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ASWU passes statement of support for Willamette CERT program

Emma Innes

Staff writer

The Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) held its first meeting of the Spring 2021 semester on Thursday, Feb. 4. ASWU issued a statement of support for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and tabled ASWU’s anti racism plan.

The CERT statement is a statement of support for Vincent Chin’s (‘21) senior capstone project to make Willamette University a CERT campus. [According to the CERT website], CERT is a nationwide program for local communities to learn how to prepare and respond to disasters. The purpose of the program is to have volunteers trained in basic responses such as team organization, fire safety and medical operations in order for professional first responders to be able to focus on more complex and critical tasks. ASWU’s statement recognizes Willamette’s campus is at risk for floods, fires, earthquakes and incidents at the State Capitol. The statement recognizes that Marion County and Salem have neighborhood CERT programs, and an on-campus program would complement Willamette Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) as well as certain academic programs. In the meeting, ASWU President Claire Mathews-Lingen said she talked to the administration about emergency preparedness after the wildfires in September. ASWU unanimously voted to sign the statement.

ASWU Senator Zeke Druker (‘24) said in an email that making Willamette a CERT campus would just involve taking the actions to fund and organize CERT training. According to Druker, it’s recommended by the federal government that Campus Safety should take on responsibility for the funding and organization of training, but any Willamette institution could if needed. They expressed what they believed it would take: “For a project like this to be successful, every part of the University community, from the student body to the administration, needs to be in partnership. I hope that the administration will make the necessary resources available for serious proactive measures and robust community engagement. ASWU will, I hope, continue to be as supportive as possible of these efforts."

The vote to approve the ASWU anti-racism plan was tabled for a later meeting so that ASWU would have time to seek input from student organizations who serve minority students.

Other updates from ASWU concerned open seats, class reports and the Treasurer report. ASWU Treasurer Micheal Burke said he would present a picture of ASWU’s financial situation at the next meeting. The class of 2021 is working on getting input over what graduation should look like. At the time of the Feb. 4 ASWU meeting, the class of 2021 had one open seat, while the classes of 2022 and 2023 both had two open seats.

ASWU meetings are every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. (PST). Meetings are currently virtual due to COVID-19 precautions. The link to attend the Zoom meeting can be found [here].

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