Karl Nacalaban WSU Spokane

Karl Nacalaban is the ASWSUS Vice President and our next Student Feature.

Name: Karl Nacalaban
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
Program: Pharmacy, Second Year
Undergrad: University of Washington   |   Chemistry

Why did you decide to get involved with student government?
I was involved in my class as a leader, and I saw myself having a greater impact on the community then just my college. I felt like this was the best opportunity. I feel like I have some good ideas and I’ve worked on uniting people together for one cause or one thing. I know that I’m that kind of person so I thought I’d bring those skills to student government. I feel I can make a greater impact on the community and Spokane. Not that the little things in a college aren’t important, but that’s just a small part of what the health profession actually encompasses.

What do you hope to get out of this experience personally?
I hope to build that sense of community, but more than that, I feel like a lot of these (health) professions are kind of separated and I know that I can be that person that brings everybody together.

The way I have explained it to others is that we’re going to have to work together in a hospital or somewhere for a patient, so why wait until we are in that setting? Why not foster that kind of attitude now? Learning together and understanding what other professions do is good. I’ve worked in settings where people kind of stand in their own sections and hold grudges and there are things that people don’t understand about each other, and that kind of causes some drama that really shouldn’t be there. We should all be focused on the patient.

So I want to bring everyone together in our community and have us work as a team, even though we are in separate programs.

What kind of strategies do you have to bring people together?
The marketing and the social media are a great way to disseminate information. A lot of times we are in our own programs and just don’t know what’s going on. We want to be that kind of hub that everyone goes to find out what’s going on.

I don’t know if transparency is the right word, but letting everyone know that our lines of communication are open and tell each other what’s going on. A lot of times we assume things or we hear things from others and have our own ideas about how some things are. By interacting together, we can build a better understanding of other programs and those professions.

Building empathy with the other professions can help with a teambuilding atmosphere and get people to work together more. The strategy starts with open lines of communication and saying, “Hey, I don’t know what you do, let’s talk about it.”

What are some of your hobbies away from school?
I really like soccer, and sports in general. I follow American soccer, English soccer, American football, basically any sport. If there’s cricket on, I’ll watch cricket.

What I like about sports and especially soccer is that sense of community in being a fan. In soccer you have the crazy people chanting and jumping around. There’s a cool sense of unity around that. I just soak that up.

I’d like to say I’m good at playing soccer, but I’m not (laughs). Other than that, I just kind of try and stay busy.

What do you like most about WSU Spokane’s student body?
I like how welcoming everyone is, especially for a guy like me who went to UW (laughs). Everybody from the minute I decided I wanted to come here was so welcoming. I feel that sense of community you join, kind of like a sports team. That to me is extremely powerful. I wouldn’t be where I am today without that support.

I would say that the students were very welcoming to me as a first-year. Everyone has been friendly, welcoming and accepting. I really hope I can carry that and pass it on to the next class.

What do you like most about WSU Spokane?
I think that the focus that everyone has on patient care is great. Even when you walk in on the first day, you realize that everyone is working toward a common goal. Every aspect of this community is ultimately centered on patients and how we can make their experience better by our education. That kind of focus doesn’t seem to be lost on everybody.

We’ll all have our own problems at work but at the end of the day we’ll take a deep breath and say, “why am I doing this?” We’re doing it so that the patients have a better experience and a better quality of life. At the end of the day if your work positively affected somebody you can go home and know you had a good day. That’s what I like about campus, the focus on the patient and making everybody feel welcome.