ASuop’s president-elect shares thoughts on student opportunities and challenges
Scout Cooper-Wilson ’22 was elected ASuop president for the 2021-22 academic year. She is a double major in economics and cultural studies. Cooper-Wilson shared thoughts on a number of subjects in an interview.
What is your favorite memory or accomplishment from your previous work with ASuop?
Cooper-Wilson: This year is the first year that I’ve been involved with ASuop and I’m the director of finance. I have really liked that position because I’ve gotten to make tangible changes and impact students in relation to finances, which is really meaningful to me, especially this year with all the different financial issues people have had.
Part of the work that I’ve been doing this year is trying to publicize and highlight the services available to students because of ASuop. More long-term, and something that I want to work on next year, is reallocating (the budget) so more money goes directly to students and they feel more seen and recognized by what goes on in ASuop.
What inspired you to run for ASuop president?
Cooper-Wilson: It was very last minute! I was not planning on running for anything. My vice president, Tierra (Smithson), was not planning on running for anything. I think both of us were a little burned out because of how this year had gone, even though we felt accomplished and proud of what we had done at the same time. But then, (running for office) stayed in the back of our minds ... The more we planned our campaign and spoke to students and got endorsement, the more it just felt right.
What project are you most excited to start with ASuop? What is your first goal or priority as president of ASuop?
Cooper-Wilson: I’m most excited for the plans we have for diversity, equity and inclusion. We have a lot of goals. This year, the department was established in ASuop, so it was brand-new. Next year, we really want to focus on developing that department. I think it will be the thing that we have the most power to do on our own, as an internal possibility. A lot of what ends up happening with that is going to depend on whoever we hire as the director of that department and their goals.
We also really want to get more involved in the Stockton community and open connections between this campus and Stockton in general. For a lot of students, especially if they’re not from Stockton, Pacific can really be a bubble and Stockton is a very diverse city that is different from Pacific in a lot of ways. I think that when people don’t take advantage of the city they are in for college, it’s a missed opportunity. With the way things are right now, I don’t know how easy it is for people to get connected. We want to make that easier. We also want, within our campus, to open up conversations about race and inequality and make it more comfortable for us to talk about those topics and make changes.
How can students and other members of the Pacific community support your initiatives with ASuop?
Cooper-Wilson: In ASuop, we have a cabinet, with positions like the one I have this year, director of finance. There’s also a director of arts and entertainment, communications, strategic marketing, DEI, and more. Those positions will be listed on Handshake around the end of this semester, so if students are interested in getting a paid position through ASuop and are passionate about a department, that’s a way to get involved.
On a smaller scale, the ASuop senate meetings are open to the public. If students come to those meetings, it’s one of the best ways to learn more about what’s happening in ASuop and to share their opinions on issues that are being brought up. Aside from that, Tierra and I definitely want to open communication between ASuop and the rest of the students. ASuop is so student-focused, but if students don’t know it’s there to listen to them, it’s kind of helpless. We’re going to be looking at how to open up different lines of communication.
What advice or encouragement do you have for other students who want to get involved in ASuop?
Cooper-Wilson: If you’re interested at all, do it. I didn’t really know at all until last year what the cabinet did. My knowledge of ASuop was all about the senate and I didn’t want to be a senator. There’s a lot of ways you can be involved outside of that, like arts and entertainment, graphic design, and ASuop photography. If students are interested in student government and using their voice, there’s a lot of ways to do it. Anyone who’s interested should definitely pursue it. Don’t be afraid or nervous!
What do you hope ASuop will grow into during your time as president?
Cooper-Wilson: I think it goes back to what I was saying at the beginning about finances and publicizing. By the end of the year, I want students to know what ASuop is and what it does and why it’s there and how it helps them. That would be my hope – to get students more engaged and more excited about ASuop.