by Liam Chalk
ASH-who? If you’re a first-year, a confused sophomore, or an upperclassman so sleep-deprived that you don’t know what the heck is going on, this is a question that may be on your mind.
ASHMC, or the Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College, is a student-run organization whose leadership board functions as the student government. Because a part of student tuition goes to fund ASHMC, every student enrolled at Harvey Mudd is a member. Also, ASHMC is completely independent from the college, registered as a non-profit entity while being financially and structurally separate from the faculty and administration.
The elected and appointed representatives of ASHMC are broken down into two groups: the Executive Board and the Senate. The Executive Board is led by the President and issues are discussed by the Senate Chair, Treasurer, Club Director, Committee for Activities Planning (CAP) Director, Diversity Director, Social Director, Wellness Director, Sustainability Director, and the Residential Affairs Liaisons. The Senate is led by the Senate Chair and issues are voted on by the class presidents and the dorm presidents. The current ASHMC President is Kyle Grace ‘21, the Senate Chair is Alice Chi ‘21, and the Treasurer is Chris Thompson ‘21. ASHMC’s main role is to ensure that when the student government or the school administration makes important decisions, the impact on every student is considered.
They are also responsible for ensuring “transparency and communication” for the student body, ideas that President Kyle Grace says motivate him to perform his duties faithfully. On a regular basis, ASHMC is also in charge of allocating funds for clubs, planning student events and parties, and communicating student feedback to the school administration. So far this year, ASHMC has discussed the changes to Orientation, the suspension of appointments at Student Health Services, the long lines at Turf Dinner, the possible renovations to the LAC, and problems with CMC party ticket allocation. ASHMC plays a large role in determining the student experience at Harvey Mudd, but each student has a large impact on ASHMC decisions because Harvey Mudd is such a small school.
As students settle into the new school year, first-year class presidents Marcos Acosta ‘23 and Michelle Lum ‘23 are beginning their roles as part of ASHMC. Marcos believes that ASHMC is special because “Everything here is student run… While there is some professor or adult supervision, it’s mostly the students who are in charge of everything.” Working within ASHMC appealed to Michelle because “ASHMC is people who generally want to help the school improve. It’s your classmates and your friends who want to help the school.” Michelle and Marcos are already bringing new ideas to the table, including “building relationships between students and the professors” through joint social events so that students can “feel more comfortable approaching the professor for any reason whether it’s personal or career based.” Michelle and Marcos also are open to feedback and new ideas from their classmates. Michelle said, “Mainly I want to tell the rest of our class that we’re also your classmates and your friends. So feel free to just come talk to us whenever… We love talking to people.”
Currently, ASHMC is working on changing the in-dorm system in room draw, reforming noise policy, measuring the satisfaction of dorm placement, and understanding the anonymous complaints left on the Shanahan chalkboard wall about the need for improved communication between the administration and the student body.
Kyle says that “Students usually like to have input when changes are made, and like to be a part of the decision-making process around student programs. So I think that’s kind of a unique thing about Mudd… I think at Mudd, autonomy extends to a lot more areas than it does in other places.”
If you are interested in learning more about ASHMC, be sure to check out the ASHMC Constitution, the Senate Bylaws, or read the minutes from the latest meeting. ASHMC meetings are open to the public, occurring every Friday at 11:30am in the Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons, Mitchell Private Dining Room.