The BC Board of Trustees is looking for applicants for the student trustee position for the next school year.
The student trustee serves on the Board of Trustees, which is the governing body for the college, and is appointed by the state governor. Brandon Lueken is Bellevue College’s Student Program Coordinator, and he helps select candidates for this position.
A student trustee has the same responsibilities as the rest of the board, including full voting power on every issue except for staff tenure, since student trustees are not faculty. The position, although not a paid one, is very important and “looks great on a resume,” said Lueken.
“A good student trustee is someone curious and not afraid to speak their mind,” said Lueken. Student trustees get to learn about every part of the college, so they need to be able to take a lot of information and use it to make decisions. There is only one student trustee on the board.
The selection criteria for the position are rigorous, but Lueken says that they’ve never had to turn away a candidate for ineligibility. According to Lueken, those who take the time to do the necessary paperwork and put thought into the essay and resume are serious about the position. “We typically have really great candidates,” Lueken said.
A student trustee has different responsibilities than the student government. While the ASG tries to take into account the complaints and concerns raised by the student body, a trustee makes decisions that affect the entire school. Student trustees must attend board meetings, held every month. Meetings are public and open to anyone part of BC’s faculty and student body.
“It’s hard to pitch. That’s probably our biggest stumbling block,” Lueken explained on his struggle to find a wider pool of trustee applicants. Still, he is encouraging those that feel an interest in the position to apply. “People really want students to be involved in the decision making,” said Lueken.
In 2011, students at community colleges in Washington advocated for student representation on school trustee boards. While most two-year institutions did not want a student on their board, Bellevue College’s board of trustees liked the idea and supported their students, which helped pass a bill that allowed student trustees to serve on the board. Former ASG Chief Justice Robert Rowe was one of the student advocates, he became the first student trustee in 2012.
Student trustees get summer leadership training. This training covers two main subjects, knowledge about the campus and tangible leadership skills. They learn about the inner workings of the campus and its processes so they can make educated decisions on important issues. They also learn things like conflict resolution and team building, so they can effectively navigate their position.
There have been three student trustees so far, and each year they’ve been picked from a pool of three to five applicants.
Interested applicants must be full time students planning to attend BC for the full 2015 to 2016 academic year. All details can be found on the application, which can be downloaded from the BC website. Applications are due April 27.