ASPLU’s traditional affinity for social change

By Greg Brewis
A dedication to activism and aiming for real change in the world has been a characteristic of student leadership on campus for decades.

Saying yes to life’s opportunities, fighting for what you believe in, avoiding the tyranny of the majority and standing up for what’s right – that’s the collective advice that four former student body presidents have for today’s students.

4 ASPLU Presidents

Laurie Soine '88Laurie Soine ’88 lives in Shoreline, Wash. She is an adult and acute care nurse practitioner in nuclear cardiology at the University of Washington Medical Center and is a teaching associate in the Department of Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Martha (Miller) Ward '77Martha (Miller) Ward ’77 lives in Seattle. She is a senior vice president in the financial services industry.

David C. Wold '56David C. Wold ’56 lives in Tacoma. He is a retired Bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA.

Susan (Carnine) Hecker '03Susan (Carnine) Hecker ’03 lives in Salt Lake City. She is a physician in her first year of residency training at the University of Utah.

None of them will be disappointed when they visit campus in October for Homecoming and a special reunion for alumni who were active participants in student government as undergraduates.

Students today are as dedicated as ever to social justice. It’s environmental sustainability that is their prime cause.

Scene met online with four former ASPLU presidents and asked them to share their experiences as campus leaders and their advice for current students. A current student leader then confirmed that some associated students traditions live on.

“I had no political aspirations, nor grand strategic goal,” said Laurie Soine ’88. But when the opportunity to run for president presented itself, “I mustered the courage to say ‘yes.’ The amazing year that ensued taught me that simply saying ‘yes’ to the opportunities that life offers often results in the most unforeseen adventures.”

When seizing these opportunities, students should believe in the power of their convictions, said Martha (Miller) Ward ’77. “Fight for what you believe is best for students,” she said. When she was in ASPLU, Ward said, “we were able to work with Student Life to make birth control available at the Student Health Center.

“If you do not act, who will?”

Personal interaction, collaboration and compromise were the lessons that David C. Wold ’56 took from his days as an ASPLC officer. He distinctly recalls the importance of “working with groups holding varying viewpoints and gaining the ability to guide them toward a workable solution to problems.

“I learned how to conduct a meeting that allows all to participate and keeps a small minority from tyrannizing the majority,” he said.

Wold advises current ASPLU leaders to, “Listen carefully to your constituency; don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t take yourselves too seriously.”

“Be an advocate for people,” is the advice that Susan (Carnine) Hecker ’03 has for ASPLU officers. “That should be
your number-one priority in student government, just as it is in my profession, medicine.

“The best course of action is often the hardest to take,” Hecker said. “Keep the interests of our fellow students as your first priority and don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s not the ‘political’ thing to do. Action will always trump appearance. Know that what you do or don’t do today really will impact both current and future students.”

At Homecoming 2007: Proud Past, Bright Future, all former student leaders will be delighted to see that their convictions live on in student government today.

Today students are “greening” the campus and ASPLU is leading the way. “My goal this year is not to do a lot of big programming but instead keep at all of the small things that will get people into sustainable habits that can make a big difference,” said Tamara Power-Drutis ’08, ASPLU vice president.

Power-Drutis has been focusing on leadership development and how campus leaders, ASPLU, resident assistants and the Diversity Center can all model sustainable lifestyles.

“We are working on a student pledge where students can focus on those portions of their life that waste energy, water and recycling, composting food, transportation. By focusing on those areas we can get first-years to create a sustainable lifestyle and get in that habit right away,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with former student leaders at Homecoming to learn about the issues that were important then, in particular how long sustainability has been a student concern at PLU,” Power-Drutis said.

“I’d also like to challenge them to see what we are doing on campus in environmental sustainability and then join us in incorporating those practices into their daily lives.”

The affinity group portion of Homecoming 2007: Proud Past, Bright Future is for everyone who was a part of ASPLU through its more than 75 years of student leadership on the campus of Pacific Lutheran University. If you were the president, a senator or on a planning committee you are all invited to gather together to reminisce about your time in student government and meet the current leadership and learn what they are working on today. There will be a rededication celebration on Sunday in the newly renovated University Center, the hub of student leadership for the past 30 years, following Homecoming worship.

Join us for the following events as we rekindle old friendships and remember the leadership and community of ASPLU.

  • Mentor Dinner, October 12
  • ASPLU Reunion Reception, October 12
  • University Center Rededication 
  • Celebration, October 14


Pencil us in

Upcoming events

September 8
Tailgate Party in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

September 15
Tailgate Party in River Falls, Wisc.

September 20
GOLD Alumni Success Series Event

September 28-30
Alumni Board Fall Meeting

October 6
Tailgate Party in Spokane

October 12-14

October 20
Tailgate Party in McMinnville, Ore.

November 2-4
Family Weekend

November 4
Parents Council Fall Meeting

November 26
East Coast Connection Event in New York

For more information: or call 800-ALUM-PLU.

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Photo Top: Tamara Power-Drutis