Role of student trustee: serving as voice of UIC community

Kenneth Thomas

Kenneth Thomas

By Kenneth Thomas

When you are walking around campus you may be wondering what the role of student trustee is.

The student trustee is a student member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Service on the board is only one of many duties.

The title is by no means representative of the diverse responsibilities that the position entails.

I often describe the requirements of the position in three separate parts.

The first of those responsibilities derives directly from service on the board. In my experience, the student trustee serves in the same capacity as any other trustee in the best interest of the university.

While each campus elects a student trustee, only one is selected by Gov. Pat Quinn to have an official vote. Nevertheless, the student trustee attends all board meetings and actively serves on one or two committees of the board.

The second set of responsibilities comes from the UIC campus.

There are many different campuswide committees or governing bodies that the student trustee serves as a member.

Committees such as the Student Fee Advisory Committee (SFAC), which reviews student fees and makes recommendations, is a prime example of an important committee that the student trustee serves on.

There are too many to name here but work in these committees includes overseeing the student centers, working with the vice chancellor for student affairs and the chancellor to provide student input on various issues, and on committees that are seeking to hire new administrators.

The last set of responsibilities, and arguably the most important, are initiatives that are set by the student trustee.

I realize that there are a number of students at UIC that depend upon financial aid to pay for school.

As a result, I have focused on lobbying our elected officials at all levels to maintain support for financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant, MAP Grant and our federal loan programs.

I have lobbied in Washington, D.C., and Springfield multiple times to that end. This is just one of the initiatives that a student trustee can undertake.

Now when you’re walking around campus again and you are dying to know what the student trustee does, you know where to go for the answer.

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