Chelsea Joefield joins WWU Ethnic Student Center as club advisor and program manager

Zoe Fraley
Office of University Communications

Club leaders and students in Western’s Ethnic Student Center will have a new go-to person on campus, as Chelsea Joefield has joined WWU as the ESC club advisor and program manager.

As a recent Western graduate who worked in several positions on campus during her studies, Joefield brings valuable perspective and experience to this new position on campus. She spoke to Western Today about the job and shared her goals for supporting and engaging students as she gets started in the role.

Western Today: Tell me about yourself! What were you doing before you started this job at Western?

Chelsea Joefield: I became a student employee at the beginning of my second year at WWU. I was a studio assistant (I later became a studio coordinator) in the Hacherl Research & Writing studio in the library. Shortly after beginning that job, I also began working in the Digital Media Center as a web designer. When I moved home in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, I was not socializing with friends or doing anything other than schoolwork, my jobs, and watching my younger brothers so I applied for another on campus job. I began working in the ESC as the Advocacy & Programming Coordinator in June of 2020. I held all three of my jobs through June of 2022 when I graduated from Western with a BS in Public Health and Area Health Educator Certification.

WT: Congratulations on your graduation! How do you think your experience as a recent student and student employee will benefit you and the students you work with in this position?

CJ: With my experiences as a student and student employee, I think it will benefit me well as I have knowledge of the way the AS systems work outside of professional staff. It is difficult to expect student leaders to successfully navigate systems that are difficult to understand as professional staff members. I hope that my position will serve as a buffer that can work to streamline some of the processes the students have to complete to run their clubs.

WT: Can you tell me about what the ESC Club Advisor & Program Manager does and what your goals are for this position?

CJ: The ESC Club Advisor & Program Manager serves as an advisor to the 20 Ethnic Student Center clubs and their leaders to provide guidance, support, and resources throughout the year. This position supervises the student employees within the ESC and works to create and collaborate on programming that provides our students with community, discussion, and space to grow through identity exploration.

Some goals that I have for this position are streamlining access to resources. Many professional staff and faculty here at WWU assume or expect that students have sufficient information about or access to the resources available to them. Many of the resources that I know about are due to being a student employee because we are expected to serve as a resource to those that we interact with. Students should be able to access the vast number of resources available to them without making extra calls, emails, and trips to different locations. I would like to engage in the work that allows us to take some of the burden of finding and utilizing these resources from our students and student employees who have limited time.

I want to increase engagement of new students. Many third- and fourth-year students did not know about the Ethnic Student Center as an office or the Multicultural Center as a space during their time at WWU. I would like to do more outreach across campus offices to encourage students to interact with MCC events, utilize the spaces built for them, and find community in friends, clubs, and hosted programs.

I also want to evaluate student social needs. As we work to meet the basic needs of students across our campus, we should also be evaluating their social needs. When and where do students feel the most comfortable or welcome? What motivates students to engage with each other and build friendships they may have otherwise missed? How can we encourage students to explore their identities in spaces they feel safe to be open in? Overall, we need to evaluate and recognize what our students need to build healthy friendships, relationships, and networks.

WT: Why do you see this as an important position on campus, and what interested you about this job?

CJ: This position will alleviate a lot of the stress that student employees in the ESC have been carrying. The past year was fruitful for our clubs but stressful for the club leaders and student employees as they worked through the first year back from no events and no in-person meetings. I am excited to provide a more solid foundation for our clubs and for the office as we move forward with programming and hopefully more club events.

WT: What do you want students to know about you and your role in the ESC?

CJ: I hope that I can be a better resource than I was as a student employee. As this position is full time, I am able to do the work that is needed and the work that we have been trying to do while supporting our student employees and students. I want you to come to me with questions, concerns, wants, and needs. I have always been open and ready to work with both individuals and groups, and that will not change. Whether you need help with resources, reporting, or community, I will have an open door for you and we can work through things together.

WT: What’s the best way for students to connect with you if they have questions?

CJ: I am hoping to keep as much of an open-door policy as I can when I am not in meetings and welcome people to stop by!

You can also talk to student employees in the ESC to let them know you would like to chat with me if I am unavailable. I am hoping to set up a little meeting request/message basket for students to drop notes in that will always be available at the front desk and frequently checked.

I am otherwise available through email : joefiec@wwu.edu, or Teams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - 11:29am
Chelsea Joefield stands in a hall with windows on either side.

Chelsea Joefield is the new club advisor and program manager for the Ethnic Student Center.