The Associated Students of the University of Washington Tacoma, UW Tacoma’s student government, have outlined three key themes they want to focus on for the new school year. The themes — advocacy, engagement and student resources — plan to incorporate several different aspects of the UWT community such as alumni outreach, helping students to register to vote, continual support towards childcare, emergency aid and the Pantry.

Under the theme of advocacy, ASUWT President Vincent Da outlined their plan to encourage and help students register to vote and understand the importance of voting.

“Our big focus right now is voter registration,” Da said. “We’re partnering with different departments like the [Center for Equity and Inclusion] … We’ll be talking about the history of voting. How voting hasn’t been equal … We’ll do an action workshop and how students can register to vote.”

Also under advocacy, Da discussed a new program called “Educating Myself for Better Racial and Cultural Engagement” —  also in partnership with the CEI. Da described the EMBRACE program as their response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd, with the goal to create a cohort of students that explore and reflect on race and identity in the hopes of moving towards bettering the justice system and educating the community as a whole. Each quarter is expected to have a different theme, with the fall quarter being the history of voting in America.

For the theme of engagement, ASUWT plans to work with the UW Alumni Association in focusing more on both the Bothell and Tacoma campuses. To do this, the Alumni Association has launched a new social gathering platform called the Husky Landing which puts current students in touch with alumni who share common social and professional interests.

“With this launching, it might take time for people to get used to it and learn how to use it,” Da said. “So, the Alumni Association is willing to work with us on an action workshop on how to use the Husky Landing platform. I like the design of it.”

On working with the theme of student resources, Da explained how ASUWT was sharing different programs and information, including how Pierce County was awarded $1.5 million from the CARES Act to help support child care programs. Eligible families can earn a voucher for child care for up to three months. 

Da reaffirmed ASUWT’s commitment to supporting the Pantry through sharing resources and any upcoming donation drives they may have. Furthermore, Da has also expressed his enthusiasm with the extended WiFi in the Cragle parking lot and the reservable study spaces for students who need a place to study with free WiFi access.

When asked what he thought the hardest challenge he sees the UWT community facing for this new year, Da replied that it was the uncertainty of the future in regards to guidelines and the severity of COVID-19.

“I think the uncertainty — it’s just hard for people to plan right away,” Da said. “They don’t know if they’ll need child care for next quarter, or if we’ll be working online and from home.”

Despite the uncertainty Da expressed, he said the best thing to do is to keep a positive outlook of the future.

“Stay positive,” Da said. “If we work together to follow the social distancing guidelines, we’ll get through this quicker, and everyone stays safe and healthy.”

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