Making a difference with Western Nevada College students has become the driving force for new student government President Suzanna Stankute.
After serving as a senator and secretary for the Associated Students of Western Nevada last year, Stankute decided to take the next step as the group’s top leader for the 2022-23 school year.
“I always wanted to be involved in a club or organization on campus and finding ASWN was really beneficial for me,” Stankute said. “This year, I decided to step into the role of president because I wanted to expand and organize our outreach to the students of WNC.”
Students are frequenting the Dini Student Center more often this fall and much of that has to do with the coziness and friendliness of the center, as well as the frequent student-centered events presented by Wildcat Life and ASWN.
“It’s really great to see such an interest from our students,” Stankute said. “I think there are many things to attribute this to: ASWN has been advertising in a few different ways which have affected our turnout. Our Student Life Adviser, Heather Rikalo, has also been working to make the Student Center more alluring to students, including signage and new furniture. It’s created a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.”
Already this fall the center has hosted a Welcome Back Week, Fall Festival, Dia de los Muertos and Coffee with a Cop, drawing students into the center with free food, activities and an opportunity to catch up with friends and meet new ones.
“I think it’s good because that means the students are enjoying our events and encouraging us to do more,” Stankute said. “I am surrounded by a great group of Senators and volunteers who make all of this possible. It’s definitely different to be leading ASWN, but I am finding it to be a very rewarding position, and I am excited to see what lies ahead!”
Besides Stankute, ASWN’s leaders are Gisela Munoz Leon, vice president; Jordany Arevalo, senator; Tyler Arson, senator; Zackary Azevedo, senator; Alyssa Butler, senator; Logan McAllister, senator; Mario Meza, senator; Aylin Aguilar, senator; and Sherlyn Vasquez, representative.
“We are proud of Suzanna and all of our student government officers,” said Rikalo, who doubles at Wildcat Life’s coordinator. “They serve a very important role at WNC and make the college experience better for all of our students. Their commitment to student government and WNC are very appreciated.”
Earlier this semester, Stankute and other ASWN officers were presented with the unexpected opportunity to meet with Gov. Steve Sisolak. During his tour of campus at the outset of fall semester, Sisolak visited the Student Center and took the time to chat with ASWN members about their college experience at WNC and what their goals are.
“Gov. Sisolak's visit was amazing!” Stankute said. “He toured the Student Center with an emphasis on the Wildcat Reserve, and kindly sat down with a group of students. It was really great to get a chance to talk to him and hear his thoughts on WNC and his plans for the state. It felt good as a student to have a political figure take an interest in the students.”
Like many of the WNC student presidents before her, Stankute spent a year learning about student government, building a rapport with other students with the same interests, before pursuing the presidency.
“ASWN offered me a new look into WNC’s campus,” she said. “I learned about different initiatives and resources that are offered to students. I found that ASWN offered a unique community and I felt welcomed by the group. I noticed the wide impact that ASWN has on WNC’s students and wanted to see how I could help that.”
Making students more aware of Wildcat Reserve, the college’s food and hygiene pantry, is one of Stankute’s objectives for this year.
“The biggest thing I'd like to work on this year is our communication to students,” Stankute said. “We have so many amazing resources, like the Wildcat Reserve, and they are not being utilized to their full potential. We have been discussing some ways to better communicate these resources and are planning to get those out soon.”
Stankute is studying for her Associate of Arts degree at WNC and plans to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno to pursue a degree relating to public relations.
“Due to (instructor Kyle Swenson), I found a passion for writing both professionally and creatively. I enjoy writing novels and a large goal of mine is to become a published writer,” she said.
Students interested in joining ASWN can contact Wildcat Life Coordinator and ASWN Adviser Heather Rikalo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 775-445-3241. ASWN will be taking applications for new members for spring semester.
Accelerated classes in winter session
The five-week period between semesters provides students with the opportunity to take classes during winter session.
WNC offers accelerated online courses in three and five-week increments for full credit.
This means students can get ahead or catch up in the degree they are pursuing, or individuals can take a class that interests them.
Register now for five-week classes that begin on Monday, Dec. 19 and end on Friday, Jan. 20 and three-week courses that start on Tuesday, Jan. 3 and conclude on Friday, Jan. 20.
To view winter session classes and their descriptions, go to wnc.edu/class-schedule/.
Learn more about ‘Cleopatra,’ ‘History of Astronomy’
Devote a couple of hours to learning more about astronomy and history in November at Jack C. Davis Observatory on Western Nevada College’s Carson City campus.
Northern Nevada lecturer Mike Thomas is presenting free talks on “Cleopatra” on Friday, Nov. 18 and the “History of Astronomy” on Saturday, Nov. 19. Both presentations begin at 6:30 p.m., with the doors to the observatory opening at 6 p.m. The new starting times are in effect for Thomas’ fall schedule of lectures at the observatory.
First, Thomas will deliver the true story about the amazing life of Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC.
Secondly, Thomas will talk about the great moments in the advancement in the study of the heavens in his “History of Astronomy” presentation.
The observatory is open to the public from sundown to 11 p.m. on Saturday nights for Star Parties. The Western Nevada Astronomical Society hosts these parties, bringing together people with an interest in astronomy. Newcomers are welcome.
Jack C. Davis Observatory is located at 2269 Vanpatten Ave.