ACUI was founded by a group of students at Midwestern universities in 1914, and today student leadership is still a core principle of the Association. To most effectively capture this leadership, the Board of Trustees has been working to assess the role of students on the board. The bylaws currently require at least one member of the board to be a student.
”I’ve really enjoyed my time on the board this year,” said Wesley Epplin, master’s student and at-large member. “However, it takes a while to understand how everything in the Association fits together, and often for student board members that learning curve is affected by the distractions of a job search process, changing institutions, or just living in a different environment than union and activities professionals.”
Currently, a student member is elected during the general election process. Past students have chosen to run for the at-large position instead of president-elect; therefore, their term has been two years. When the student is elected he or she must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student. However, if the student graduates before the two-year term is completed, he or she can still fill the role of student member as long as he or she is employed at a member institution.
In recent months, the Board of Trustees has interviewed past student members of the board, past board presidents, and others to obtain background information on the position and the role of the student representative. Following this research and discussion, the Board of Trustees developed the following proposed bylaw changes:
- The student member will be appointed for one year with an option for a second year if mutually agreed upon and confirmed by the Board of Trustees.
- The student member on the Board of Trustees shall be an individual member at a member institution in good standing. He or she shall be a degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student who is not a full-time employee at the institution.
- The potential student members will complete an application and submit it to the Board of Trustees on or before April 15.
- All applicants will be interviewed by the Board of Trustees.
- The appointment and notification to all applicants will be completed by May 15.
The board believes these changes are in the best interest of everyone. After talking with past student members they felt that a two-year term was a big time commitment. They believed they were better members during their first term rather than their second term. Most felt it was important to be a current student when serving in this role on the Board of Trustees.
“It is important to have the views and opinions of students represented on the board, and we believe that this proposed process will provide an opportunity to identify and select a committed student that understands the time and energy essential to serving on the Board of Trustees,” said ACUI President Meg O’Sullivan.
Institutional representatives at member institutions in good standing will be eligible to vote on the proposed changes. These individuals will receive an official announcement of the changes by e-mail later this month. Voting will be held on the ACUI website from Jan. 10–Feb. 9, 2011, and members will be notified about the outcome in early March. If the bylaw changes pass, a student member of the board would be appointed in May 2011.