Western Nevada College News & Notes: Benjamin Miller enjoying role of leading student body
The secret is out. Current Associated Students of Western Nevada President Benjamin Miller became involved in student government at Western Nevada College so he could wear the Willy the Wildcat mascot costume.
He won’t deny it. And he’s really proud of it.
“I come from sort of a performing background … both my mom and dad are involved with music and acting so I always wondered what it would be like,” said Miller, a graduate of Carson High School who is in his second year at WNC. “I never got the chance in high school, never had the chance in middle school. I finally had the chance here. I was only taking three classes and working a part-time job so I figured I’d go for it.”
After serving as a representative for ASWN last school year, Miller decided to take the step up and assume the role of president for the 2019-20 school year. Miller was appointed president in September.
“Since I have been with ASWN the longest out of all of our members, it was most convenient and effective for me to go for the position. Not to say the rest of our members are inexperienced, but I want to make it as easy for them as possible to contribute what they can and not have the stress of having to be in the presidential position,” he said.
Miller has appreciated the dedication and hard work of ASWN’s other officers. Gabrielle Clark is serving as vice president and Addison Fredeen, Desirae Blunt-Lamkey, Yamillen Castillo and Diana Enriquez-Alanis are performing the roles of senators.
“As soon as the rest of our student body either graduated or transferred, it sort of left me and my associate, Addison, to fill in the gaps, and we have plenty of members from Fallon, all of them dedicated and hard workers,” Miller said. “Gabby has shown tremendous dedication to this school. I really appreciate her. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. They are the best team. I couldn’t ask for better, and the same with (ASWN adviser and Student Life Coordinator) Heather (Rikalo).”
He said becoming part of ASWN changed him and his life last year.
“It was fun. We did all sorts of things. We put on our Haunted House, we had food drives,” Miller said. “I found that as soon as I joined, I started noticing all these changes in my life: I was more responsible, I was more empathetic toward people, I was willing to smile more in public, even in settings where it wasn’t necessary.”
Now that he has the smile down, that doesn’t mean that Miller is destined for a career in politics. He is pursuing his associate degree in graphic design but would like to help those less fortunate.
“I don’t have much interest in politics, but hope to one day open a successful homeless and food bank shelter in the Carson City area,” he said. “I’d like to think the biggest changes are the ones made by an individual who has a goal, not by politicians who just want to make the majority happy.”
As president, he has a few goals in mind for the 2019-20 school year:
“Ultimately, my goal would be to bring back sports teams, but that would require a tremendous amount of money,” he said. “My next goal would be to bring more counseling and therapeutic services for students. Personally, I have met so many students who are afraid of failure or people who feel so skeptical that they might not be able to do what they really want to do.”
Whenever he can, Miller encourages other students on campus to become involved with ASWN or other campus organizations.
“I tell anyone who I think has the slightest amount of free time, ‘Hey, if you ever want to make a little extra money or you feel like giving back to the college, or if you need something to give you that motivation consistently, then join student government, where we are always taking new members and it’s a really fulfilling experience,’” Miller said.
When he concludes his presidency in the spring, Miller would like to think he made a difference for the students on campus. He has walked in their shoes and even filled the large shoes of an anonymous, fury animal with whiskers.
“It’s a strange feeling being in that costume, I’ll admit, but if it makes the little kids happy and brings the spirit up for all the students, then it’s worth it,” Miller said. “You have to give out so many high-fives, hugs, fist bumps, wave to people and at times do cartwheels. I don’t know who it is now. It’s a secret that only Heather knows.”
By joining ASWN, Miller gave up any anonymity he once had on campus, and that’s fine with him.
Winter Session Provides Students with More Opportunities
Western Nevada College is launching winter session in December, creating more opportunities for students as they pursue their higher education goals.
Winter classes offer you the opportunity to earn college credit in just 3-5 weeks. They will allow you to get ahead in your pursuit of a degree. They will enable you to catch up on courses you couldn’t take earlier. More importantly, they will allow you to graduate sooner.
Classes begin on Dec. 16 or 30 and run through Jan. 17.
Winter classes are listed within the 2020 spring class schedule and will be added in myWNC as spring classes. Refer to the course number when enrolling. View classes for both terms at https://www.wnc.edu/class-schedule/
Current students can start registering for winter and spring on Monday, Nov. 4. Registration for new students begins Monday, Nov. 11 via myWNC.
Spring semester begins Jan. 21. Anyone new to WNC can apply for admission and take care of other pre-registration requirements at wnc.edu/starthere/.
Listen to the October Show of Western Connection
If you missed the original broadcast of the WNC’s October edition of The Western Connection, it’s not too late to access it through KNVC (95.1 FM) radio station’s website.
You can find the program at https://knvc.org/local-program/the-western-connection. Guests on the October show are Randy Naylor and Juan Ramirez of Welding and new Veterans Resource Coordinator Vincent Rivera.
WNC President Dr. Vincent Solis and NSHE Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Nate Mackinnon serve as co-hosts for the monthly program that began in November 2018 and focuses on promoting the college and higher education in the community.
Community Invited to Dead Celebration on Oct. 31
Halloween festivities begin early on Thursday, Oct. 31 when students from the Latino Cohort program and the Puente Parent Committee present the fourth annual Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) Celebration.
The community is invited to attend this traditional Mexican celebration, which honors deceased loved ones and/or their heroes by creating an altar that includes their pictures and favorite foods. The celebration runs from noon to 2 p.m. in the Bristlecone Art Gallery on WNC’s Carson City campus.
Besides an altar display contest, the festivities will include sugar skull face painting and games such as la loteria (bingo), el gallito (stomp the balloon) and musical chairs. Enjoy Mexican bread (pan de muertos) and Mexican hot chocolate.
For more information, phone 775-445-3215.
Other important upcoming dates at WNC include:
Nevada Promise Scholarship deadline: Oct. 31
Nevada Promise Scholarship Work Day: Nov. 7
WNC’s Men’s Leadership Summit: Nov. 8, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Silver Oak Golf Course’s clubhouse.
WNMTC’s showing of the musical “Matilda,” Nov. 8-24, weekends, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. Ticket info: wnmtc.com or by leaving a message at 775-445-4249.
WNC’s Women’s Leadership Summit: Nov. 22, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Silver Oak Golf Course’s clubhouse.