Written by Madeleine Jenness, Assistant Editor
Reese Sherman (they/them) is stepping into the role of Director of Government Relations previously held by Mumina Ali. They are a first-year transfer student and a junior majoring in Global Studies.
Below are the questions I asked them in an email interview. I have included all the questions I asked and all answers received for the sake of transparency as this is an opportunity and platform for the newly-elected members to self-describe themselves.
Q: What’s been your favorite pastime during the pandemic?
“Because we couldn’t hang out in person, my friends decided to make a Discord server and have these game nights whenever we were all available, and we would play either Minecraft, Among Us, or other little games like skribbl.io together. We also invited other people that we all knew separately, and so it was really fun to meet and make new friends, and probably kept us all sane too.”
Q: What in your life and college experience led you to run for Director of Government Relations?
“I grew up in Federal Way, and like so many other areas in the Puget Sound, it’s an extremely diverse community. It is also one that is heavily segregated, particularly among socioeconomic lines. My family came to the United States from Ukraine and Uzbekistan with only what they could carry with them and raised my sister and me comfortably. But as I was growing up, I saw how many of my friends and peers didn’t have that comfort and stability that I did, despite many of their families having been here for generations. It’s always bothered me, and it’s something that no one should ever have to go through. Hearing Bernie Sanders for the first time in 2016, and again in 2020, is what got me involved and showed me that we could address these problems. And this past summer really made me reflect on who I am—especially with realizing that I’m trans and the issues we face as well—but also on what I believe in. After starting my first year here, it was amazing to see how many of my peers are already actively involved and gave me the opportunity to join them. I want to give back to a community that has already given me so much in the little time I’ve been here, and to be a voice and an ally in our community, especially in government, because representation is everything.”
Q: What is something you want the community to know about you personally?
“I love photography! It’s always really interesting to me how spontaneous and “in the moment” it can be, especially with mobile photography. It’s something that I don’t often do, and usually, I only take pictures if I’m going somewhere and I see something that really stands out to me, but I also feel like the photos I take mean so much more to me at the same time. I think one of my goals for the rest of this year is to start taking photos more often and also finally getting a new camera.”
Q: You’ve said that “Though [you’re] new to UWB, [you’ve] met so many students fighting to address climate change, institutionalized racism & white supremacy, xenophobia against communities of color, and more.” What are your hopes to bring these students together to work to make that change both on our campus and in our government?
“One of the main things that I’ve learned at UW Bothell is how intersectional many of these issues are. My goal is to try to put an emphasis on that intersectionality but also to organize alongside students. Issues that I’ve discussed a little before, like environmental racism, come to mind. I also hope that town halls can be held, along with the Director of Student Advocacy and student organizations, to extensively discuss these issues, and help inform others within our community about how to become active in these movements. I also personally want to be involved in student organizations on campus, and work with them and alongside my peers, and make sure that ASUWB fully supports their work. I hope that this outside pressure from my peers and student organizations, along with pressure and support from my role, and ASUWB directly working with the university leadership, along with government officials, can accomplish our goals.”
Q: Your slogan is “Be bold, act bold, make change.” How do you intend to help people do this? How do you live this in your own life?
“I want my peers to know, and this is something that I hope to emphasize throughout the entire year, that we often hear that some ideas for improving our communities are unrealistic. This is absolutely not true, and issues like universal healthcare, or ranked-choice voting, something that we’ve been told repeatedly as being ‘out of reach,’ are likely to become a ballot initiative in Washington within the next few years, and King County is already considering putting it on the ballot this year. For me, it took some time to understand in detail what I believe in, to discuss them with others who don’t know about these issues and to not be discouraged or apologetic when pushing for them.”
Q: What do you think society, especially the community on college campuses, will look like going into next year as we come out of the pandemic?
“I think for college campuses, the community culture will be as much starting from scratch as it will be the same. For UW Bothell, and I’m sure for many other universities, there are so many students who have never been to campus or experienced what it was like before the pandemic. I’m one of those students as well, and so I would imagine it will probably be awkward for a lot of us, and also a lot of improvising, but maybe new events or traditions will come out of the next few years, along with the current ones we already have. I really do hope that people will be more open to each other and trust each other, something that I think we’ve struggled with over the past year.”
Q: Do you have anything else you would like to say to the community?
“I can’t wait to meet you all next year, and I hope you all have a really amazing summer!”