Q&A: Pauline Tolentino

Has work in Student Engagement & Activities at UW Bothell changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic? Pauline Tolentino, program manager, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson, director of communications.

Q. What did you learn during the 18 months of remote operations, & how does it inform your work now?

A. I learned a lot about the importance of connection and engagement. There were many challenges and hard moments, including learning how to use Zoom and transitioning what used to be in-person events, meetings and opportunities for students into something virtual. And, trying to redefine what it means to have a “successful event” and how to reach students, from wherever they were learning, studying or participating in events.

Pauline Tolentino, program manager, Student Engagement & Activities

Zoom and online fatigue were very real, and we had to figure out how to still bring joy, learning and good experiences even if we weren’t in the physical space together. I learned to value moments of being able to meet with some students or seeing them drop by a virtual paint night.

Now that we’re back in person, my work is focused on helping to re-establish connections or introduce students to each other. We need to remember what it’s like to talk to another person face-to-face about our favorite songs, hobbies, classes, etc. — and just how awesome that is.

Q. What, if anything, are you doing differently, & how are you doing it?

A. The biggest change that has come out of remote operations is how often I use Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Neither are perfect, but it’s so good to have access to different tools that make it easier to communicate with and meet with folx. They’re great for providing a virtual option or opportunities for students to participate in our programs, especially for those who don’t feel safe coming to campus, can’t stay for late-night events due to other responsibilities or may still be in a different state or country due to pandemic-related circumstances. I’m learning about the different ways to use these tools to engage students and to enhance communication with everyone I work with.

Q. What are you working on today?

A. The start of this school year with all of the initial Pack is Back programming pulled together by Student Engagement & Activities was such an exciting rush. Now, I’m working on ordering office supplies to make the UWave Radio station come back to life and ready for students to start doing shows again. I’m also making space reservations via 25Live and navigating updated policies so that I can help our SEA student teams and student clubs plan events, get a spot for tabling on the Plaza and plan their group meetings.

I’ve been meeting weekly with Student Media to plan events, recruit student volunteers and figure out when the next issue of Husky Herald will be published. Additionally, I and the rest of the SEA program managers have been attending Thursday night Club Council meetings to understand what clubs need and to learn (and cheer on) which clubs are getting recognized by the Club Council student team. There’s also a lot of work on Presence, our events and organizational management system, to create registration forms and post upcoming events so our students know about the different ways to get involved on campus and what kinds of fun and unique opportunities are available at UW Bothell.

Q. Which of UW Bothell’s three strategic priorities resonate most with you, & why? How does this priority present itself in your work?

A. “Enhance community and campus engagement” resonates most with me. Being a program manager for Student Engagement & Activities, this priority is at the core of my work. My role is to ensure that we achieve this in SEA, to fulfill the SEA mission to “create environments for students to be extraordinary” and to support students in building community and getting involved as student leaders and/or student staff.

When I supervised the Campus Events Board team, I supported the students in coordinating a variety of events and activities (e.g., concerts, festivals, paint nights, speakers) to get students to know each other, to learn and/or try something new, and to make meaningful memories on campus. Now, I support our Student Media (Husky Herald student newspaper, UWave Radio, Clamor literary and arts journal) so they can host fun events, such as the Sound House Open Mic Night for students, to share their performing arts interests and talents.

I advise in getting more students actively involved in different ways, while demonstrating free speech and creative expression. Our students can write articles for Husky Herald, start their own podcast show through UWave Radio or submit their artwork to be published in Clamor. Everything I do is geared toward helping students to make connections with peers, faculty and staff and to both enjoy and gain a meaningful experience from their time on campus.

Q. What is the most fulfilling part of your work week?

Pauline Tolentino on Move-in Day

A. The most fulfilling part of my work week is meeting with students, whether it’s our Husky Herald student editors, UWave Radio station team or Clamor class. It’s fun to brainstorm ideas for upcoming events and ways to get students engaged. Aside from that, I really enjoy the weeks when there are events and the work we do preparing for them. These are exciting times in the Involvement Leadership Office, where everyone is helping to gather decorations, printing signs and making arts and crafts such as “Animal Crossing” themed cutouts and presents.

Q. What is one thing about UW Bothell that you share when you tell people you work here? What is their reaction?

A. I love to talk about the Campus Farm, especially how amazing it is that you can pick fruits and vegetables, as well as how student groups can reserve a spot to plant and grow something there. Most folx are surprised to hear about it.

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