Monday, July 19, 2010

Student leaders get new advisor

Jason Mayburry     For the past three years, Jason Mayburry has helped WSU Online students with technical issues. Now he’s helping students help one another.
     Mayburry, formerly a Student Services program assistant, has a new job advising the online student government. He coordinates ASWSU Online’s in-person student activities, such as the Tacoma Rendezvous, the Hardwood Classic, parties and pre-graduation receptions. He also supervises the information technology assistants, who maintain course spaces in the Angel learning management system.
     “Christina Sturman created a well-oiled machine,” he said of his predecessor as ASWSU Online advisor. “We’re taking that same model and building on its strengths.”
     One upcoming change is a redesign of the ASWSU Online Web site, he said. “We want to make it more in line with on-campus program sites, while preserving elements that address the needs of online students.”
     Also in the works is a plan to offer University Recreation services to online students. More...     “We’re looking at things like providing access to online personal training and nutrition,” said student government President Larry Lawrence.
     More change is on the way. “We’ve got a crop of new senators coming in,” Mayburry said. “They’re ambitious and involved, and they’re going to start pushing the envelope.”
     Mayburry brings a special empathy to his new position. In 2006, he was working 30 hours a week at WSU Pullman’s writing center, helping raising two children, and finishing his English degree. He supplemented his on-campus studies with online courses and graduated in spring 2007. He was hired that fall by Student Services, where he was known for his genial manner, then promoted this summer.
     “Jason is doing a great job getting everything organized for the upcoming academic year,” Lawrence said. “We’re all glad to have him on board.”
     One challenge, Mayburry said, is that many students aren’t aware of the online student government, even though it was the nation’s first, controls hundreds of thousands of dollars in student money, and has established dozens of scholarships.
     “We need to be innovative and come up with fresh ways to let students know that there is a student government,” Mayburry said. “For example, any student can join a committee if they’re interested. But they don’t know those committees are out there, which is a huge hurdle.”
     Even if they do know, he said, online students are already busy with their education, families and jobs. So why should they want to join the student government?
     “It looks great on your resume,” Mayburry said. “But most importantly, you get a wealth of knowledge and experience. It introduces you to a whole new world of decision-making, and it’s a lot of fun.”

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