Special Collections Oral History Program
BA 2003, Board of Trustees Student Representative
Interviewer: Tamara Belts
Date of Interview: April 4, 2003
Location of Interview: Wilson Library, Western Washington University
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TB: Today is April 4th, . I am Tamara Belts, and I am here interviewing Jeff Kelly, who is a recent alumni of Western. He just graduated in Winter Quarter of 2003. He was active in student affairs and the Board of Trustees student representative during his time at Western. Weíve also just signed the Informed Consent Agreement, and we will now proceed with the interview. Why did you choose to attend Western?
JK: I chose to attend Western because I wanted to go to a school on the green side of the mountains, and so that restricted me to either the West coast of Washington, Oregon, or Northern California or the east coast, east coast, east coast! And I didnít want to go that far. So I started looking at schools on the west coast of the United States--came to Western. My parents live in the Seattle area, so itís not too far away, but itís far enough away to be away from home. I love the trees and the environment and having the mountain near by and water right here and all of the activities that assists in, in addition to my academic progress of course.
TB: Right. When did you first arrive?
JK: I first arrived in the fall of 1998. I graduated high school in 1998, so that would have been June, and launched into a quarter of exploration, not knowing quite what I wanted to do, not knowing how I should get there, but Fall 1998 was a nice sunny quarter!
TB: Where did you live while attending Western, did you start out in the dorms orÖ?
JK: I started out living in Highland. I lived in the same room for two years. I had a great room with a nice, big picture window. Of course, that was also the reason that most people didnít like it. But I enjoyed it. After two years of living on campus and having dorm food, I was ready to branch out a little bit more, have more control over me, and be able to go away from school at the end of the day. I moved off campus out along Lakeway and lived there for a year, and moved over into the area near the old drive-in theater the next year, so that would have been last academic year. And this academic year Iím [living] just north of campus on Indian Street.
TB: What were your favorite or most influential teachers?
JK: One of my favorite teachers is Dr. Nelson in the computer science department. He is a very tough teacher. He demands an incredible amount of work. One of his classes is fifteen credits of work, and the projects are not easy. Theyíre not the kind of projects where you just have to put in the time. You have to be thinking. You have to be learning. It was a computer science class that I took from him. Over the course of the quarter, you build a bigger and bigger product, youíre building on it every time you turn it in. By the end of the quarter, those of us who were still in the class, and still had the stamina left to work on it, had produced something that we did not imagine we could have produced at the beginning of the course. It was a course that gave me a broad base of knowledge that I have applied many, many times in other courses. It was a perspective course as well because whenever I thought courses were hard, I could think of this class and remember how hard that was, and it was not as bad as I thought. So he was a favorite professor.
Another one of my favorite professors is Martin Granier in the computer science department. Heís been someone to look up to, someone to help me along the way as I needed assistance. He wrote a letter of recommendation for me for my student trustee position, and he was just my mentor/advisor for an independent study project that I did. It was pretty rewarding, and heís been a much more personal assister of my academic progress here at Western.
TB: Were you also influenced by any staff or administrators?
JK: I met a lot of staff and administrators through my position of student trustee. When you first come in as a freshman, thereís an event [Convocation] right before school starts, on like Monday evening, something like that. The president is there and she gives you your pep talk for your next 4, 5 or 6 years, however long youíre going to be here. "You will see me two times, most likely, through your career. This is one of them, the other is when you graduate." And that was true, until I became a student trustee.
Until I became a student trustee, I did not appreciate the position she was in, the amount of duties she had, and how hard she worked to make Western what it is and what it can be. So she has definitely been a positive influence to me, Karen Morse. I respect her a tremendous amount for the job she does, and the position sheís put Western in. Sheís well respected wherever she goes. I was in Olympia with her one time, when I was being confirmed by the senate, and she received much more respect than many of the other people of equal importance there. It was kind of a neat experience to be there and see that, and to see how much she is devoted to the university.
Another great influence was the provost, Andrew Bodman. He and I became kind of buddies, kind of professionalÖwe kind of see things the same way, we have a lot of the same opinions about things. Through my time as trustee, weíd casually talk about the various happenings around the university. When we see each other around, we always say "Hi," and ask, "Whatís going on?" Things like that. He was another very positive influence.
TB: I know your main course of study was computer science. What else besides computer science did you really study while you were here?
JK: I didnít come out with a minor. I enjoyed too many other things. But along the way, I was pretty sure I was going to be a minor in psychology, or perhaps even an additional major in psychology. I really enjoyed it, enjoyed the whole topic. I took several courses in it, but never took enough to get a minor. By the time the end of my fourth year was coming around, I was ready to get out of here and try something new. So those plans went away. I also took, as a computer science major, a lot of math and enjoyed that rather well. Not enough to get a major in it, or a minor, but I took many courses in math. And Iím a hiker, an outdoorsman, a sailor, and things like that, so I took some environmental classes. The best environmental class I took was a topics class in oceanography. Maybe Environmental Studies 204 or something like that. It was just kind of whatever the professor wanted to teach that day. It was a great class because you got to talk about all the interesting things in oceanography, you didnít have to go through four weeks of the basics, and then you started kind of working up from there. You just jumped in, and you could absorb it at whatever level you were at.
TB: What classes did you like the least, and/or felt that you learned the least from?
JK: I can answer that! The courses that I learned the least from, I had the most trouble attending, and I had the most trouble academically in were the ones that had poor professors. The computer science department went through a couple years while I was here where they really, really needed faculty. So the process of accepting faculty into the department wasnít as strict as it had been in the past. There were faculty members that were not at the same level as the tenured faculty and other tenure-track faculty and even some of the other visiting faculty. Those courses suffered tremendously. There was very little learning that went on, and so there were several, and theyíre in my mind and thatís where they should stay. It was not due to the content; it was due to the quality of the instruction.
TB: You spoke a little bit about it, but what activities did you most enjoy while you were here?
JK: Yeah. I was pretty active. I had been really active in high school. I did some video production. I helped write a $30,000 grant that brought some computers to the video production area of the high school. It was the first video production real thing that they had. And so I had been really active in high school, a lot of out-of-school time devoted to activities. I was a Boy Scout, things like that. So when I came up to Western, I was in a new place. I didnít know many people.
One day in my communications class, Comm 101, somebody from Big Brothers Big Sisters showed up and was talking about this new program that they were going to launch called "Campus Buddies." It was going to be the first year. They were really excited. They needed boys because they wanted to match up a list of boys awaiting mentors for the normal Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. The motivation for the new program was that some of those boys had been on the waiting list for three years to get a mentor, so they knew they had to do something. And they just won a grant, a yearly, renewable grant, to support the program. So when I heard about that, my ears kind of perked up. I found out some more information, went through their application process, and had my background checked.
I got matched up with a great young kid. We hung out a couple times a month. Two, three, four times month sometimes, and just did little things around town. He really liked my computer, so if I just needed some deflating time from a tough day at school or whatever, heíd be okay on my computer for a little while and we could relax. Weíd go to a park, throw a ball around, something like that, he was a pretty cool cat. And then the next year, I got a new "little buddy," Iím a "big buddy." My "mentee" would be a "little buddy," and I stuck with him for three years. I just moved on from that last year because I knew I would be transitioning out of school. We had a great time. We went all over the area doing little things, hanging out at parks, playing laser tag, going sailing. Some of the other things I like are laser tag and sailing, and I like to mountain bike. I like to volunteer outdoors. Again, a really outdoors-y kind of guy.
TB: How about being a student senator? What was that experience like?
JK: I was on the student senate also the first year it started up. It was kind of at that time Ö well, the role of the student senate is to advise the AS Board of Directors on student opinion. At that time, it didnít have any real authority over anything. It was just kind of a discussion group that would ask presenters to come and talk about topics of interest, perhaps topics that the AS Board was facing. We would let our opinion be known to the board. In that first year we did a lot of "who are we and what should we do?" and a lot of "how do we communicate what we think as a group?" and that sort of thing. I got involved in it because I was looking for something to do, something else to do with my time, some other way to impact the university, this place that Iím spending my time at and spending my money to be at. So we had a really interesting year. We didnít get a whole lot done at the beginning. Toward the end we were really starting to gear up and then it was summer. That kind of turned that down. About that time I was applying to be student trustee, so I was kind of getting out of that role, starting to remove myself from those responsibilities. We did various forums, student forums, and things like that.
TB: Are people elected to be student senator?
JK: That was an appointed position at the time. I think it is still an appointed position now, by the AS Board. You go through the regular committee appointment process.
TB: I did look through the minutes from the year that I thought you were the student senator. Some of the issues I found were tuition levels, collective bargaining for faculty and graduate students, Transportation Task Force and Appeals Board, Academic Grievance Board, Student Senate message board; so how effective do you feel the Student Senate was in communicating with the AS and the AS communicating perhaps with administration on those issues or any other significant issues. I was just amazed; those are pretty big issues!
JK: Yeah, those are pretty big issues, and they came real quick. I think we were effective, but I donít think that any of our opinions were out of line with the general opinions of the AS Board. So there wasnít any dissent among the advising group and the group making the decisions. As it started out, and for the next couple years, I think itís been a couple years now, yeah, one of the challenges facing the student senate has been "who are we, what do we do, and how do we communicate effectively? And how should we expect to be communicated to in this whole scheme of things?" That was an issue at the time and we communicated through, there was a member on the student senate that was also an AS Board member. I believe it was Bill Hemming. He was the chair or acting chair, or vice chair, some authoritative position, and he would communicate our opinions to the AS Board. Since he was going to be there at the meeting, we didnít feel we should go to another meeting unless it was a big important issue.
But those issues were pretty big, especially the tuition one. We knew that there was going to be another tuition increase. We had just gone through a tuition increase, and we were of course opposed to that Ė opposed to continuing increases. What we were opposed to wasnít specifically the increase; it was the unpredictability of tuition increases. We understood that the price of providing an education goes up every year, and that thereís a commitment on both the state level that goes up every year and the student level that goes up every year. What we were opposed to was legislative setting of the amount of tuition that could be raised, percentage of increases, things like that, in kind of a year-to-year manner. We were at the time, I believe, talking about multiple year plans weíd like to see, certain increases over a certain amount of years, that kind of thing. That was being well received here at the AS Board level. The administration was kind of singing a different tune, but along the same lines because they liked the predictability of it. They liked to see the state support the strong. We went down to Olympia one day, I think it was called "Viking Day," and we went around. We talked to some legislators about that and about some other issues. You know, the price of textbooks and other things that students were always thinking of because theyíre forking over the money.
TB: What was that like lobbying down in Olympia? Did you make appointments ahead of time, or did you just start cruising on down?
JK: Yeah, we made some appointments ahead of time. The AS Board has a legislative liaison down in Olympia during session. Itís normally a student who takes the quarter off, is employed by the AS Board and goes down there and lobbies for the AS Board. Most of the appointments were set up through that person, I donít remember who that was. Some of the people, we just kind of went to their office and said, "Hey! Can we have a couple minutes?"
It was very interesting because I had never met legislators in that capacity where theyíre there, theyíre walking, they have their opinions and theyíre being influenced by all their groups, many bigger -most bigger - than this little group of students coming by. It was really interesting to see how we were received and to see how the student leaders that were there presented themselves and tried to control us--tried to prevent us and the other students from saying anything that would compromise their lobbying activities on our behalf. So that was kind of an interesting process. I remember we were in one legislatorís office and she was an enormously gracious and supporting and wanted-to-listen kind of person. We were talking to her and it was evident to me that she was not understanding what we were trying to tell her. Because as students going into a legislatorís office talking about tuition Ė I think that was the main reason we were there Ė theyíd begin to hear "no tuition increases, no tuition increases, no tuition increases." And they think well, the students are just being unreasonable. So I chimed in and said, "We know that tuition is going to go up, but what we were looking for is some sort of predictability, some sort of stability so that we can plan our education and plan the amount of time we needed to work." I could see out of the corner of my eyes the student leaders just glaring at me, just scared. Once they heard what I said they were okay, and they were calm and it was nice.
The whole experience was really interesting, legislators in their element, being legislators. Some were not receptive to us and werenít interested in what we had to say, or would listen and you could tell they would start thinking about other things, that kind of thing. It was a really interesting process to see how that worked down there, Iíd never done that before.
TB: What about that collective bargaining for faculty and graduate students, do you remember that issue very well?
JK: I donít remember that issue very well, but I know that some sort of related legislation just passed through the legislature last year. I believe faculty now have the ability to unionize or some flavor thereof. I imagine it was that same kind of issue that was probably bouncing around down there in the legislature.
TB: How about when you were on the Board of Trustees, how did you feel you were received by the board, by fellow board members and fellow students?
JK: I had no experience to compare with when I was selected for the Board of Trustees. So I was extremely nervous. I didnít know how I would be received. I didnít know whether I would be treated as a trustee or as a student trustee who sits there at the end of the table. My first meeting, I walked in there, I had met a couple trustees before at a kind of a talk time, briefing time, before the meeting. I walked in there, all of the trustees were very friendly. They came over and introduced themselves and we chatted for a little while. I found very quickly that I was treated like a resource of information, like another trustee, by the other trustees.
That was not always the case with other administrators. They did not see my position as one that should exist. They were obligated to assist me or help me, or present to me, but that wasnít their choice. It wasnít their preference. They didnít think I should be there. In that sense, I had some resistance from administrators. It wasnít many administrators, but there were a few and I knew who they were. The first time I met them they said "Well, I just want you to know that I doní think you should be here. Iím going to work with you, but I donít think that your position should be here." That also became a challenge for the two of us, or whomever I was meeting with if they felt that way. How do we make this as easy as it can be for both of us since Iím here and I think you should treat me like a trustee and youíre here and you donít think you should treat me like a trustee? It was a really good challenge and learning process of how to communicate. Repeat the question and Iíll see if I missed anything.
TB: I think the other part would be, how about your fellow students, and/or what was your relationship, could you talk at all then back to the AS? Were you sort of their advocate, or were you strictly more on your own?
JK: The students didnít know I existed, in general. I was the fourth student trustee and the third year, I think. There had been one year that had two student trustees for a reason I donít recall. So I was very new, and students on campus are not, in general, involved enough or interested enough to know that there is a student trustee position. When they find out theyíre surprised. An "Oh thatís a good idea!" type of thing. In general, students didnít know I existed, and it didnít have that kind of effect.
In regards to the AS Board, I was definitely a student advocate in how I went about my position. The administration did a very good of trying to protect me from strong influences, from students, from non-students community groups and that kind of thing. I was a student trustee and they knew that I was out of my league and I think I knew I was out of my league. They did a good job protecting me. But one of the choices I made early on was to be as in tune with the AS Board as I could. I wasnít going to be their voice, or their "soap box" to stand on and to have the words coming out of my mouth. I made all my decisions on my own, and all my stances and such. But I wanted to know, as student trustee, what was going on in the student government. I felt that my position was unique in that I was a governing member of the system I was in, and that allowed to me to be party to much, much more information Ė insider information Ė than any of the other trustees who come in. They visit, they see some prepared presentations by people, they have their meeting, and they hear the information that is presented to them. I was able to hear things being said in the corner, or read the paper and know that whatís in the paper wasnít what the real feeling was. I had all these other information sources. So part of my main goal was to use as many information sources as I could to get the feel of the campus, to make a decision, and to be involved in the community as well, so that as a trustee, as a representative of voters and of taxpayers, I could make as informed a decision as I could with the unique perspective I was granted because I was in the system I was governing.
TB: How powerful do you perceive the board itself to be and how much were you able to influence decisions?
JK: I think the board is extraordinarily powerful and currently they employ a very strong president. Because they have such a strong president, the full authority of the board isnít exercised, isnít needed, because President Morse is extraordinary in how she handles this university. Many of the issues that face other boards donít necessarily face this board because they get addressed by the president, and they donít need board intervention. Maybe they need a mention at the meeting, or that kind of thing.
I think the power of the board is tremendous. They have goals, they have guiding principles for the university, and they have priorities. Those priorities filter all through the university. As a trustee, I saw see how those priorities were played out all over and they really were being followed. You just pick it up in little things, little blurbs in the paper, in a quote, an announcement in a class by a professor of some nature. There is definitely a lot of power in the board, and there is definitely a strong president, which allows the board to kind of relax and not have to work quite so much. As student trustee my biggest influence on the board was to be able to confirm or voice a student opinion, or a student feeling, or my impression of what student feeling was, or what I personally thought.
As far as influencing actual decisions that the board made, most of the decisions the board made, Iíd say 99 per cent I was in complete agreement with. It was the right decision for the university. What I was able to do was provide supporting information. Because I was in the system that I was governing, I had knowledge of the system that other trustees didnít. So they could turn to me and they could ask, "Do you think thatís how it really works here?" or "What do students think?" or "Whatís that really like in your class, whatís the difference in class size? What is it like for a student to have a big class or a small class? How is the quality of the faculty at this university? What is the quality of the advising available to students at this university?" They could ask me and I could just tell them, and that was source of information that was unfiltered and readily available to them. I was used often in that kind of nature. They would just turn to me and ask me a basic question. If I wasnít there, they would be asking the president or some other administrator, and it would be a little bit different answer because it would be a more administrative answer. I was an alternate perspective, so thatís where my real assistance to the board came.
I did vote against a tuition increase in the name of students, but that was more of a symbolic vote. There was no doubt in my mind that it was the right move for the university to raise the tuition the amount that they did. No doubt in my mind that that was absolutely necessary, but doing that cost a lot of money to a lot of students. I knew several students who were working full time and going to school full time to try to get through college. A little bit of money - you know, $500 - makes a big difference. Thatís many more hours that they have to work when theyíre in a college town where salaries are lower, things like that. There was influence there, and there was influence in what I could bring to answering their questions from a different perspective than the administrative that they received regularly.
TB: You look at the meeting minutes, and it all goes through pretty smoothly, and pretty much everybody concurs unanimously, I was just wondering whatís the process that happens thatís not in the official record but gets to that, is it pretty simple?
JK: Itís pretty simple. Packets are created with each of the items, divided by each item on the agenda, and all the supporting information, any documents that have been requested or would be helpful are put in the packet. Often times itís notebook-sized not packet-sized. Thatís sent to the trustees a week or so before the meeting. During the week before the meeting, there is a talk time with the president that each of the trustees, if theyíre available during that week, participate in. Itís normally in two or three small groups. Most of the trustees are not in town, so trustees are often connected by telephone and thereís a conference phone in the middle of the table. At that time the agenda is kind of breezed over. Any requests for more information or clarifications on information, that sort of thing, can take place at that time. So by the time the meeting comes around, weíre not stopping to ask questions that are going to disrupt the flow of the meeting. Also if trustees are unsure and would like more information, or different information, it allows time for that information to be gathered in time for the meeting. So when we sit down at the table to make the decisions, thereíd be a supplement to our packet that was requested for clarification or whatever it might be. Itís a pretty simple process.
TB: What kind of effects maybe did you think, do you feel, you had on the universityís growth Ė I assume that relates to the master plan?
JK: Yes. One of my primary interests as trustee was how the university was going to manage growth. I was in a lot of large classes, and I had a poor advising experience as an undergraduate before I was admitted into a major. I saw some new buildings going up. I saw a lot of old buildings on the campus and things like that, so growth was of interest to me. How was the university managing growth? How was the number of students being managed versus the amount of state support that was being provided? Things like that. That kind of goes along with the institutional master plan. Things like the capital budget provided by the legislature for building projects and maintenance projects and things like that. I didnít have the chance to be directly involved in any of those processes when they were being designed. I showed up at the time when the master plan was being approved by the board and by the city and was making that tour into being part of the main document. Iím unsure of that, but it was one of those master plan kind of documents that was making it around. I came in at the end. So what I was able to do was to become educated on it and to relay that information to students who were interested, to the AS Board which was interested and which rolls over every year so the knowledge doesnít build up very well. That was one of my primary abilities on many of the issues I was interested in, was not to influence the decision except as a member of the board, being in agreement or opposed to it. But the real ability I had was to learn about it from an insiderís perspective and then bring that back out and share that knowledge with students and with student leaders.
TB: Is that usually helpful to them, to bring them some inside spin that made it suddenly much more palpable to them?
JK: Definitely. They were extraordinarily thankful for my communication with them on issues. If they wanted to know what a feeling was in the administration, or what a feeling was on the board of trustees, sometimes I could provide that for them. If they wanted specific information and I was also interested in that specific information, I could request it, and then I would share that with the AS Board or students who were interested. The student trustee position was an amazing educational experience for me. It also facilitated a lot of broad general education of my friends and students involved in student government about how a university is operated from the administrative side. There is very much a "Weíre the students and theyíre the administration" and "Theyíre the students and weíre the administration" kind of attitude on both sides. Itís hard to see into the other side, to see what their opinions are, what their feelings are, what they agree with, what they disagree with.
So as student trustee I was able to be a mediator between both of them. Often times I felt the pull on both arms from the two sides. I remember when I first found out that I was going to be student trustee I got a call from the governorís office, which proceeded to call the university and notify them. Shortly thereafter the AS Boardís legislative liaison found out and then informed them. Within the span of fifteen minutes I got two phone calls: One from an AS Board representative and one from an administration representative and they both said "Come talk to us first. Donít see the other guy. We want to talk to you and tell you what youíre position is going to be."
From minute one there was a pull, but what that pull became was a great communication link between the two. As one side would pull, Iíd say "Hold on," and I could feed them stuff from the other side and it would make me be okay. In the exchange, both sides would be much more fulfilled in their interest for knowledge. Often times, speaking on behalf of students, there is a "theyíre out to get us" or "theyíre not listening to us" kind of feeling about the administration. I was able to change that in some issues. Issues like tuition Ė they can still disagree with how the administration is going about raising tuition and whatnot, but they understand that itís a budget issue bottom line, and itís a state legislature issue, itís not receiving state support. They can know what those issues are that are going into it, what is causing the administration to go the way they donít want them to.
TB: Did you have the chance to talk to the student trustees who have been student trustees before you?
JK: I did, only for short periods of time. When I first became student trustee, I met with them twice or three times, just a little bit, to ask them some basic questions. But I didnít know what to ask, and he didnít know what to tell me. He gave me some advice here and there, but you donít know what to ask until youíve experienced it. Then you kind of know what you need to share, but you donít know what the new personís experience level is, and what theyíre going to be interested in. So itís a really difficult position to pass on very much knowledge.
TB: Do you think thatís innately a part of the job, or do you think it might still partially be because it is still a new position?
JK: I think itís a little bit of both. I think itís always going to be like that because students donít get the opportunity to have this kind of experience except in very specific cases. There is a general lack of information about positions like student trustee. So a lot of education has to take place in a short amount of time to bring a student to where they can make informed decisions at a governing level. On the other hand that process, as student trustee becomes an older position, the administration knows how to handle it and the AS kind of builds up a little "Okay, well this is what the position is like and this is what it can be," so they can both contribute information to an incoming trustee.
TB: What do you feel is the most valuable experience you took away from being a student trustee?
JK: The most valuable thing I got from being trustee is learning how much goes into governing a university. Before I was a student trustee I really did not understand what it takes to run a university, what kinds of decisions it involves, what kind of departments and leaders it takes to run a university from the administrative side. Iíd seen the student side. I knew how the student side worked, as a student senator, but it was completely different as student trustee, primarily because I was a part of that governing group of the university. That was definitely the most amazing part. It was also an amazing experience because it showed me that you can be student, and you can think you know how it goes, but it takes a lot more than you could even think. There are a lot of smart people running this university regardless of what you think or what you read in the paper. Thereís a lot that goes into a university, and the administration is here for the students more than anyone else. This is just expressed in ways other than students would wish like low tuition and free parking passe.
TB: What about faculty? How did you see the faculty view coming before the board?
JK: The faculty view in my opinion was a little bit weak. Iím not sure if was an organizational issue or what, but my impression was that the faculty had difficulty organizing and voicing their group voice to the administration, to the board. And I still get the impression that that is the case. I donít know if itís a problem with the system or if itís a leadership issue. The faculty is a diverse group, like a group of students, so itís difficult to come up with any kind of "this is how we feel." But there has recently been the issue of college reorganization, which the faculty is very unhappy with. I felt that in that case as well, they were unable to voice their opinion in such a way that it was understood and listened to. I think the faculty senate is an excellent way for the faculty to express themselves and be part of governance. This university is a shared governance set up, and Iím not saying that the faculty donít have influence, but on big issues such as college reorganization they have difficulty explaining the passion of their opinion. In this case faculty were generally opposed to reorganization. They presented that point to special meetings of the board of trustees and to meetings with the provost, but somehow the message didnít get across, or it didnít get appreciated. There was some sort of lack of communication there. But I also work for the faculty senate and thatís kind of an insider position, too. You get to see a lot of how the faculty operates and how the shared governance operates and the difficulties of that. Iíve kind of been all the way around the circle now in working for the faculty senate in that Iíve seen both parts of the shared governance of the university and Iíve seen the studentsí. Itís an interesting system. Itís a system that all parties can benefit from with better communication.
TB: So what do you do at the faculty senate?
JK: At the faculty senate I am an office boy. I get the opportunity quite often to use my computer science background. I maintain the web site and I maintain internal databases and records and things like that. I also make copies and I go get coffee and that kind of thing. The position has educated me in how you run a faculty senate. The president of the faculty senate is working in that office and you see various other strong leaders within the faculty coming through the office. Theyíre on committees or theyíre interested in getting involved with committees and you get to meet them and hear what theyíre thinking about. The faculty is a very diverse group.
TB: What are your most outstanding memories of your college days?
JK: Most of my most outstanding memories were non-academic. When I was coming to college, my dad sat me down one day. We were talking about college and he looked at me, and he was quiet for a minute and he said, "Now remember, weíre not sending you to college to learn what you can learn in any book. Weíre sending you to college to go learn about life," and things like that. Some of my fondest memories are hanging out with a very large group of friends at Boulevard Park. Having a barbecue, and just hanging around, talking to people and playing games and things like that. Of course one of my best memories is student trustee. Also many of the friendships I gained through my involvement in the community, as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and such. Specifically at Western, one of my best memories is passing tough classes in general. I had some challenging courses, and it was a great kind of confidence builder for now because itís like "Well look, I can take a class thatís a full load in itself and I can do it!" So thatís generally a fond memory.
TB: How did you finance your college education or what kind of work experience did you have while at Western? You donít get paid for being student trustee do you?
JK: No. I worked a variety of places. Since high school I have owned and operated my own business of computer variety things. Itís called Bordering on Reality, and I pretty much provide anything within my skill set, if youíre interested in finding somebody to provide what I can do. It has involved database work, web site work, some really light software development, some troubleshooting, some buying consulting, all sorts of things. It did not play a significant part in financing my education. It just provided me with some pocket money every now and then when I had somebody who was interested in stuff like that. The majority of my funding for my college education has come from my parents. Over the summers Iíve worked. I worked at a golf course for a couple summers. And I work currently Ė well, Iím not a student anymore Ė but over this last couple quarters Iíve worked for IKO Pacific Inc. up in Sumas doing some database work. So my primary support was from my parents, and I was able to supplement that over the summers and during school with a small amount of work. That really allowed me to focus on my education which was something that was very important to my parents in sending me to college.
TB: At this point, what do you consider to be the major impact of Western on your education? Thatís the total package that comes with all your experiences at Western.
JK: What I think Western has provided me is a base of information to go make something of myself now. Now that Iím done with my computer science degree, and itís my chosen trade, I realize how little they really taught me in computer science and software development and things like that. Iím buying books and Iím having interviews now and Iím realizing that I really donít know very much at all. I know the basics. As a liberal arts education, it has provided me with a very broad range of base knowledge to go lead my life with. I took an East Asian history class that was phenomenal and I never would have had anything to compare to that if I hadnít gone to a more liberal arts education kind of school, also the oceanography, that kind of thing. Itís just given me kind of a platform much above where I ever could have been at the end of high school. Itís taught me how to lead my life and balance my checkbook and be responsible for myself. Not have to ask if I can go to McDonaldís at some time, or go to an all-night diner or whatever, but to make that decision for myself. Itís taught me how to be involved on my own. As a Boy Scout, I was encouraged to go by my parents. So it was my thing, but it was also their thing. All through high school, living at home, it was that same way. It was my thing but it was their thing, too. Western has really been my thing, and all the little things Iíve gotten into have been my things only and exclusively, and so itís kind of taught me how to go ahead and lead life now.
TB: OK. Is there anything that I havenít asked you that you would like to comment on? Thatís okay if thereís not.
JK: I donít think so.
TB: Well, thank you very much. We know that you are going off into the world now.
TB: Good luck.
JK. Thank you.