Student trustee position is up for grabs but who’s taking it?


Arturo Chuatz

The student trustee candidacy packet outlines the requirements to successfully run for the role.

With big elections taking place in the months of March and April, Elgin Community College is looking for the student trustee that will represent the student population for the 2019-2020 school year. Wielding an advisory vote, the elected student trustee will serve alongside other board members to best address pressing issues of the student population at ECC.

According to Donna Redmer, who acts as the vice chair of ECC’s Board of Trustees, the elected student trustee is a sum of all ECC students and serves as one of the leading voices that the board members look to when contemplating new decisions that would affect the student population.

“The main purpose of the student trustee is to represent the student body at all board meetings, vote with student needs in mind and offer advice or information to the elected board so that good decisions can be made on behalf of all students,” Redmer said. “We gain insight from the student trustee perspective.”

To Clare Ollayos, another member of the ECC Board of Trustees, having a student as one of the group members for the board results in more efficient rulemaking.

“Having [an] effective student trustee is an excellent tool in decision-making for the board as a group,” Ollayos said.

According to Ollayos, the student trustee at ECC is an active member of larger political dialogue that affects education on a larger scale.

“In another realm, when some of the trustees go to Washington D.C. to advocate for community colleges issues and give input to legislators that may affect how education and work-related bills are written, the legislators really look to the ideas and opinions of the student trustees,” Ollayos said.

On top of this, the student trustee must attend all board of trustee meetings, attend finance committee meetings, must submit regular reports of student activity and must regularly communicate with students.

With such obvious important tasks faced on regular basis, the seat attracts high-achieving students.

Gaea Atta Moy, coordinator of Student Life at ECC, iterates the importance of attracting the right type of student, given the importance of the the seat.

According to Atta Moy, a good student trustee is one “who is highly motivated and cares about the wellness of the student body and [is capable] of representing them well to the Board of Trustees, college administration and out in the community.”

To be eligible for the position, a student should have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and must maintain that GPA throughout the remainder of their term. They also must live within district 509, have completed nine credit hours and must be enrolled in at least six credit hours.

The strict eligibility requirements mean that some students are ineligible, and the workload scares other students away, but the position is very beneficial for students. Not only does it look good on a resume, but it also provides help with skills that are needed in the workplace.

“For the student trustee, serving on a board is a great leadership development opportunity for them in many areas, including public speaking, doing reports and respectfully debating issues,” Ollayos said.  

As with every position that entails the representation of a large group, it is often mandatory that the candidate possess more than the base requirements. According to board member Jennifer Rakow, students need to have more than just the official requirements.

“First and foremost [a student must have] a heart to serve and represent one’s fellow students, to be available to listen to all students and to be involved in campus life,” Rakow said. “Secondly, [there must be] an interest and commitment to make ECC a positive experience for all students, one where students receive the support they need to thrive in their educational endeavors and in life. And thirdly, a desire to go above and beyond, to embrace new opportunities and challenges, to be curious and inquisitive about the world around you, inside and outside the walls of ECC, and to strive for excellence.”

The student trustee who will serve for the 2019-2020 school year will be seated on Tuesday, April 9.