The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) held its winter elections in the first week of December, during which the student body re-elected senators Edrea Jiang ’23, Hazel Allison-Way ’24, and Orly Meyer ’24, as well as newly elected senator Aidan Ward ’24. The results of the winter elections were announced in a Sunday, Dec. 6 email from WSA Election Coordinator Pauline Jaffe ’21.
Allison-Way and Meyer were appointed as senators to the WSA in the fall after two seats became available for a semester, and Jiang was originally elected in December 2019 after being appointed to the WSA during her first fall. This is Ward’s first time serving on the WSA.
Jiang, who serves on the Academic Affairs Committee, said she began her time on the WSA not knowing exactly what it was or what it did.
“I was so encouraged by their initiatives, like the textbook exchange,” Jiang said. “So I was encouraged to start my own projects. And that’s why I decided to continue being on the WSA, because they have such a positive impact on the student community, and it was really gratifying to see students all working together for one common goal.”
Ward, who initially ran for election during the fall semester but was not elected, echoed Jiang’s sentiments.
“I was still determined and really wanted to see what the WSA was all about,” Ward said. “So I gave it another shot.”
Ward expressed his excitement at being assigned to the Community Committee, where he hopes to be able to make a difference.
“The Community Committee also focuses on the relationship between Middletown and Wesleyan,” Ward said. “So I’m really looking forward to seeing what I could do to strengthen and expand that. That sounds super cool.”
Regardless of their previous experience on the WSA, all four of the winter electees joined the WSA with the hope of impacting the wider University community.
“One of my main goals is to just go in open-minded and see where I can make an impact, whether that’s on the community committee or just in the broader assembly,” Ward said. “And since I’m only a [first year] and this is my first term, I’m not quite sure what I can do yet, but I’m definitely going to be really looking for where I can be the most help.”
Meyer echoed the sentiments of her fellow senators.
“I think I initially was interested in and started [WSA] in the fall because I went to a really large high school, and I felt a lot of disconnect from the administration in seeing change at the school, and I didn’t want to feel so alienated and [wanted to] help other students not feel alienated and be a resource like that at Wesleyan,” Meyer said. “I decided to run again because I was already involved in so many projects, and I didn’t really want to have to leave those behind or leave the resources of the WSA behind.”
The re-elected senators each cited their ongoing projects as a reason for running for re-election.
Meyer, a member of the Student Life Committee, recently began an Indigenous reconciliation project with fellow senator Ruby Clarke ’24, also on the Student Life Committee.
“We’re reading tons about Middletown’s history and relationship with Indigenous people and people indigenous to the Middletown area and figuring out what Wesleyan has done and how we can improve awareness of our history,” Meyer said.
Meyer also serves with Allison-Way on the Class of 2024 Task Force, a group which seeks to ease the first-year class’s transition to the University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Allison-Way cited the Task Force as one of her reasons for running for re-election.
“One thing I’m really excited about is the Class of 2024 Task Force, which I worked with other senators and members of the student body to establish last semester,” Allison-Way wrote in an email to The Argus. “We’re focusing on the unique needs of the first-year class in acclimating to Wes during the pandemic.”
Jiang also has WSA initiatives she wants to continue working on now that she has been re-elected.
“I want to refocus on the laptop loaner program initiative that I had started last year,” Jiang said. “It was halted mostly because of budget constraints due to the pandemic, and so I want to get back to the idea of expanding the laptop loaner program, making it more accessible for students. That’s my main goal this semester.”
The re-elected senators all emphasized that they wanted to continue on the WSA because of its potential to create change within the University.
“WSA is a great way to get more involved in the Wes community,” Allison-Way wrote. “It gives you a chance to work closely with staff and administration, in addition to fellow senators.”
Rachel Hess Wachman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.