Searching for a Student Trustee

By Jordan Unger

Youngstown State University is looking to fill a student position on the Board of Trustees for the 2017-19 term.

Two students hold trustee positions on the board at a time. Sam Anderson, current student trustee, said incumbents work under the same operations as any board member, but from the student perspective.

“Because we’re [on campus] every day, we kind of have the ear of a lot of the students,” Anderson said. “And even a different perspective of listening to how faculty and staff interact with students.”

Anderson said this fly-on-the-wall perspective helps the trustees understand what changes come to campus on a daily basis. She said student trustees do not occupy the same responsibilities as student government.

“Student government is really that advocacy for change and implementation,” Anderson said. “Student trustees takes in the information of all of the change and all of the different talk on campus and take it as information that can be used on the board level if needed.”

Allan Metz, student trustee, said the position is much more valued than he expected.

“I didn’t expect to have as much of a voice as I do on the board,” Metz said. “The board really defers to both Sam and I on issues that are related to students and issues they believe we can be of help on.”

The new student trustee will replace Anderson next fall. Metz said he will need to work hard with the new trustee to bring him or her up to speed.

“Sam really did a good job with me and I know I’m going to have to do a very similar job,” Metz said. “Hopefully I’m there when the time comes.”

Applicants will only be considered if they are full-time students in good standing and can meet the two-year commitment. They must also be Ohio citizens and registered to vote.

The position is a lot of work, but also a great learning opportunity, according to Anderson. She said the new trustee should reach out to Metz or past trustees for guidance.

“We’ve all been through the process,” Anderson said. “We all have slightly different experiences because within each two-year time frame, different things happen.”

President Jim Tressel said students’ experiences on the board have influenced their careers after graduation. He said previous student trustee Bryce Miner left YSU to work in State Representative Tim Ginter’s office.

“He actually came upon that opportunity on one of our trips to Columbus,” Tressel said. “He met a lot of people there and applied for some jobs, and as it turned out [Ginter] was looking for someone to serve on his staff.”

Applications are picked up and returned to the Office of the Associate Vice President of Student Experience. Students must apply for the position by Dec. 2.

Selected students will do a 15 to 30-minute Skype interview, and Anderson said the students will be asked a variety of questions to see if they are suitable candidates.

“[The interview] covers a list of topics,” Anderson said, “anywhere between your experiences at YSU, your leadership capabilities, how do you portray yourself in a professional manner on campus and basically quizzing your understanding of how the university works.”

Donna Greenaway, administrative assistant for Student Experience, said their department collects all needed information and determines if applicants are eligible for the position.

“All of that information is sent to the president’s office,” Greenaway said. “The president forwards that information to the governor’s office and then he chooses.”

Interviews and appointment of the new position depend on how fast the application process goes. Anderson recommended any student who is considering to apply to do so.

“It’s really important that we have as many students sign up as possible to create a competitive pool,” Anderson said. “There’s only two student trustee positions on campus and they’re only renewed once a year, so it’s incredibly important that the quality and caliber of the students that sit on the board are really compassionate about what happens on campus.”

An informational session will be held on Nov. 16 in Tod Hall by Anderson and Metz to answer any questions that potential student trustee candidates may have.