On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the open forum for the Student Trustee of the Board took place despite the rest of the school closing for a snow day. The Student Search Committee, which consisted of five students from various backgrounds and on-campus activities, questioned the seven candidates (two first-years and five sophomores) while students who attended the forum filled out response sheets with their feedback.
Questions ranged from serious inquiries regarding the candidates’ qualifications and experiences to silly questions meant to give the candidates an opportunity to showcase their personalities, the forum lasted for almost two hours due to the number of candidates. In recent years, the highest number of candidates at the forum was four.
In early December, an email was sent out to professors requesting student nominations. This year, twenty students were informed of their nomination in early January, a few days before an all-student email was sent out requesting applicants. All of the applicants participated in the open forum and were questioned by the committee, which included current student trustee Michael Killius and the current trustee-in-training Taylor Schafer.
On Sunday, Feb. 2, an email was sent to sophomores Elaine Bucknam and Eric Schroeder congratulating them on becoming the finalists for the position. The next step for the two students will be an interview on Feb. 7 with the Board’s Student Affairs Committee, who will then vote and announce the winner later that afternoon.
Bucknam, who is a Nitze scholar, is a co-head manager of the campus farm and works in the rat lab, as well as being on the Dean’s Advisory Committee, a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Eduction, and a Multicultural Achievement Peer Program (MAPP) mentor. She is double majoring in Psychology and Studio Art and minoring in Neuroscience. Schroeder is the treasurer for the class of 2016, a senator for Lewis Quad (LQ), a Point News staff writer, and a student conduct board member. He is double majoring in Political Science and American Public Policy and minoring in Economics. Both candidates are extremely qualified, involved in on-campus activities, and knowledgeable of the inner workings of St. Mary’s. “I think the board will be impressed with who we present them with,” trustee in training Taylor Schafer said before the finalists were announced.
The Student Trustee is essentially a bridge between the Board and the students; as a member of both the student body and the Board of Trustees, the Student Trustee has a hand in serious conversations about the direction of the college and helps settle issues and delegate different committees.
Whoever is selected to be the Student Trustee for the 2015-2016 school year will be introduced to the Board on Feb. 22 and will essentially become Schafer’s mentee in the fall when she takes her place as Student Trustee for the 2014-2015 school year.