Meeting with the Senator

Well, it certainly was interesting, if nothing else. 

As mentioned in a post earlier this morning, Senator Doug Ericksen, Whatcom County’s conservative representative, made an appearance at my community college today, where a group of us, including the student senate, were to try and convince him it was worth being our voice to build the planned Learning Commons.

The Learning Commons made it fourth on the priority list in 2013, but was nixt last year. However, we did get a brand new sports pavilion with an in-door running track and a juice bar.

Did you hear that? That distant thunder? Oh that was the sound of my eyes rolling.

The plans for the Learning Commons can be found here, and it is beautiful. It would mean far more computers, group working spaces, a media center to multimodal projects, the writing center separate from the math center–it’s just fantastic. Currently we have a large classroom linked with a smaller classroom that act as our learning center–and I can promise you the math center get the bigger room. 

 I would say the math center is about the size of this conference room.

So as the students and faculty gather, Senator Ericksen enters, casually in his Washington State University sweater (he went to Western Washington University), and sat at the head of the table, one person to the right of me. 

As we began talking, it became very clear that he didn’t know why he had been invited, and it became even more clear he wasn’t interested in helping us have a voice with the state on this project. In fact, it became his at-hand response to refer us to someone else in another department. He rarely answered any questions, and when asked if he had any questions for us about the project which he seemed very uninformed of, he twaddled off on some tangent of the importance of us coming together, or something or other. 

In fact, he seemed more intent on pointing out that being senator was just a part time job, and his real excitement was bringing in more neuclear energy to Washington. 

After hearing all his politician nonsense, I tuned it out. I was done, I’d said what I needed to say, and had listened to other students, and heard a bunch of nothing from him. Perhaps others might feel differently, but I don’t think we swayed him. I don’t think he cared. I don’t think he has any idea what it’s like to be a community college student that needs support. 

But I’d be willing to try again with some of the other names he suggested, if they would be willing to listen, and hear us.

The meeting ran just a touch longer than we thought it would. I was late for my shift in the writing center. I ran across campus as best I could in heals, and arrived out of breath. Our Lead desk person looked up and said, “It’s been slammed all morning.”

Every one was in a session, all the computers were taken up, and all the tables were crowded wth students. Gee, if only we had a space big enough to accommodate these busy times…


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