New president of Clark Honors College Student Association hopes to perpetuate legacy of excellence
Garrett West@@[email protected]@ sees the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon as the best of two worlds. According to him, small class sizes and a rigorous academic program give the honors college the intimate appeal of a prestigious private school, while its placement within a large university provides students with a variety of academic, social and extracurricular opportunities often absent in academically focused institutions. For him, this duality made all the difference in the process of evaluating potential colleges.
“I love that the honors college has an intensive and demanding curriculum and is nestled within a flagship university,” West said. “The reason I chose the University of Oregon was because of the honors college’s ability to offer a valuable education while allowing its students to study in any department that we wished. To me, this represents an education rich both in depth and in broadness.”
It was West’s firm belief in the prowess of the honors college that drove him to campaign for an executive position this spring in the Clark Honors College Student Association — the student organization affiliated with enhancing the student aspect of the honors college, specifically through providing opportunities for academic, social and community engagement.
West believes he understands the range of obstacles faced by students within the honors college and has developed the critical thinking skills and resource connections necessary to remedy them effectively. He served in a leadership position within the honors college for the last two years as the student representative for his graduating class in addition to transportation coordinator over the current academic year.
“There are a lot of things I’ve noticed as a student that people have been talking about improving for years and I really want to improve them,” West said. “I am proud to say that our CHCSA is one of the widest reaching, dedicated and impressive associations in the entire nation … I know of its strengths and intend to improve upon them, making it even better.”
Shortly after he declared his intent to run when his only position withdrew from the race. However, West’s official appointment as the college association’s president occurred at a weekly meeting on April 8 after a student courtesy vote, in which he went unopposed and secured his place as executive.
As president, he will devote himself to the oversight of approximately two dozen student officers; maintain close relationships with Honors College administrators, faculty, staff and alumni; coordinate the almost 100 social, academic and service events hosted by the Clark Honors College Association throughout the year as well as coordinate events with other student associations and aid in the management of student outreach.
In his own words, “It’s a really, really big job.”
“I knew that if I decided to run I would be able to affect change in the lives of students in the honors college,” West said. “I want to make sure that students who choose to enroll in the honors college have the services they need, the programs they deserve and that Chapman Hall feels like a second home.”
West’s primary agenda is to expand upon existing honors college resources and programs, improving their efficiency, making them more accessible to students and in some cases reviving them from the dead.
He hopes to utilize the connections and expertise of honors college professors, alumni and upperclassmen by creating an internship bank in which students could easily access opportunities for professional advancement.
Michael Sugar,@@[email protected]@ outgoing president of the CHCSA, believes in the potential of the programs that West plans to initialize to enhance the reputation of the honors college. Sugar is optimistic about West’s ability to perpetuate the honors college’s legacy of excellence that he has worked hard to uphold in his term as president.
“I feel like he has a vision for the future, which is the strongest of any student in the honors college,” Sugar said of West. “Garrett has a lot that he wants to do and I think that he’s going to do it extremely well.”
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