As the president of the Associated Students for Eastern Washington University, I would like to respond to Shawn Vestal’s column “Top nonteaching jobs soar at EWU,” published on May 22.
I truly believe that so-called “nonteaching jobs” are incredibly important to ensuring the success of each student. Without these roles at Eastern, students may not learn the skills that are necessary outside the classroom. For instance, when I arrived at Eastern in 2015 as a first-generation student, I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea how to navigate the ins and outs of college. I didn’t even know I had to buy my own books.
I was lucky, though, that EWU had a program called Eastern Advantage – an advising class and tool for first-generation college students like myself. Because of that critical support program, I was able to receive guidance from nonteaching staff and develop the tools and skills to succeed at Eastern. My success will culminate on June 15, when I earn my double major in political science and communications with a certificate in leadership and start preparing for law school at the University of Washington this fall.
But to get to this point in my college life I can’t emphasize enough how the “non-instructional” programs at Eastern – such as housing, athletics and student government – helped shape me as the person I am today. EWU’s housing program taught me how to program and be a leader among peers. Division 1 athletics taught me how to have grit and to set long-term goals of success. Student government has given me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and to make a meaningful difference in my community.
Throughout my college career I had wonderful instructors who helped me learn, while Eastern also provided students like me with the resources outside the classroom to ensure my success after graduation.
For instance, during my senior year I utilized EWU’s Career Center, where staff helped me with my law school applications. I am now heading to a top 50 law school, which I would not have been able to do myself. Using such great resources at Eastern has allowed me to grow into a better leader and citizen. I have developed life skills and lessons that I never could have learned in the classroom; to the contrary, the university’s support programs have helped me succeed in both my political science and communications studies.
What all of these non-instructional resources have in common is that they are all considered to be administrative positions. These are the parts of the administration that many people ignore! Like how the administration has created diversity and inclusion initiatives that have expanded throughout campus, or their push to create student-led organizations that help develop leadership skills and prepare each student for their career and future.
Most don’t get to see how our administration is trying to help students become well-rounded citizens who will go out and make a difference in the communities where they will work and serve. I have been lucky enough to see the inner workings of these administrative jobs because of my position as ASEWU president. I know most people think of college as just the classroom aspect, but I have also learned just as much outside the classroom and I am greater because of it.
Dante Tyler is president of the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University.
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