Abbie Whittemore won the election for 2023-24 Vice President of Student Organizations (VPSO), leading competitor Aaron Khan-Gumm by 64 votes.
What is a VPSO?
Under senate bylaws, the Vice President of Student Organizations facilitates and chairs the Organizational Council. With the office of Student Inclusion, Involvement and Leadership, that council must review half of all active student organizations every year. The council must also hold hearings for groups asking for recognition as a Registered Student Organization.
“When creating the Organizational Council, I plan to be intentional with the individuals selected, so there is a wide variety of organizations, backgrounds, and perspectives at the table,” Whittemore said over email. “I plan to change the process to add an application for individuals who want to sit on the Organizational Council and gain experience with Senate and the role of VPSO.”
Under the bylaws, Whittemore will also be responsible for “[fostering] the growth and development of newly approved student organizations” and holding eight office hours a week, which can be used for meeting with RSOs.
Whittemore has served as senator of the College of Arts and Sciences and is the current vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the sorority Alpha Phi.
“I have served on an executive team for two years, so I know what effective collaboration, communication and accountability looks like in a student organization,” Whittemore said.
Whittemore’s campaign and plans for her role
Part of Whittemore’s platform is transparency and accessibility. Within this, she wants to put in place a workshop or event “that details the process for creating a temporary RSO.”
“This year, a goal of mine is to really reestablish transparency and get students involved with Senate,” Whittemore said. “One way to do this is to condense information about Senate and make it accessible for the student body, and this will be planned out early on in our upcoming term.”
Before her election, Whittemore said she would let students know weeks ahead of time which RSOs will come to the senate floor. A schedule of organizations would be shared through the website or social media.
Whittemore also planned to share the reasons why student organizations are accepted or denied in the RSO approval process.
Whittemore aims to increase student attendance of organizations’ events with a new calendar. Presidents of organizations would be able to add events to the calendar, where students could view them in advance.
“The concerns and needs of all student organizations will be prioritized, regardless of size and member count,” Whittemore said. “I will advocate on behalf of all student organizations on Drake’s campus.”