and stories become distorted, degrading trust between students, faculty, and administration. I want to do everything I can to alleviate that. Until we can better understand how to live in disagreement and difference well, we won’t be living out our mission to be a Christ-centered college.”

WCSA and COVID-19

   Concerning COVID-19, members of WCSA share similar worries to those of the student body concerning campus repopulation. Business Manager Sarah Chan remarked, “I’m nervous about this year because of the current situation and just want everyone to be safe, but I’m still working with my team to make the best of the year and try to think positively.” 

COVID-19 definitely isn’t stopping WCSA from reaching out to Warriors. Grierson said, “We encourage students and student organizations to utilize WCSA as a mechanism for addressing major concerns and applying for funding.” Good added, “COVID has been particularly tough on our student interaction this year. We highly encourage every student to reach out to their senator with questions, or visit our inquiry form to help us hear your voice!”

It’ll be a tricky year, but Oyebade is ready. When asked what he’s looking most forward to, he responded, “I think just staying safe and growing together as a community, being able to work through problems and find, if not solutions, find understanding.” Grierson agreed, saying, “I am really looking forward to continuing and building new relationships this semester. COVID has reminded me just how unique and valuable our campus community is and I am so thankful to be back in person with everyone.” There’s a lot of work to be done, but WCSA is back on campus and ready to work for their fellow Warriors.