by Robin Gericke, Managing Editor

In an effort to increase representation on campus, there is a new partnership between Asbury Student Congress (ASC) and the Office of Intercultural Programs. At the Feb. 28 ASC meeting, a proposed new branch of ASC was passed that will add a Vice President of Student Intercultural Programs to Executive Cabinet (EC).

ASC is currently composed of three different branches: Student Activities, Student Governance Association and Spiritual Life Board, and each branch is led by a student who serves as a Vice President and facilitator of the committees within their branch. The new position will be of equal influence as the current three branches and will have the resources to increase the number of events and programs that educate and celebrate cultural diversity. It is an appointed position, and the Vice President will be chosen by the elected members of EC.

“This past year, I have had the incredible opportunity to develop a relationship with Asbury’s Office of Intercultural Programs on behalf of Asbury Student Congress,” said Student Body President Matthew Jackson. “Through establishing relationships with the office’s Director, Reverend Esther Jadhav, and many of the students involved in the programming, I am excited for the vibrant future Asbury has to reflect an increasingly diverse Body of Christ.”

The new Vice President and their committees will be unique due to the intentional collaboration they will have with the pre-existing branches of student government, Jackson explained. It will also provide international and U.S. ethnic minority students increased representation intended to strengthen their voice to the student body and administration through their participation in ASC.

Sophomore Stephanie Beltran, a member of the Latino Student Association, hopes this position will increase cultural competency among all students. “As a student who happens to be an ethnic minority on Asbury’s campus, I have struggled with seeing intentional representation through student leadership positions. With this being said, I find it difficult to wholeheartedly feel connected to my campus when there is a lack of diversity and cultural awareness,” she said. “Rather than being impatient or upset about it, I am instead eager to both discuss and celebrate my cultural differences with all students attending Asbury. I know we can enhance the cultural competency among the student body by implementing a position of leadership focused on representing students of different cultures and ethnicities.”

Student voting on this change to the Student Body Constitution will begin on Wednesday, April 5 and end on Friday, April 7 during normal meal hours outside of the cafeteria. If it passes with a two-thirds majority of those who vote, the new branch will be introduced in the Fall 2017 semester.