WSU Forms Student Government for Distance Students

PULLMAN, Wash. — Approval of a government for Washington State University distance education
students today was hailed as a major step in meeting the needs of this special group of students by the
acting president of ASWSU-EDP, Rachelle Anderson-Wynkoop of Marine City, Mich.
Anderson-Wynkoop and Acting Vice President Joleen Smith of Bremerton appeared before the
university’s Board of Regents, which approved the constitution and by-laws for ASWSU-EDP. The action
is believed the first taken by a traditional institution to establish a student government for distance
education students.
The student officers also are taking part in the annual Homecoming open house of the university’s
Distance Education Program this weekend.
The proposal for the new student government was presented to the regents by T. L. “Les” Purce, vice
president for Extended University Affairs.
He said the approval addresses a missing component in distance learning — the experience gained when
students interact outside of classes in an informal manner with other students like themselves.
Anderson-Wynkoop said the new organization now provides EDP students with the opportunity to meet
together, exchange ideas and to build “a sense of community.”
The operation of ASWSU-EDP will be conducted over the World Wide Web. Students will be able to
join in the online meetings conducted twice each month, giving all students an opportunity to participate in
the functions of student government. The nearly 800 students enrolled in EDP courses live in Washington,
33 other states and 5 foreign countries.
Funding for ASWSU-EDP is provided through service and activities fees paid by all enrolled students.
The committee responsible for dispersing funds has allocated $35,144 to the organization to cover expenses
this year. Most of the money is being used for the development of the Web-based system.
EDP officials say the student government program will complement the academic experience through
online discussions about time management, study tips, scholarship and internship opportunities. The Web
site will also allow students to sell and trade textbooks, form study groups or find a mentor to make their
student experience more successful.
ASWSU-EDP takes the delivery of a distance learning program to the next step, according to Purce.
By providing not just courses and the necessary services to support those courses, but also the other
elements that round-out a college experience in a manner that is innovative and appropriate, ASWSU-EDP
enhances both the academic programs and student life, he said.