By Michael Abrams
On Friday, Jan. 25, sophomores Jonathan Holzman and Taylor Schafer were selected as finalists for the Students Trustee position for the 2014-2015 school year.
The decision by the selection committee consisting of current Student Trustee Alex Walls, the Student Trustee-in-Training, and three other underclassmen, took place after the Student Trustee Applicant Open Forum in Cole Cinema on Jan. 24 at 8p.m.
The four candidates for the position were sophomores Teresa Padgett, Elaine Buckman, Jonathan Holzman, and Taylor Schafer. During the forum, the candidates each answered a series of ten questions asked by the selection committee about themselves and various topics and issues on campus. Questions were then opened up to the audience of students and Dean Roberto Ifill, who was also in attendance.
Questions varied from ‘what animal would you be and why?’ to ‘what makes St. Mary’s great?’
The selection committee then met on Friday afternoon and made the decision to choose Schafer and Holzman as finalists although Walls noted that all four candidates were extremely well qualified for the job.
The Student Trustee is the only student position available on the Board of Trustees, the governing body of St. Mary’s. This unique position allows for greater communication between the student body and the Board, and guarantees there is a voice advocating for the student perspective.
Involved with nearly every facet of Student Government on campus, and a slew of other activities such as the Model UN club, being an Orientation Leader, and being a Student Ambassador, sophomore Holtzman is already used to being a face representing St. Mary’s. Why then is he looking to be Student Trustee? “I want to see St. Mary’s get its mojo back,” Holtzman answered. “This school and its community have so much to offer, but I think we’re not developing as quickly as we ought to be.”
Holzman sees the Student Trustee position as an outlet to start a dialogue about how to keep St. Mary’s the thriving community it always has been, and to ensure steady growth of SMCM’s “mojo.”
The next candidate for Student Trustee is, much like her competitors, found in an array of positions. The Managing Editor of The Point News, sophomore Taylor Schafer also finds time to work as an SGA Senator for Prince Goerge Hall, a student ambassador, be an Orientation Leader, play for the club Volleyball team, and host a radio show.
“I really enjoy all the people I get to meet and work with already,” Schafer said. “Getting the position, I think, would just expand that group further so I am excited to be considered for that opportunity.”
Schafer stressed what the St. Mary’s community has meant to her, and she sees the Student Trustee position both as an opportunity to give back and a chance to maintain the community’s familial feel.
“I want future St. Mary’s students to have the same or better experience I have had while here so far,” said Schafer. “The Board is such a vital factor in what path the College takes, so the Student Trustee is important in relaying the student perspective for that vision.”
Padgett is also thoroughly involved on campus. A planner for the College’s Relay For Life event set to occur in March, an upcoming student co-Chair for Orientation, and an active member of the St. Mary’s River Project, Padgett has found many ways to give back to the community.
Bucknam, another sophomore who was in the running for student trustee, is all over campus; you may have seen her working the campus farm, studying rats with Dr. Jordan in Goodpaster Hall, leading visiting-student tours, or discussing campus life on the Dean’s Advisory Council.
Out of the four very involved and very dedicated St. Mary’s students who are vying to be a student member of the Board of Trustees, two have been eliminated through the selection process: Padgett and Bucknam. Schafer and Holtzman are now the two finalists for the position.
“I definitely have some fierce competition with Jonathan, but we have a fun and friendly rivalry going on. I’ll be happy about whoever gets the position because we both have a great love for St. Mary’s and I think the job would be in good hands either way,” said Schafer.
The announcement of the 2014-2015 Student Trustee will be made in mid-February after the finalists go through another round of interviews by the selection committee and also members of the Board on Friday, Feb. 8.