2021 Board of Trustees Elections

Candidate profiles for the current Board of Trustees elections are available below. The candidates who receive the most votes for their respective offices will be installed as such in 2021. Eligible voting members will receive notices regarding voting in the election via email.

The election will occur from November 3 to December 3 at 11 p.m. Eastern. Results will be announced in early December.

Candidates in elections have been asked not to campaign on their behalf, and the same is asked of all ACUI members. All of the information below was submitted by the candidates; the content has not been edited by ACUI. You are encouraged to contact candidates with any questions regarding their candidacy.

Note that candidate statements and information below is shown as submitted and was not edited by ACUI.


There are four candidates for one president-elect position, which carries a three-year commitment. Select a name to read the full candidate profile.

Deepti Chadee

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

To say that this year has been a challenge is an understatement, from a global pandemic to continued racial injustices taking place across the country, to the unknowns that face higher education. Each of these factors have had a significant impact on each of us personally, on our campuses, and the Association. 

As many of us are shifting the way we do things at home and on our campuses, the Association must do so as well. In thinking about the Association’s strategic priorities, I believe we must focus on supporting and engaging our members, ensuring that social justice, equity, and inclusion remain a priority, all while focusing on the financial future of the Association. 

Our members are often seen as the problem solvers and are being tasked with creating opportunities for engagement and community building on their campuses while adhering to safety guidelines. They are doing this while supporting their students and processing their own mental health. As an association we must continue to provide space to connect and share best practices. We must continue to seek out creative and innovative methods that advance our profession and prepare us for the future.

Another important need is to continue the efforts to strengthen our membership engagement. The people within our association are our greatest resource - we must focus our efforts on cultivating engagement of our members. We have the opportunity to strengthen who we are, and this is essential for the longevity of our association. As an association we must ensure that we continue to prioritize our social justice, equity, and inclusion by educational offerings on anti-racism, ensuring our selection processes for volunteers and staff are equitable, and by simply showing our members of color, particularly our black colleagues that they matter to us. 

Finally, the financial future of the Association is of the utmost importance. Opportunities such as the Financial Assistance Fund can provide the support they may need to stay connected, especially when professional development funds are being limited. As an association, this is a vital opportunity to think innovatively to seek out opportunities to ensure financial stability.

While the road ahead may not be easy, our current approach to strategic priorities, can guide us toward where we need to go and provide us the chance to be nimble in today’s environment. Ultimately our strategic priorities must be relevant to the needs of our members.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

The opportunity to serve this Association as President is extremely humbling and exciting. In reading the position description, I am eager to approach this role and work alongside the Leadership Team to make a lasting impact on the Association. I am a person who is hardworking, dedicated, and thoughtful in what I commit to; therefore, I will give my all to ensure that I have left that role better than when I found it.

I have served as an association volunteer in a variety of capacities such as Regional Conference Program Teams, on Regional Leadership Teams, Annual Conference Program Team, and as a Digital Badge Program Faculty member. As a volunteer, I have been able to experience ACUI through multiple lenses and better understand the experiences of our volunteers.

My recent experiences as a Board of Trustees Member, leading the Strategic Committee, and as a Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Working Group member have provided me a greater sense of the work that is to be done within the Association. During my time on the Board, I found myself challenged, conflicted, hopeful, and inspired. Through conversations as a Board member, I continued to keep in mind the responsibility I have to the members, future professionals, and students we serve. I have learned that I am also a person that is willing to do the work, even when it can be hard at times, which I feel is critical to the role of President. 

One of my stronger skills is my ability to connect with others, and this stems from a genuine place of care. I place priority on taking the time to listen and support those who I work it. It is critical for each of our members to feel valued and included, and as President, I would lead the charge in this. I recognize the magnitude of the role of President within our association, especially in our current climate, and I feel as though I am ready to serve the Association, I love so much in this capacity.

Candidate Information

Deepti Chadee is the Director, Senior Year Experience at Texas Christian University and can be contacted directly at deepti.chadee@tcu.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

  • Digital Badge Course-Student Employment Supervision, Faculty Member, 2020
  • Board of Trustees, At-Large Member, 2018-2020
  • Digital Badge Course -Large Scale Event Management, Faculty Member, 2018 
  • Region II Leadership Team, Regional Conference Coordinator, 2017
  • 2016 Annual Conference Program Team, 2014-2016
  • Region II Leadership Team, Education Programs Coordinator, 2013-2014
  • Region 12 Leadership Team, Education Coordinator, 2012-2013
  • Region 12 Leadership Team, Conference Host Chair, 2011-2012
  • Student Organization Advisor Involvement and Retention, September 2010, The Bulletin 
  • Region 12 Leadership Team, Graduate Student Project Team Leader, 2009

Educational Background

Master of Education in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs, May 2010 
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 

Bachelor of Science in Business Management, December 2007
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Geoff Combs

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond? 

Together we sit in the middle of an intersection, facing the twin pandemics of corona-virus and systemic and structural racism. These two pandemics have invaded nearly every facet of our lives, impacting us in ways that we never anticipated. Simultaneously we juggle multiple responsibilities, alongside a mixture of fear, anxiety and gratitude. However, I am confident that my ACUI colleagues have approached the last several months with good measure of perseverance and hope.   

The stories of our hardships help shape us and despite the challenges before us, I am still optimistic about the future and our profession. My optimism is bolstered by the hard work of the current Board of Trustees who have developed new Strategic Guideposts and Priorities to guide us through March 2022. These guideposts reflect our current priorities:  

  1. Advancing campus community through social justice and education to overcome racism and anti-Blackness.
  2. Actively engage members and promote the Association to ensure the continued success of ACUI.
  3. Identify viable strategic solutions to ensure the financial stability of the Association.

Guideposts are navigational aids, often sitting at an intersection, providing guidance for travelers. Sitting at the intersection of structural racism and COVID-19, I am prepared to work alongside my fellow “travelers” as we develop the strategies necessary to navigate the next several years. I am also struck by the universal nature of these guideposts. Substitute the word “Association” with “university” and these guideposts could be applied to any university campus. As university colleagues and association members, we travel together.   

This is all new territory and we are navigating it together, and we must respond to these challenges together. I will never profess to have all the answers, but what I do have is a good measure of creativity, the ability to problem solve and a sincere willingness to listen, learn and work alongside my colleagues. 

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

Over the last 20 years I have been fortunate to serve in a variety of ACUI volunteer roles including regional, national and international opportunities. Most recently as the Chair of the 2020 Conference Program Team.  

Through the intersection of these experiences, I have developed a deep understanding of the association. This is clearly a unique and challenging time for ACUI as we face the twin pandemics of corona-virus and systemic and structural racism. Through my personal and professional experiences I have developed a number of competencies that I feel would be an asset as we develop strategies to address the challenges before us.  

Communication – Good written and oral skills are important, but equally important is the ability to apply communication skills to a variety of settings and achieve positive results. I strive to always think before I communicate, be open, honest and understanding.

 Understanding Privilege - As a white male, I fully recognize the privileges afforded to me. I also understand that it falls on white people to create educational opportunities and address social justice issues related to systematic racism and anti-blackness. 

 Problem Solving Creative Thinking – I consistently challenge myself to think creatively, seek input from others and work collaboratively to address problems.  

Relationship Building – How we treat other people matters. One of the most valuable skills I possess is relationship building, alongside the importance of treating others with kindness, fairness and respect. 

Candidate Information

Geoff Combs is the Executive Director, Campus Center and Event Services at the University of Massachusetts Boston and can be contacted directly at geoff.combs@umb.edu.

Relevant Experiences  


  •  Co-Lead International Student Unions COP 2017-Present
  •  2020 Chair, Annual Conference Program Team
  •  2016 Annual Conference Program Team
  •  Region VIII Conference Chair – 2017
  •  Board of Trustees - April 2012-2014
  •  Regional Restructuring Task Force – 2011-2012
  •  International Liaison, Region 1 – 2011-2012
  •  Regional Director, Region 1 – 2009-2011 
  •  Conference Host, Region 1 - UMass Boston – 2007
  •  Leadership Team, Facilities and Operations Co-Chair, Region 1 - 2004-2009
  • Conference Host, Region 1 - Northeastern University - 2001
  • 2017 National Union of Students, Student’s Unions Conference, England
  • 2016 National Union of Students, Student’s Unions Conference, England
  • 2015 Student Unions and Student Life Study Tour, Scotland 
  • 2011 Cultural Exchange and ASUA Conference, Ireland
  • 2010 Cultural Exchange and AMSU Conference, England
  • 2005 International Institute and AMSU Conference, Ireland
  • 2002 International Job Exchange, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland


Topic: Navigating Campus Politics 
Location/Date: ACUI Regional Conference, 2019

Topic: Mental Health and Wellness: Trends and Unique Ideas  

Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, Anaheim 2018

Topic: Diversity & Inclusion: Unique Ideas, Programs and Services 
Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, Philadelphia 2017

Topic: Leadership Programs in the U.S. 

Location/Date: National Unions of Students Conference, Scotland 2015

Topic: Programs and Services in The UK and Ireland - Trends and Unique Ideas 
Location/Date: ACUI Regional Conference 2015

Topic: Student Unions and Student Life – Trends and Unique Ideas  

Location/Date: ACUI Regional Conference 2014

Topic: Understanding Time Management 
Location/Date: UMass Boston Beacon Leaders, 2013

Topic: Student Activities & Student Unions – Trends and Unique Ideas
Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, St. Louis 2013

Topic: Student Activities & Student Unions – Trends and Unique Ideas

Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, Boston 2012

Topic: Student Activities & Student Unions – Trends and Unique Ideas 
Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, Chicago 2011

Topic: Trends in US Student Unions

Location: Association of Student Union Administrators Conference, Ireland 2011

Topic: Trends in Student Activities & Student Unions 
Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, New York 2010

Topic: Accessibility and the Student Union 
Location/Date: ACUI Region 1 Conference, Bryant University 2010

Topic: Trends in US Student Unions 

Location/Date: Association of Managers of Student Unions Conference, Royal Holloway London 2010

Topic: Trends in Student Activities & Student Unions 
Location/Date: ACUI Annual Conference, St. Louis 2013

Topic: Student Unions Design-on-a-Dime

Location/Date: ACUI Region 1 Drive-in, Babson College 2008

Educational Background

Master of Science, College Administration and Student Personnel
December 1997

Ohio University

Bachelor of Science, Education
June 1993
Ohio University 

Associate of Applied Science, Outdoor Education 
June 1988
Hocking College

Eve Esch

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

One of the top issues facing the Association today is how to best navigate the COVID-impacted environment and still fulfill our mission to support our members in the development of community through education, advocacy, and the delivery of services. This has been made exponentially more challenging due to the physical distancing and virtual interactions that this situation requires, as well as the substantial financial impact it has had (and will continue to have) on Higher Education and ACUI.  

Another crucial issue is related to our focus on Social Justice, Equity and Inclusion. As a member of the current Board of Trustees, there have been some good strides made in this area, but there is more work to be done. As President-Elect I would ensure that we continue to look at all aspects of our work through a Social Justice lens while keeping in mind that our membership will not all vote for the same presidential candidate, and that we must seek to understand each other.   

Underscoring the importance of content delivery methods are the concepts of Communication and Civil Discourse, especially in the highly polarized, partisan and politicized environment where many of us find ourselves and creating and encouraging places of dialogue and educating students on how to successfully create a community where members sometimes have strong and dichotomous opinions. This will be even more challenging to deliver virtually versus in person.  

An ongoing issue is to intentionally include those outliers to the “average” membership, such as our international members, our small schools and our student members. Serving on the 2018 Conference Planning Team was an amazing experience and I successfully advocated to have a panel of students share their stories with us. It seemed to have struck a chord, as I heard that multiple regions incorporated the concept at their regional conferences. Ensuring there are opportunities for students and newer members’ voices to be heard are crucial to the continued success of the association.  

The efforts to use and expand the research agenda, specifically around the impact of college unions and student activities on the outcomes of students will also be an important area to continue to support.  

It has been exciting to see the Association grow and change over my 20 years in the field. I would love the opportunity to ensure the Association continues to stay relevant and nimble in today's ever-changing waters, and in the future. 

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

Currently serving as an At-Large member of ACUI's Board of Trustees has provided me with invaluable input into the challenges and strengths of the organization. I have also served on several other governing bodies, councils, and committees, where I strive to be an effective leader and team member and will incorporate those experiences into the role of President-Elect.  

Strengths - According to Strengthsfinder - My top 5 Strengths are: Achiever, Input, Learner, Responsibility & Harmony. I interpret these to mean I'm a leader who can get the job done, while learning and helping others. The odds of someone having these same 5 Strengths are 1 in 340,000, so I think my unique package of strengths will be advantageous in leading ACUI’s Board.  

Leadership & Vision - having served in a Director role for over 8 years, I've developed some strong skills in successfully leading a team, helping craft and execute a vision, and have challenging conversations on critical topics such as diversity, inclusion, finances and ethics.   

Motivation - I have had such an amazing experience with ACUI that I want to give back and do everything I can to ensure that legacy continues.  

Work Ethic - besides getting things done at work and with my volunteer roles, I also work out frequently and (Pre-COVID) taught Spin Classes at our University Recreation Center, so I've got the stamina, mental fortitude and determination to stick with a task until it's completed.  

Advocating for New Initiatives – Along with conceptualizing and executing the Student Voices panel for the 2018 Annual Conference, I have supported the creation of several new initiatives at the University of Houston, including an Art Board, Sustainability Committee, Film Series and a student organization called CoogSlam that hosted and came in 4th place at the 2019 CUPSI competition.

Candidate Information

Eve Esch is the Director, Student Centers at the University of Houston and can be contacted directly at emesch@uh.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

ACUI Volunteer Roles

  • 2019 - 2021 Serving as At-Large Member for ACUI's Board of Trustees
  • 2019 Served as Host Chair for CUPSI 2019
  • 2018 Co-Taught & served as a content expert for 2 sessions of ACUI Badge class on Student Employment
  • 2017 Co-Taught & served as a content expert for ACUI Badge class on Student Employment
  • 2016 -2018 Anaheim Conference Planning Team Member
  • 2016 Region II Host Committee Member
  • 2014 - 2016 Educational Research Fund Member
  • 2007, 2011, 2013 Regional Conference Planning Teams
  • 2009 Co-Authored a chapter in ACUI's Enhancing Student Learning through College Employment book

(Gaps in serving were due to building a new building & having kids)

Most Recent Presentations & Programs

  • 2019 ACUI Region II Conference - co-presented "Assessment 101"
  • 2018 ACUI Region II Conference - co-presentied "Utilizing Recent Films to Help Engage Others in Diversity & Inclusion”
  • 2018 Co-taught 2 online classes for Student Employee Supervisors from across the country
  • 2018 Student Life Staff Presentation - "Using a Diversity & Inclusion Lens to Incorporate Beloit's Mindset List into Your Work with Students"
  • 2018 Served on Higher Ed Live Panel of Union Directors discussing Current Trends in Higher Education, specifically focused on College Unions
  • 2018 UH Summer Assessment Symposium - Co-Presenter, "Identifying Diversity and Inclusion Lessons In Film"
  • 2017 ACUI Region II Conference - "Show Me the Money: Financial Wellness Tips & Tricks"
  • 2017 Co-taught ACUI’s first online class for Student Employee Supervisors from across the country
  • 2017 Student Life Staff Retreat - "Incorporating Dimensions of Wellness into our Work"
  • 2016-2018 Created & Executed MyUH, MyHouston Program for UH students in conjunction with Houston Metro and HoustonFirst
  • 2016 - UH System Conference - "Alarms are Going Off - What the BEAP Do We Do?"
  • 2014 Chaired the Union & Student Activities Directors Conference for the Big 10, Pac 12 & Big 12 Conferences

Educational Background

2000 - Earned Bachelor of Arts from Purdue University, double majored in Public Relations and Health Kinesiology Studies, minored in Psychology; inducted into Phi Beta Kappa based on involvement and 3.96 GPA

2002 - Earned Master of Arts from Ohio State University in Higher Education and Student Affairs

Krista Harrell

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

Financial challenges and implications related to the pandemic, ongoing trends related to declining institutional membership dues and Association partnership revenue and general economically-influenced factors impacting Higher Education.

The current leadership has developed a sound strategy to effectively respond and move forward to identify viable strategic solutions to ensure financial stability of the Association. I reaffirm the strategic guidepost and annual priorities to maximize use of resources, mitigate expenses, and increase non-dues revenue to withstand recession. The focus on non-traditional revenue streams, directing Association investments with an eye towards social responsibility, and examining and expanding corporate partnerships are essential in successfully navigating the current and impending financial challenges. The Central Office team and volunteer leadership consistently demonstrate the ability to do what is necessary to evaluate all possibilities to bolster financial security while continuing to align with ACUI values.  

The increasing threat to Social Justice initiatives, specifically related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion advocacy, education and training on racism, sexism, gender equity, anti-racism, anti-blackness, white privilege, unconscious bias, intersectionality and beyond.

ACUI’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within the work of the Association and the support of our members on their campuses is a paramount principle of our mission and who we are as professionals and people. The strategic guidepost developed to ensure the support needed to overcome individual and systemic racism in the Association and on our campuses is imperative. Our Association must partner with our members and sister organizations to continue to create equitable opportunities in all aspects for our students, colleagues and stakeholders. 

Ensuring our Association evolves at the same pace as the ever-changing 21st century Higher Education Institution and reaffirming our vital role in advancing campus community during an extended period of online learning

It will be vital for the Association to work with member institutions and sister organizations to reaffirm the vital role of college unions and student activities as the heart of campus, unifying stakeholders behind the idea of creating a lifelong connection to the institution. 

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

My personal and professional philosophy are one in the same - to live and lead with love. I feel called to serve our Association and membership with this guiding mantra - Lead with Love. Joel Manby’s book, “Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders” speaks straight to the heart of my style - servant leadership rooted in patient and kind love. The principles of Love Works are the foundation of how I approach my work, relationships, and life and are intertwined with our passionate community of colleagues:

Be patient—demonstrate self-control in difficult situations.  

Be kind—show encouragement and enthusiasm.  

Be trusting—place confidence in those around you.  

Be unselfish—think of yourself less.  

Be truthful—define reality corporately and individually.  

Be forgiving—release the grip of grudge.  

Be dedicated—stick to your values.  

These principles embody my style of leading the way with love at the center of all actions, allowing us to effectively address our challenges and our triumphs with a foundation of trust, respect, and commitment while keeping mission and member-centered.  I lead by example based on these deeply held principles of service, consideration, and the advancement of others.   

I had the privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees from 2018-2020 as an At-large member and, in my second year, serve as the Governance Chair. I have a recent and deep understanding of how the Board functions, how the volunteer leadership works in partnership with the Central office team, and the work to advance the principles of the Association’s vision and core values.    

My skills and characteristics are well-suited for what is needed serving as the President-Elect.  I focus on building strong networks for decision-making and coalition building within the Association and my work. I am a strategic thinker who is detail-oriented while not losing focus on high-level objectives.  I am comfortable working within a team composed of members with differing perspectives and experiences.  I champion inclusion and equity, continuing to strive for allyship with friends, students and colleagues of marginalized communities, while educating myself and advocating for diversity. I seek input from a broad spectrum of points of view.  I focus a team on the  most pressing issues at hand to take a position and execute the necessary action. I stay calm under pressure and my demeanor is consistent, positive, and respectful regardless  of the situation.  I am engaging with various audiences and am part of the essential ‘Woo” factor when leading a team. 

Candidate Information

Krista Harrell is the Associate Dean of Students & Title IX Coordinator at the University of South Alabama and can be contacted directly at kristaharrell@southalabama.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

Association of College Unions International

  •  Volunteer Development Team, Member 2020-present
  • Board of Directors, Member-at-large 2018-2020,  Governance Chair 2019-2020
  • International Education Council Member 2015-2018, Co-Convener 2017-2018
  • Women’s Leadership Community of Practice Member 2017-Present
  • Sustainability Community of Practice Co-Chair 2015-2018
  • International Education Community of Practice Member 2016-present
  • 2015 Annual Conference Planning Team Member - San Antonio, Education Coordinator
Junior League of Mobile
  • Governance Director, Board of Directors, 2020-2021
  • Governance Director-Elect, Management Team, 2019-2020
  • Recording Secretary, Board of Directors, 2018-2019
  • Membership Development Manager, Management Team, 2017-2018
  • Community Coordinating Council Manager, Management Team, 2016-2017
  • Mobile United – Live Better Mobile Chair 2015-2016
  • Mobile United – Live Better Mobile Committee 2014-2015
  • Provisional Member - 2013-2014
  • Mobile United Community Conversations on Race Facilitator 2015-as needed

Alabama NASPA

  • Board of Directors, Immediate Past Chair 2018-2020
  • Board of Directors, Chair 2017-2018
  • Board of Directors, Member-at-Large 2014-2017

USA VDay Vagina Monologues and V-Day Director and Cast Member 2014 - present

Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity Gulf Coast Alumnae Association - Member


  • ACUI Mental Health on the College Campus Badge Certification Course June - July 2019
  • First Year Experience CAS 100 Instructor USA College of Arts and Sciences, Learning Community with Public Speaking, 2012-2016
  • Organization and Planning in Postsecondary Education USA EDL 575 Faculty, Fall Semester 2013
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant for ODU Higher Education Program, 2009-2010


  • Harrell, K., Liss, A., and; Moffo Simpson, T. (2015, Sept/Oct). Reflections on the Region VIII Scotland Study Tour Experience.
  • Delmas, P. M. and; Harrell, K. L. (2015). Partnering for a purpose: Student affairs, academic affairs, and a common reading program. Journal of Student Affairs, 24, 49-57.
  • Harrell-Blair, K. L. and ; Ihrke, R. (2011, Nov/Dec). Beyond earth day: Advancing sustainability in campus activities and entertainment. Campus Activities Programming, 44(5), 40-43.
  • Rudisille, J., and; Harrell-Blair, K. L. (2011). Funding sustainability initiatives on campus. Association of College Unions
  • International Sustainability smarts: Applying the core principles of sustainability on campus, 20-27. Retrieved from http://www.acui.org/content.aspx?menu_id=20&id=300
  • Harrell-Blair, K. L., Kitchie, M. A., andALA; Gregory, D. (2010, May). Visioning with your programming board. Campus Activities Programming, 43(1), 6-10.
  • Promoting Sustainability through a Campus Film Series. About Campus, 15(2), 26-29.

Selected Presentations

  • Alabama NASPA/Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education
  • 2020 State Conference, “Women in Leadership Panel” Panelist, facilitated by Dr. Regina Hyatt
  • 2020 State Conference, “Elevating Women Into Higher Education Leadership”
  • “Green Student Centers’ Influence on the Campus Environment”  

Educational Background

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Higher Education Administration, 2012, Old Dominion University 
  • Master of Science in Education, emphasis Higher Education Administration, 2003, Old Dominion University 
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services Counseling, 2001, Old Dominion University 
  • Comparative Higher Education Course – Italy, 2012, Old Dominion University 
  • Comparative Higher Education Course – Hong Kong, China, Macau, 2011, Old Dominion University 
  • City of Mobile/Mobile United Leadership Mobile Class 2020-2021
  • University of South Alabama ELEVATE: An Advanced Leadership Academy 2018-2019
  • University of South Alabama: Leadership South 2017-2018  
  • Global Student Leader Network Study Experience – England and Scotland, 2017
  • ACUI Cultural Study Tour – Scotland, 2015
Chadee, Deepti
Deepti Chadee
Texas Christian University
Geoff Combs

Geoff Combs
University of Massachusetts–Boston

Eve Esch

Eve Esch
University of Houston

Krista Harrell
Krista Harrell
University of South Alabama

At-Large Member

There are 12 candidates for three at-large member positions, which carry a two-year commitment. Select a name to read the full candidate profile.

Tena Bennett

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

The dynamic of the college campuses and students we serve is changing from the way classes and activities are delivered to the expectations of our students. Students are not approaching their college experience the same way they have in the past. ACUI will need to evolve with the campus and the students we serve every day. I believe the areas we, as an association, need to focus on over the next few years include:

Learning how to manage a new campus environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has had a sweeping effect on not only the association but all of our members and their institutions. We as an association need to come together to support our members and institutions through virtual programming, idea sharing, and how to move forward.

Another issue related to the pandemic is the financial strain put on the association and our members. I believe the Association has done an incredible job of responding to the financial strains by pivoting to virtual conferences and developing the Financial Assistance Fund. Engaging and leading the way in new online platforms will make ACUI stand out while continuing to remain fluid with an unknown future.

Technology has been and will continue to be a driving force over the next several years. ACUI will need to focus staffing and financial resources towards the implementation and sustainability of current and new technologies that will enhance the services provided to the membership while providing relevant information.

We will need to continue to assess where we have been, where we are currently, and where we are going in the future. Without knowledge of our past and an understanding of where we currently are, we cannot develop a strong strategic plan for the future. 

Finally, we need to be advocates and organizers who act accountable and strategic for social justice. We need to continue to educate ourselves as well as our students on this systemic problem. Understanding that everyone has their own unique perspectives and challenges, we need to harness our differences and embody the change we want to see. ACUI must grow collectively, learning from and challenging each other while centering community building in order to move social justice forward.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

I have a different background from most people who work in the college union. Having worked professionally in campus recreation for several years before transitioning to the union world, I feel I have a different perspective on the college campus and the place of the college union within the campus. I feel my background coupled with my experiences makes me an ideal candidate. Having served at the regional level, on a conference program team (CPT), and as on the Education and Research Fund as member and four-year chairperson I know I am ready to serve the organization at the next level. 

There are a lot of skills and perspectives that I possess that would contribute to me being an effective board member. Some of those skills and perspectives include: I am passionate about ACUI, I am eager and willing to lead our association, I am a learner, I am a doer, I play devil’s advocate, I love to laugh, I work well in a team, I want to become more involved in ACUI at multiple levels, I am creative, I will give this organization 110%, I am task-oriented, I enjoy meeting new people, I am committed to creating a unique and outstanding experience for every member, I actively listen and ask questions, I love new experiences and challenges, I have a strong knowledge base in facilities, budgets and risk management, I am resilient, I want to expand my network, I like to be busy, I am responsible, I want to push myself and others outside of our comfort zones, I believe in what ACUI is doing, I am a good communicator, I am creative, I am outgoing, and darn it – people like me (I have a sense of humor as well.)

My goal for this association is to make it the best and I will do everything I can to make that happen. My experiences with the Education and Research fund have provided me with insight into where our organization can go and what it can be in the future. I want to be a part of the next leg of that journey and I am committed to the goals of ACUI. I am excited and embrace the opportunity to be part of the leadership of the organization through a transitional time in our country and world.

Candidate Information

Tena Bennett is the Student Center Director at Southern Illinois University and can be contacted directly at tenab@siu.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

  • Association of College Unions International (ACUI)
    • ACUI Education and Research Fund Committee, 2013 – 2019 (Chair 2015 – 2019)
    • ACUI Annual Conference Programming Team, St Louis, 2011 – 2013
    • ACUI Region 9 Leadership Team Awards & Scholarship Coordinator, 2010 - 2012  
  • NACAS Communication Services Committee, 2014 - 2018
  • Carbondale Chamber of Commerce 
    • Board of Directors, 2018 – Present
    • Leadership Carbondale Committee Chair, 2018 – present
    • Board Chair Elect, 2020
    • Board Executive Committee, 2020
    • Annual Banquet Committee, 2016 - Present
    • Ambassadors Committee, 2013 – Present
    • Member, 2008 - Present
  • SIU Committees
    • University-Level Staff Excellence Awards Committee, 2019 - Present
    • Student Rights and Responsibilities Administrative Panel Member, 2019 – Present
    • Academic Calendar Committee, 2018 - Present
    • Traffic and Parking Committee, 2018- Present  
    • Salukis In Unity Committee chair, 2018 - Present
    • AFSCME Union Negotiations team for University, 2018 - Present
    • ACeS Union Negotiations team for University, 2017 - Present
    • SEIU Union Negotiations team for University, 2017 - Present
    • Start Seeing Pink Committee, 2017 – Present (Chair 2018 – Present)
    • Student Trustee Advisor, 2017 – Present
    • Graduate and Professional Student Council Advisor, 2017 – Present
    • Undergraduate Student Government Advisor, 2017 – Present
    • Naming University Facilities Committee, 2017 - Present
    • Emergency Operations Center, 2007 – Present
  • Community 
    • SIU Women’s Basketball Mentor, 2019 – Present
    • Southern Illinois Healthcare Fundraising Gala Committee, 2017 - Present
    • NAACP Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, 2016 – Present

Educational Background

  • EdD Southern Illinois University, Higher Education and Administration 
    • Capstone: “The Development of a Student Union for the Future” Anticipated 2021
  • MS Western Illinois University, Sports Management 2000
  • BS Northwest Missouri State University, Corporate and Therapeutic Recreation
    • Graduated Summa Cum Laude 1998
Justin Camputaro

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

Our organization, industry, and country are at historical crossroads and ACUI must adapt to the unknown future to best serve our membership. ACUI must remain indispensable to our members by providing innovative programs and resources directly and through our Corporate Partners to solve the most critical and evolving needs. ACUI must identify and implement new revenue streams outside our member institutions. ACUI must commit to bold stances on social justice issues that impact higher education, our members, our students, and our association. 

After an unprecedented year behind us and an evolving, unknown future ahead, it is critical that we focus on our collective “why.” This organization exists to provide the programs and resources our members need to advance campus community. During the months ahead, we must actively engage our members through dialogue to examine their needs, recognize their resources gaps, and provide educational content, delivery methods, and technologies to effect change.   

At our institutions, members are implementing innovative strategies to engage students and colleagues. By examining these innovations and facilitating their accessibility to all members, ACUI can identify technological advancements that support collaboration with our Corporate Partners or enhance proprietary offerings such as the Virtual Event Services program. These added value endeavors will strengthen revenue streams; however, we cannot rely entirely on our membership to address ACUI's long-term financial solvency. We must explore alternative avenues for new revenues that align with our core values and strengths.  

I deeply believe in the benefits of organizational alignment, especially in times of change. The Board's efforts should focus on the updated Strategic Guideposts and Annual Priorities. As a member-serving association, ACUI leadership efforts should prioritize supporting all our members. As we seek to become an antiracist organization, we need to model the way to recognize and reflect on our past practices and policies that harmed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, while simultaneously actively commit to intentional change within our organization.   

As Role of the College Union Statement Review Team Chair, I encouraged our team to focus on including bolder language that clearly articulated the charge to student union professionals to lead with action. Now more than ever, that charge empowers ACUI’s leadership to boldly take firm stances that align with and support our members and their institutions, ensuring our association's continued success. Our collective goal needs to be to not only survive these crises but come through stronger than ever. 

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

As an ACUI member for more than 20 years, I believe I represent multiple stakeholders within ACUI’s membership: I have served at six institutions (representing private and public, small and large, east and west coasts) in progressively higher levels of leadership that span all ACUI supported areas: college union facilities, student activities, and leadership development. Additionally, I bring two decades of ACUI volunteer work at regional and national levels and I understand the impact volunteers have on the association as they enact the Board of Trustees vision. My growing understanding of the holistic higher education landscape with regional cultural differences, enables me to serve as a voice for multiple perspectives of our membership.   

When I asked colleagues their thoughts on this question, one common theme emerged: I think differently. I dig in and seek ongoing improvement by tackling complex problems that have no clear solutions, involving the right people for input and collaboration, and using data to make informed decisions. I bring a unique perspective to solutions ensuring thorough analysis without getting bogged down in minutia that stifles action. I thrive in organizations that require me to find excellence by not accepting the status quo. As a Board Member, I would bring my problem-solving approach as we navigate how to implement ACUI's Strategic Guideposts and Annual Priorities.

Throughout my career I have successfully led several organizations through change and transition situations, including complete realignments at three institutions, the establishment of new departments and focal point programs, and have brought one unit out of sever projected financial deficit. By capitalizing on past experiences and my doctoral coursework, I have become an expert in utilizing strategic planning best practices to ensure shifts such as these are well thought out and intentionally implemented. I am also keenly aware that it is critical throughout these processes to establish a baseline of care and compassion for staff and students, honoring their lived experiences, and recognizing how change has real impacts that must be properly navigated. As a Board Member, I would apply this same thoughtful approach to ensuring our membership's needs are considered and prioritized in every discussion by the Board. I might also share a few bad jokes along the way just in time to remind us all that throughout the seriousness of our work, we must also practice joy and a little laughter together.

Candidate Information

Justin Camputaro is the Executive Director, Husky Union Building at the University of Washington and can be contacted directly at jcamp77@uw.edu.

Relevant Experiences  


  • Executive Director of the Husky Union Building, University of Washington, 2016 – current
  • Director of Student Centers and Activities, Virginia Tech, 2011 – 2014
  • Director of the Student Union, University of North Florida, 2009 – 2011
  • Director of Campus Activities and Davis Student Commons, Jacksonville University, 2005 – 2008
  • Assistant Director of Student Activities, Florida State University, 2001 – 2005


  • Assessment, Evaluation & Research Core Competency Course Development Team, current
  • Role of the College Union Statement Review Working Group Chair, 2017 – 2018
  • Facility Management Training Seminar Co-Founder & Planning Team, 2015
  • Education Council Board Member, 2011 – 2014
  • Former Region 6 Education Coordinator, 2010; Drive-In Host, 2009; College Bowl Host, 2008
  • Annual Conference Graduate Staff Team, 2001


  • University of Washington Higher Education International Leadership Program, Part-Time Instructor and Curriculum Developer, 2019
  • Role of the College in Building Students’ Sense of Community – ACUI Bulletin (2019)
  • Distancing universities from student organizations: A look at public institutions in Virginia – ACUI Bulletin (2017)
  • Compiled & edited ACUI booklet: Core Competencies & Skill Sets (2012)
  • Co-authored Student Union chapter in Student Affairs for All Seasons and Reasons (2011)
  • Jacksonville University Leadership Development Program Instructor (two 3-credit courses), 2006 – 2008

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. 2017 Virginia Tech, Higher Education; Dissertation: The Role of the College Union in Developing Students’ Sense of Community: A Narrative of Physical and Organizational Environments (http://hdl.handle.net/10919/82402)
  • Graduate Certificate: Educational Research (2016)
  • M.A. 2001 University of Connecticut, Education; Concentration: Student Affairs 
  • B.S. 1999 Roger Williams University, Biology; Minors: Psychology & Business Management


  • Brave Conversations Facilitator Training, 2020
  • Civil Conversations Dialogue Program, 2018 – present
  • Management Academy, Virginia Tech, 2013
  • Certified StrengthsQuest: Educator for Higher Education, 2011; Mentoring and Advising Program (MAP), 2012
  • Certified FEMA Incident Command Systems, 2009
Ann Comerford

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

I believe the most important strategic issues facing the Association in 2020 are budget and assessing our identity and purpose as an association. Higher Education is being challenged right now with changing enrollment management, a pandemic, and increasing student needs on campus with little to no new dollars to fulfill these needs. ACUI must be aware of and adapt to the challenges facing Higher Education while also dealing with their own budget demands and losses and a membership seeking guidance, support, education, and leadership from them. 

My first thought on how to respond would usually be to listen to what the members have to say and respond to what they need. But to be honest I'm not sure we professionals know what to ask right now. We are adapting and pivoting so much right now, it is difficult to articulate what support, skills, or education is needed. Therefore leadership will be key. The Association can be a leader in helping professionals by asking the questions to help shape what Unions, campus community, student spaces, and campus culture will look like in the years to come. Supporting research, task forces, and working groups to encourage innovation in the workplace will help answer the questions we ask together. The past few years of social unrest, a pandemic, and changing student populations should be forcing us to look at how and what we do differently while also affirming our role in the higher ed experience. If we do not come away from these times changed, I believe an opportunity has been missed.

The Association budget has been hit hard through the pandemic. Therefore the Association leadership will need to assess how and where money is spent and use this opportunity to assure the membership the dollars they are investing in the Association are being well spent. The Association needs to model strong budget decision making and be transparent to the membership on how the dollars spent are supporting Association values. This may warrant changes to Association traditions and celebrations.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

I believe every board needs to be diverse in all aspects; age, race, gender, perspectives, skills, and temperament. I bring experience serving in several different roles within the Association, a strong commitment to student spaces and the student experience, a sense of humor, an interest and commitment to change, and am a veteran professional in the field. ACUI can and should be the expert on student spaces on campus' across the globe. It is one of the few associations in higher education to incorporate professionals and students from the global community when making decisions on best practices, skill development, education, and leadership. Therefore the board needs leadership willing to think big and broad to address a variety of perspectives and traditions. I believe I bring this type of thinking to the Association. I try to lead with a why not? or yes attitude and at this time in our collective experience new ideas and creativity will be needed.

Candidate Information

Ann Comerford is the Executive Director, Student Union at the University of Illinois at Springfield and can be contacted directly at acome2@uis.edu or 217-206-8611.  

Relevant Experiences  

  • 2018 National Conference Committee
  • 2017, 2020 Student Supervision Badge Course instructor
  • 2011 Susan Yung Maul Distinguished Service Award – Region 9
  • Regional Director, 2012 (Region 9)
  • International Education Council, 2014-2017
  • “Third Places” Heartbeat of Community, TriStates Public Radio Commentary 2016
  • Quietly Making Noise: Working in Student Affairs as an Introvert or Extrovert, ACUI National Conference 2015
  • Lessons from Amateur Renovators, ACUI Region V Regional Conference, 2014
  • Leadership session, Western Illinois University Supervisor Training Program, 2014, 2015
  • Faculty member for the Student Organization Institute, 2011, 2012, and 2013, 2014 (ACUI, NIRSA, NACA, ASCA co-sponsored program)

Educational Background

  • BA in Political Science, Quincy University
  • MS Ed in Higher Education, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Ian Crone

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

The Association of College Unions International faces challenging strategic issues resulting from both the pandemic, as well as the racial reckoning occurring in the United States. 

We are only just beginning to understand the breadth and depth of the impact of the pandemic on ACUI member institutions. Initially, the challenge of balancing union’s mission to promote community with the need to create physical distancing inspired questions about the relevance of the college union. During the past seven months, union and student activity professionals have reimagined their work, hosting academic classes or COVID testing within unions, implementing virtual programming, creating alternative modalities for engagement, and negotiating remote work while ensuring union facility safety. As each institution navigates academic engagement differently, many college unions face significant and unprecedented financial challenges. 

As the pandemic spread across the globe, the United States experienced a racial reckoning which has engulfed ACUI members and their institutions. The death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests against disproportionate police violence toward Black Men and People of Color have recommitted ACUI members to our core values of unconditional human worth, caring community and diversity. Whether ACUI members are supporting students’ right to protest on campus, facilitating virtual conversations about race and privilege, advocating for change or updating union and campus policies to address systemic oppression and racial injustice, ACUI members require rich resources to grow along the Social Justice Core Competency. 

The pressures exerted on ACUI members by the pandemic and the racial reckoning significantly impact the Association. The Association has responded heroically to the immediate and changing needs of members, producing and delivering educational content on topics ranging from virtual programming and enhanced cleaning, to Antiracism and white privilege. The inability to meet in person, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, poses enormous operational and budgetary challenges, and the likelihood that the financial impact of the pandemic will persist and evolve well into the future threatens membership and engagement. 

These dual pandemics threaten to elevate fear, isolation and tribalism on campuses, which makes the community that ACUI and college unions advance more relevant than ever. ACUI must continue to serve as a lifeline to members, offering immediate and remote accessible resources and networking opportunities. ACUI must continue to adapt, such as it did when the Association recently updated our Strategic Guideposts, created the Financial Assistance Fund or introduced new initiatives, such as Atria Virtual Event services.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

My professional experience and volunteer history within the Association have prepared me to successfully serve ACUI as an At-large member of the Board of Trustees.  

Throughout my professional journey, I have been fortunate to work in unions that operate in alignment with the Role of the College Union. Recently, as Director of the Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University (NIU), I advocated daily for the value of the college union amidst severe budget cuts. At NIU, I navigated brutal staffing cuts while advancing a renovation, outsourcing a bookstore and promoting community on campus. Currently, as the Director of the Student Union at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, my staff and I work to promote community and ensure our newly constructed facility remains relevant amidst a global pandemic.

My career began as a graduate student at Indiana University where I worked with leaders of the Association, whose commitment to community, student learning and participatory decision-making guided the Indiana Memorial Union. My work at Colorado State University and the Illinois Institute of Technology exposed me to “both sides of the house,” helping me appreciate the need to balance programs and operations. At Elmhurst College, my role as Associate Dean and Director of the Frick Center reminded me how the union supports the broader institutional plan to support student success and retention.   

In addition to my career experiences, I have been fortunate to hold a variety of life-changing volunteer leadership experiences within the Association where I have witnessed the many dimensions of how it operates. My work on Annual Conference Program Teams has helped me to understand the critical importance of ACUI’s educational programming, both to the Association’s budget as well as to the way the membership gathers. 

My role as a Regional Director, as well as other regional volunteer roles, have helped me appreciate the degree to which our Association depends on the hard work and passion of regional volunteers. I also served as an ILEAD Facilitator and a Central Office Intern, as a graduate student. 

Now, as a member of the Education Council, I reflect deeply on the nature of our union vocation and engage in the process of evaluating and updating our Association’s Core Competencies.

In addition, my Gallup Clifton Strengths are Achiever, Learner, Responsibility, Strategic, and Input. I like to gather information, see patterns and get things done. I want to further contribute to ACUI in powerful ways.

Candidate Information

Ian Crone is the Director, Student Union at the University of Tennessee and can be contacted directly at icrone@utk.edu.

Relevant Experiences    


  • Education Council, Member 2018-present   
  • Board of Trustees, Member at large 2016-2018 
  • 2015 Annual Conference Program Team Chair 2013-2015
  • 2011 Annual Conference Program Team, Host Chair 2009-2011 
  • Finance Coordinator, Region 8, 2009-2010
  • Regional Director, Region 8 2007-2009 
  • Recognition Coordinator, Region 8 2006-2007
  • 2005 Annual Conference ProgramTeam 2003-2005 
  • Regional Conference Planning Committee, Region 13 2001 
  • Facilitator (I-LEAD) 2001, 2002  


  • Crone, I., & Henthorne, M. (2015) “Men’s Development Programming” The Bulletin, Bloomington, IN: ACUI, Volume 83, No. 6, pp. 42-49. 
  • Crone, I., & Tammes, E. (2014) “Small College Unions,” New Directions for Student Services, The State of the College Union: Contemporary Issues and Trends, San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass 
  • Crone, I., & MacKay, K. (2007) “Motivating Today’s College Students.” AAC&U Peer Review: Emerging trends and key debates in undergraduate education, Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities, Volume 9, No. 1, pp. 18-21.
  • Crone, I. (1999) “Lawsuits Challenge Student Activity Fee Allocation” The Bulletin, Bloomington, IN: ACUI, Volume 66, No. 6, pp. 18-22.  


  • External Review, Grand Valley State University, Kirkhof Center, September 2017 
  • Certified Gallup© Strengthsquest Trainer 
    • Co-taught HEOC 765 Organizational Strategy and Student Services course in the Doctor of Education in Higher Education and Organizational Change program. 
    • Co-taught semester long HE590BV College Union Administration course, focused on history, philosophy, and operation college unions and student centers offered through the Masters in Higher Education Program, School of Education.  


  • Supply & Demand Webinar panelist 
  • September 2020, ACUI Webinar 
  • Form versus Function: No plan survives first contact with the community  
  • November 2019, ACUI Region III, Knoxville, TN
  • Managing Student Union Operations Through the Illinois Budget Crisis
  • March 2018, ACUI International Conference, Anaheim, CA
  • Helping College-Aged Men Thrive: Interrupting the Cycle of Masculinity and Violence 
  • March 2016, ACUI International Conference, New Orleans, LA
  • The Art and Science of Hosting a Successful Search Process 
  • March 2014, ACUI International Conference, Orlando, FL
  • Generation 1.5: Supporting Undocumented Students  
  • March 2013, ACUI International Conference, St. Louis, MO
  • SAFE Zone Training Facilitator for Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Chicago Office 
  • June 2013, 536 S Clark St #800, Chicago, IL 60605
  • Revolution: Helping and Healing Male Students
  • March 2012, ACUI International Conference, Boston, MA
  • Sanctuary Training: Supporting Undocumented Students
  • January 2012, Elmhurst College President’s Administrative Council 

Educational Background


Master of Science in Education, Higher Education and Student Affairs 


Bachelor of Arts in English/Secondary Education

Wendy Denman

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

The mission of ACUI is to support campus community builders. Building community is more challenging right now than ever before. The pandemic has created physical distance between us and those we serve and also from those who support us. We are all struggling to learn new ways of connecting and providing resources for others. We are all trying to persevere in the midst of stress and social distancing. In addition to that, racial injustices are at the forefront of our lives and we must determine how each of us can help make our communities safer, more welcoming, and more inclusive for all students, but especially black students and staff at this time. Moreover, we are having to do more with less. Many of our communities, as well as ACUI as an organization, are facing budget and personnel cutbacks, which create further challenges in providing the support that is needed. 

To be successful, we must all unlearn some of our traditional ways of thinking, as well as embrace new learning and resources. We have the opportunity to turn disadvantages into advantages. While we cannot meet in person, when you consider how spread out we are as an association and the few number of times we are usually able to gather in person, building our virtual resources and connections benefits us now and into the future. In-person experiences, while arguably more robust, have limited number of participants due to budget restraints. I really appreciate how the association has handled the upcoming Regional conferences with institutional pricing. Embracing technology and finding new tools to enliven remote meetings and create engagement in a virtual world are paramount. ACUI has also demonstrated its commitment to diversity and inclusion within the association itself and through providing new resources to address social justice issues and educate members. I appreciated taking part in the White Privilege email series, I value the expanded online diversity and inclusion library of resources and am looking forward to the upcoming Diversity and Inclusion Virtual Series. I believe ACUI is on track in confronting current challenges for community builders.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

My two biggest strengths are that I am a relator and I am a strategic thinker. I value getting to know others at their core and thereby am better able to understand their unique personalities, needs, and strengths. In this way, I am able to be a greater resource in helping others while also encouraging their strengths. ACUI is an association of volunteers. I think gaining feedback from our members, associates, and volunteers is vital to informing how we serve. I think I can help share important voices related to the work the board does for the association. I also am a strategic thinker, a problem solver. I face every challenge knowing there are solutions that are just waiting to be discovered. I am good at gaining input and then putting ideas together to solve problems. I believe I could assist to better refine and achieve our strategic goals. I also am an adept financial manager. I believe I could help find ways to be creative with our budget limitations and be frugal with our resources. I have already been able to achieve this through my institutional work and when I served as the Region II, Regional Director. I am familiar with the financial structure of ACUI and the challenges we are facing. Financial stability is essential to our ability to continue our work in supporting our members.

In terms of social justice, I believe we need to look at racism from a systematic lens and continue to determine ways we can advocate for change within our organizations and our nation. It is not easy; it requires listening and it requires action. We also need to continue to provide resources for our members to lead difficult conversations. As Meghan Markle said in her recent speech to the class of 2020, we must “put others needs above [our] own fears.” The worst thing is to say nothing and to do nothing. I know I am working on being antiracist and being able to confront racism wherever I may encounter it. It is a journey and one that I am committed to.

Candidate Information

Wendy Denman is the Executive Director, University Centers and Events at the University of North Texas and can be contacted directly at wendy.denman@unt.edu.  

Relevant Experiences    

The Association of College Unions International is my professional association of choice—where I have found an enriching network of people, professional development opportunities that are challenging and engaging, and where I have been able to give back by serving others. I have been involved in ACUI since 2009. From the beginning, I have tried to stay involved in one way or another. I have served in multiple positions on regional leadership teams and conference planning teams. I most recently served as the Region II, Regional Director from 2015-2019. I have also been a frequent presenter at regional and international conferences. 

I have taught a couple of undergraduate courses, including a freshman seminar and a leadership course. I also served on a committee that created a Graduate Experience program for graduate assistants working in Student Affairs, which provided a series of co-curricular sessions and activities.

Research and Publications:

  • Dissertation – Experiences of Highly Involved Students in Extracurricular Activities, Available from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2019. 27668113. 
  • Publication: Morgan, W. (2001). A journey through adult student involvement on campus. Journal of Student Affairs, 10, 78-85. https://sahe.colostate.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/03/The-Journal-2001.pdf
  • Journal Experience: Organized and Supervised Content Reader Board; Served as Content Editor; Fall 2001

Educational Background

I am a graduate of Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. I obtained my doctoral degree in Higher Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce in December 2019.

Matthew Ducatt

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

This is an interesting question, given what has transpired over the last year and even before that with the stark contrast in our country’s political landscape between the last two administrations. There is no doubt that we are all feeling the effects of pandemic. The catastrophic changes in our economy has impacted the reliability of traditional funding models, service delivery, has called into question if campus staffing and facility infrastructure is even relevant and has put pressure on institutions to readjust their strategies or cease to continue. The worldwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, at the hands of the police have resulted in a resurgence of support for change in public attitudes regarding racial and social injustice. Student activism is putting pressure on higher education with demands for social change. Promoting racial equity in higher education means admitting and retaining more students of color, hiring more diverse faculty members, and expanding curricula to educate students about racial justice. Universities have made promises in official statements, but now it is up to us to hold our institutions to these higher standards and ensure that schools make progressive changes to combat racism. The Black Lives Mater movement has generated both a moral call to action and a need for policy changes but how this becomes a reality depends on what we do to actively support change. I believe that the most important strategic issues facing the association today is how to proactively position ACUI to adapt, evolve and transform to meet the challenges being felt throughout higher education. These challenges suggest that higher education associations will need to explore new technologies, business models, and service strategies to reach and support our membership. The higher education is evolving faster than ever before. ACUI must hone its ability to proactively position itself to meet the changes. We need a knowledgeable, passionate, creative, introspective group of professionals to head up the ACUI Board’s work. I believe we must be honest about our nation’s past and be ready to make a choice that we as an association will face our challenges, and actively change the world. I am passionate about our association, our country, higher education, and our efforts to bring social justice to all. As an at-large member of the ACUI Board, I will use everything in my power to make ACUI successfully transition to meet the challenges of our new world.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

ACUI is my professional association. I am actively pursuing the opportunity to serve the association as an at-large member on the ACUI Board of Trustees. I have been a higher education professional for over thirty years. I have held a plethora of diverse roles within the association. These experiences have shaped who I am as a professional, a citizen and a person. I am as passionate and determined about the importance of the College Union Idea, the Role of the College Union and the significance of community building in higher education now more than ever as we face the uncertainty of the future of higher education. I am a problem solver, make difficult decisions and motivate others. I am honest, fair and have a sincere commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity. I have a renewed commitment and desire to be a forceful advocate for those who are being oppressed and strive to achieve social justice for all. To establish credibility a professional must build and maintain authentic personal relationships. I have developed a strong rapport with the ACUI community. I have paid it forward to others. I am forever indebted the association for all it has given me. I have had the good fortune to learn from so many of the incredible men and women who are considered trailblazers in our field. I see this opportunity as a way give back to the Association I love and to make difference for those coming up in the field of campus community building, college unions and activities. I believe my background gives me a unique perspective when it comes to supporting the association. ACUI’s role as a knowledge-based organization of campus community building is such an important distinction which sets ACUI apart from other professional organizations. I am very passionate about our profession and I believe that I will channel that passion into this important role. I understand the nature and the structure of the organization because of the opportunities I have been given. I would really love to make a difference as we move forward, to further support the profession and to enhance other’s professional development. It would be an honor to be given the opportunity to serve as an at-large member on the ACUI Board of Trustees. I believe I have been preparing for this opportunity my entire career.

Candidate Information

Matthew Ducatt is the Director, Academic & Student Services at Florida State University and can be contacted directly at mducatt@fsu.edu.

Relevant Experiences  


  • College Unions: Programs, Services, & Community Center
  • Get Your Union Moving
  • Navigating Organizational Change
  • Graduate & Professional School Search  
  • Commuter & Transfer Student Programming
  • Time Management
  • The Importance of Physical Places on Campus
  • The College Union Idea
  • Use of The CAS Standards in Higher Education as Best Practice for Program Review Assessment
  • Organization Mission, Vision, Values & Goal Settling
  • Ten Steps to Planning an Event 
  • Welcome One and All! Inclusion Place Making and Environmental Branding
  • ACUI Navigating Organizational Change, Instilling the College Union Idea  

Professional Development

  • Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) Board Member, ACUI Liaison, 4/14- 11/20
  • ACUI Annual Conference Research Poster and Session Presenter, San Antonio, TX 04/15.
  • NASPA Constituent Groups Member: Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Campus Safety and Violence Prevention; Fraternity and Sorority; Men and Masculinities; Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs; Student-Athlete and Student Leadership Programs.14-.
  • ACUI Research Grant Recipient, 08/14.
  • ACUI Region 12, Regional Director 09-12.
  • ACUI Region 12 Regional Conference Host Director 10/08.
  • Education Council Regional Chair, Campus Life & Programs, ACUI Regions 12, 15.
  • Education Council Regional Chair, Facilities and Operations, ACUI Region 15.
  • Education Council Regional Chair, Auxiliary Services, ACUI Region 15.
  • Regional Conference Planning Team, ACUI Region 15, Sacramento State / UC Davis 2005
  • National Conference Planning Team, ACUI, Reno 2005
  • Diane Morisoto Staff Recognition Award Recipient 2005
  • AS/Student Union Committee CSU Auxiliary Organizations Association member 03-06.
  • ACUI I-LEAD Institute for Leadership Education and Development Facilitator, 04.
  • Recreation Coordinator, ACUI Regional Leadership Team, Region 4.
  • College Bowl Regional Tournament Judge Regions 4, 15.
  • Registration, and Silent Auction volunteer, Regions 4, 9, 12, 15. 
  • Member-at-Large, ACUI Regional Leadership Team, Region 9
  • Region 4 RLT Host Team Member, ACUI Regional Conference 02
  • ACUI Leadership in a Changing Environment Participant, 98  
  • Student Affairs Outstanding Staff Award, UIUC 1996-97.
  • Indiana Professional Development Seminar Participant (IPDS 1995)
  • Illinois Middle Management Organization Conference Host Director 94
  • New York State College Student Personnel Association Member 86-92
  • SUNY College Career Development Organization Member 87-92  

Community Involvement

  • Alzheimer’s Research Foundation Supporter
  • American Diabetes Association Volunteer
  • Holy Spirit Catholic Church CYO Parent Volunteer 
  • HUB Performing Arts School Parent Volunteer
  • Lubbock Chamber of Commerce University Liaison 07- 10
  • HUB City BBQ Cook-off Committee Member and BBQ Judge
  • Dance Marathon Volunteer
  • Relay for Life Team Volunteer
  • United Blood Services Volunteer
  • Southwood HOA Volunteer

Educational Background


  • Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Research Texas Tech University 12/14
    • Case Study Analysis of College Union Employment as a Source of Student Learning and Self-Efficacy Development
  • M.Ed. Master of Science, Counselor Education, SUNY Oneonta 12/90
  •  B.A. Bachelor of Arts, Public Communications Theory and Public Relations 08/8, College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY


  • Director, Academic and Student Services, Florida State University 07/15-
  • Managing Director, Student Union & Activities Texas Tech University 07/06 – 07/15
  • Union Director, Cal State Board of Directors, Inc. CSU Bakersfield 06/03 – 07/06
  • Director, Lane University Center, Frostburg State University 08/01 – 06/03
  • Consultant, Two Year College Development Center, SUNY Albany 08/99 - 01/00
  • Infant care Stay at home Parent, Ducatt Family: Troy, NY 01/99 - 08/99
  • Assistant Director, the Illini Union, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign 11/92 - 12/98
  • Assistant Dean of Students, SUNY, College at Oneonta 08/86 - 11/92
  • Area Director, Residence Life and Housing, SUNY, College at Oneonta 08/90 - 11/92
  • Career Development Center, SUNY, College at Oneonta 08/90 - 11/92

Skills Summary

Advisor |Technology Support| Budget Manager | Event Planner| Group Facilitator| Human Resource Supervisor | Customer Service Provider | Facility Administrator | Educational Program Presenter | Retail Operations Specialist | Skilled mediator| Construction Renovation and Replacement Project Manager  

Clifton Strengths Sequence: Deliberative; Futuristic, Arranger, Responsibility, Positivity Communication, Consistency, Learner, Input, Command 

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: ISFJ 

Tari Hunter

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

The association is navigating challenging times, including a global health pandemic, the financial recession, numerous incomprehensible racial injustices, and the overall impact on the landscape of higher education. As a result, I believe the Board of Trustees will have to focus on doing the critical work necessary to re-envision ACUI with an emphasis on long-term sustainability, the membership experience, and intentionally addressing racism and anti-Blackness within ACUI. 

Long-term sustainability: The board will need to assess and make critical decisions to ensure our association's long-term sustainability, including financial, structural, and procedural changes. Creating new opportunities for non-dues revenue by engaging in partnerships with higher education associations is one way that we can relieve some of the financial pressures. My long-term experience in ACUI, coupled with my experience managing human resources, financial assets, and strategic planning, allows me to contribute to these impending decisions with our association's heart in mind.

Membership Experience: Our membership is the heart of our association. Engagement and retention of the membership is a consistent strategic issue that we seek to address in ACUI. With all of the changes facing higher education, we must continue to provide our members with experiences that enhance them as professionals and give value to our students and institutions. We will need to identify ways to excite seasoned professionals and new professionals to promote growth and value for members and return on membership dues' investment. As we all navigate the new normal for our institutions, we have to revision the way we curate volunteer experiences for our members, including virtual, hybrid, and traditional volunteer experiences.

Addressing Racism & Anti-Blackness: The racial injustices that our country has witnessed recently prompted the association to pivot our strategic priorities to identify how we can intentionally address racism and anti-Blackness. We cannot covet being community builders as our core value and not pause and identify and address our association's inequities that contribute to marginalizing our association members or the injustices present on our campuses. COMP can no longer be the only voice advocating for these issues within ACUI; this requires a collective commitment from each of us. Our component groups need to develop strategies to identify and address racism and anti-blackness, both in language and engagement. 

The new strategic guideposts directly align with my professional values and why I am in this field. ACUI has been my professional home for more than 20 years, and I stand committed to being engaged in the work to move us successfully into the future as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

I believe that my 20 years as a member of ACUI, including serving in regional and international leadership roles, have prepared me to serve as an effective member of the Board of Trustees. 

I  have experience designing and directing strategic planning, fiscal management, volunteer development, chairing committees, and ad-hoc initiatives. My ACUI experiences include serving as a regional student representative, a member of the Board of Trustees, multiple regional leadership teams, and two conference program teams (CPTs).  I have been instrumental in vital association initiatives, including providing feedback for the original core competencies and the most recent revisions, serving on the diversity & inclusion council, and serving as a long term leader of the oldest community of practice in the Association: the Community of Practice for Multi-Ethnic Professional & Allies (COMP). 

Over the years, I have experienced the Association's ebbs and flows and stayed committed to being an active community builder in 5 regions and seven institutions. These experiences have provided me a deep understanding of our history, structure, transitions, and membership needs. I believe my skills and experiences will allow me to be an effective board member.

Candidate Information

Tari Hunter is the Director, Office of Student Life & Cultural Centers at Cal Poly Pomona and can be contacted directly at tehunter@cpp.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

Association of College Unions International (ACUI)

  • Member, Community for Practice for Multi-Ethnic Professionals and Allies (COMP)  2002- present
  • Member, Council for Diversity & Inclusion  2015-2017
  • Educational Program Coordinator, Region I Leadership Team  2013-2015
  • Member, Education and Research Fund (ERF)  2011-2014
  • Co- Leader, Community for Practice for Multi-Ethnic Professionals and Allies (COMP)  2008-2015
  • Student Program Coordinator, Region 15 Leadership Team  2012-2013
  • Judge, College Union Poetry Slam International, University of La Verne  2012
  • Co-Lead, Institute for Leadership, Education and Development (I-LEAD)  2011
  • Facilitator, Institute for Leadership, Education, and Development (I-LEAD)  2008
  • Member, 2008 Annual Conference Planning Team 2006- 2008
  • Member, Core Competency Implementation Team  2005-2006
  • Member, Board of Trustees 2004 – 2006
  • Coordinator, Student Track, Conference Planning Team, Region 13 Conference 2003
  • Graduate Intern, Institute for Leadership, Education, and Development (I-LEAD)  2003
  • Graduate Intern, Annual Conference Management Team, ACUI Annual Conference  2003
  • Participant, Institute for Leadership, Education and Development (I-LEAD)2000

Auxiliary Organizations Association 

  • Elected Member, Executive Committee  2016- present
  • Member, Associated Students/Student Union/Recreation Standing Committee  2012- present  

Teaching Experience   

  • Faculty, USTD 100a, Freshman Seminar, California State University, San Bernardino, 2012- 2014
  • Instructor, GSU 1010, Emerging Leaders, Georgia State University, Fall 2008-2009
  • Co-Instructor, U495, Union Board Leadership, Indiana University, 2006
  • Co-Instructor, ED 296 Introduction to Leadership, Colorado State University, 2003  

Educational Background

  • Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership, San Diego State University, 2021
  • Masters of Science, Student Affairs in Higher Education, Colorado State University, 2004
  • Bachelors of Arts, Liberal Studies & Pan African Studies, California State University, Northridge, 2002
Coretta King

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

Our current global environment has set the stage for Unions to be at the helm of great transitions and modeling. I believe through our research, programming, and intentional dialogue (theory to practice) we can equip our association members with knowledge, awareness, and behavioral tools to address equity and sustainability of our Unions and the personnel that lead these spaces.  

ACUI has the opportunity to pave the way for open candor with care around our history as Unions and institutional, systemic, and cultural roots of racism. Space, land, and housing are historical markers of privilege, and some of our facilities reside upon land that was originally tribal and/or where displacement of communities of color once existed. We can model for our communities - using research and dialogue - how to build forward with acknowledgement and the integration of local community partnerships with our current student populations, especially in a time when hybrid or virtual engagement is at an all-time high.

ACUI also has the responsibility to help model and integrate best practices for sustaining our greatest resource, which is people/membership. Wellness and wellbeing have to undergird our quests for further research, collaborative engagements, and the equipping of leaders at all levels. Universities and colleges of all types (HBCU’s, private, liberal arts, state, community, religious, land grant, urban, etc.) are rebranding and retooling themselves to creatively navigate fiscal budgets and outstanding facilities maintenance, continue being central to the campus experience and growth of students, and lend their support to ACUI as a whole while still navigating extreme environmental circumstances. Now more than ever, our membership will benefit from intentional resources, programs, and modeling of wellness and wellbeing to sustain our people resources while making the intersection of care a new normal for organizational health.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

My career spans the industries of corporate learning and higher education. I have served under housing, leadership development, civic engagement, Greek Life, and Student Unions during my time in Higher Education. I currently serve under multiple strategy tables at Northwestern University. These experiences enable me to use my strengths as strategic, futuristic, developer, maximizer, and arranger to align the best people (talent) with the greatest opportunities, ideas, and resources for the maximum outcome. I am a successful organizational leader who uses a justice-based lens to ensure that leaders are challenged and equipped for growth and policies/procedures/programs/change models are vetted for intentionality and equity. I believe that serving as a member at large for the Board of Trustees within ACUI would allow me to best serve the needs of our membership by ensuring we are pushing ACUI towards its greatest self while creating spaces for all institutions/membership to call home and belong.

Candidate Information

Coretta King is the Director, Operations and Events at Northwestern University and can be contacted directly at coretta.king@northwestern.edu.  

Relevant Experiences  

I have participated over the years with multiple higher education associations for career development, leadership development, and social justice leadership. Within ACUI, I have been involved with the Atlanta 2020 CPT, for a brief period the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programming Team (former co-lead), and former emcee for the Women’s Leadership Institute 2019. I have presented on restorative practices at both the 2018 Region V Conference and the 2019 Indianapolis Annual Conference. I am engaged in restorative practices development at Northwestern University.

Educational Background

I have a background in Business Administration with a focus on Human Resource Management (University of West Georgia); a counseling background with a Masters of Education for community counseling (University of West Georgia); currently I am engaging in an online Doctoral program for Organizational Leadership and Change Management (University of Southern California).

Clayton Kolb

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

Recently the Association leadership put forth three new strategic guideposts and annual priorities. I believe that all three of these really speak to the situation we find ourselves in now as an Association, a profession, and as a society. I’d like to specifically address two of these and perhaps add some additional layers that I believe could be looked at in the future. The first is the advancement of campus community through social justice and education to overcome racism and anti-blackness. I whole-heartedly agree with this priority and believe that it is one of the most important ways in which we could accomplish this is to look at our systems, practices, and beliefs. As we are learning, systems of oppression have deep roots and it isn’t until we dismantle entire systems that we can make progress. I would like to propose that we not only have to dig deep, but we must examine how “things are done” in general. It’s a great undertaking but we must assess all our ways of business and examine if it is time to innovate and take a new approach. Additionally, we must incorporate all our oppressed populations as we continue to move forward. Providing more resources (human and fiscal) to groups of identities through areas like communities of practice and re-focusing efforts of education. The second area is the engagement of our members and promotion of the Association. During my time in leadership for my region, I continued to notice the downturn in volunteerism. In my role as a COP leader, I see the same thing. Why is that? Perhaps we aren’t offering the right opportunity, creating systems where folks feel welcomed to participate, and maybe we have systems that are antiquated. If we can work on our involvement and engagement in our membership through our volunteers, it may just provide that fresh breath that we need. Providing a solid foundation is important and we can only do that through strong, clear, affirming systems. 

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

According to the position description, an individual in this role must be a strategic thinker, organized, an effective communicator, a team player, and someone that demonstrates the Association’s vision and core values. I would add that someone in this role must also demonstrate that they are forward thinking, relational, flexible, and most importantly be able to advocate for others. I anticipate that a board member is someone that needs to balance the priorities of the Association, the profession, and the needs of the community of its membership all with a positive attitude and willingness to ask tough questions and challenge the status quo. I believe that I demonstrate these characteristics and traits and that I continue to grow in many of them as I interact with new positions, responsibilities, and educational experiences. There are three of my strengths that I believe speak to this, the first being strategic. Not only does it show up as a top strength in my Gallup Strengths report, but I do believe I excel in the ability to create alternative ways to proceed on a given issue by noting the relevant patterns and issues. I often arrive in situations that demand new systems to be developed or updated and I’m not afraid to deconstruct something to ask foundational questions and look for ways to improve. The second strength is my organizational ability. I strongly believe in documentation, data, and communication efforts. Organization goes beyond simply cataloging information but it is what you do with that information and how you use it to inform change. I have demonstrated over my past experiences in my professional work, volunteer work, and personal life that I have an ability to create systems of organization that allow for processes to be accomplished in a more effective way. Finally, the third strength is that of the ability to connect with others through personal stories, experiences, and empathy. I deeply enjoy quality time with others and getting to know who they are, what they are looking for, and helping them to feel part of the experience. I do my best to lead with vulnerability and transparency to show my authentic self and to allow for others to do the same. This allows for more perspectives to be at the table and voices heard. 

Candidate Information

Clayton Kolb is the Senior Director Sykes Union and Student Activities at West Chester University and can be contacted directly at ckolb@wcupa.edu.

Relevant Experiences 

I have been an active volunteer for ACUI since 2016 when I first applied to be part of Region VI’s regional leadership team. For three years, I served as the communications coordinator and social media coordinator. In my first two years, I served on both the Regional Leadership Team as well as the Conference Planning Team for Region VI in these roles as we did not have enough volunteers at the time. One area of focus was the regional newsletter that I often had to create the content for and promote throughout the region, even being awarded the Earl Whitfield Regional Outreach award for the Give.Serve.Go. regional priorities that were infused in the newsletter, social media, communications, and the regional conference. I also served as the Region VI Director for a brief time until I took a new role outside my Region. 

Since 2016 I have served as the leader and then co-leader of the LGBTQIA+ community of practice at the international level. Through this opportunity I’ve created signature programs for the community that have been completed at regional conference and the annual conference. Over the past year, I’ve championed the SafeZone program for ACUI through the community of practice. At this point we have hosted two workshops (a foundation course) and have the curriculum in development for two additional courses (Trans 101 and Allyship).

Since 2016, I have presented a total of 15 education sessions at regional/annual conferences, lead an online learning program, and have been on call for other badge programs. In 2019, I wrote an article for the Bulletin at ACUI focused on my dissertation research and application to the union and activities field. 

Outside of ACUI, I have been teaching in the classroom since 2008. From 2008-2014 I taught First Year Experience and developed the curriculum at one institutions when there. Since 2014, I have taught online for Southern New Hampshire University in courses such as: human relations in administration, organizational management, organizational conflict, and leadership. 

In my current institution, I have volunteered to champion social justice and diversity curriculum for both the student and professionals at the institution working with a small committee to develop this work. 

Educational Background  

Received a bachelor of arts in social work and public relations and a master of science in organizational leadership from Palm Beach Atlantic University and a doctor of education in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher education from Grand Canyon University. My doctoral dissertation was titled, “A Qualitative Descriptive Study of a Servant Leadership Training Program for College” which focused on a servant leadership training program for college students. During my time at Virginia Tech I completed 12 courses through the HR professional development office that focused on diversity and inclusion work, completing the Diversity Ally and Diversity Advocate certificate programs.

Patrick Ledesma

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond? 

The effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we live and has given us new challenges within the Association and higher education as a whole. Many universities have transitioned from on-campus classes to a virtual learning environment (sometimes even during the semester) and many schools have faced issues with finances, enrollment rates, and student engagement. These are some of the issues that we are all facing to some degree and the Association can respond in ways that can be supportive to our membership. The College Unions have always been seen as a place on campus where students feel comfortable and can build a sense of community. We have provided connections between students and faculty/staff members to support the University mission. With COVID-19 affecting our populations, this has been a challenge for us to build relationships in the same ways that we have been used to. By partnering with University departments through the virtual environment, we can assist with student engagement through our expertise in event planning, technology, and facility management. Many of our roles within College Unions are collaborative in nature with many different departments, including Student Activities, Auxiliary Services, Housing, Dining, and Health and Wellness Centers. We can still do the same in our roles now, except we might have to virtually support our colleagues instead of leading them at times. Additionally, many Universities are facing financial difficulties through the pandemic. Some institutions have furloughed or laid-off staff that work in College Unions since many of our buildings are not open. The Association can help support our membership by assisting with networking, future planning, and a “life after College Unions” virtual support system. We need to be able to show our support to all of our members within the College Union field. We focus a lot on future development of younger staff, however we should also look at those that might not want to retire, but have been given an option by their University because hard financial decisions are needing to be made during the pandemic. Not to discount the younger staff, the Association can also assist any new staff or recently graduated students looking to work within the College Union field with more other options or guidance should they not be able to find jobs due to hiring freezes or consolidation of teams.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of higher education and how we all have to reframe our work. Each of our Core Competencies - whether it’s Facility Management, assessment tools and use of data, human resources, student learning, etc - have been affected in many ways that we have been used to doing our work for decades. More important, and something that we should also keep in the forefront of the Association is the ability to continue our work within the Social Justice realm in a virtual or physically distant manner over the next two years. 

Coupled with 20 years of experience that I have working at 4 different institutions - public and private - in a student center or event management role, I have always looked to use my background in Public Health and Emergency Management to assist others and to help create templates that can be utilized at different Universities, with tweaks to account for nuances. Within my current role at Georgetown University, I have had to be creative to assist our COVID operations team to reopen the school in a safe manner. Although we remained in a virtual environment, we still housed a large number of students and assisted thousands of students living in the neighborhood. This role not only helped me understand the importance to work closely with our Residential Living department, but also network with DC area schools in their plans as we developed plans for reopening. This collaborative effort, both internal and external, is a skill that I can bring to the Association as to be an effective board member.

In addition, one of my other perspectives that I would like to bring is stressing the importance of social media and technology to share information. Within our College Unions roles, we are looked at by many peers as innovators within the technological field due to our work with events. We should leverage this internationally within our roles and keep pushing virtual networking through the next few years. We also need to utilize the ACUI social media accounts to educate not only staff members working in college unions, but also students. Students come to the Union for many reasons, most of which is social. We can create a similar environment through virtual methods to educate all students about COVID, the history of college unions, and promote student networking across regions.

Candidate Information

Patrick Ledesma is the Director of Student Centers at Georgetown University and can be contacted directly at pel17@georgetown.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

  • ACUI Region 4 Leadership Team, 2010
  • ACUI Region 4 Conference Team, 2009-2011
  • ACUI Conference Presenter 2008-2011
  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health and Exercise Science, The George Washington University, 2002-2004

Educational Background

  • Master of Public Health, The George Washington University
  • Contact Tracing Certificate
  • CPS Certificate
  • BA Psychology and Human Services, The George Washington University
Eric Margiotta

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond?

I agree with and believe in the recently released ACUI strategic guideposts and am happy to add some complementary thoughts and personal opinions.

Racism and anti-Blackness. Being leaders in social justice is part of who we are as an association. This shows up everywhere from our core values of diversity and unconditional human worth to the updated social justice core competency. That doesn’t mean we are automatically great at it. What it means is in order to stay true to our values, we have an obligation to continual examination and improvement of how our practices may contribute to systemic racism. We also have to help our members learn and grow while giving them the tools needed to create anti-racist spaces and increase social justice in their organizations and on their campuses. This can be accomplished through education, frequent opportunities for dialogue, and staying in touch with the membership to assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

Redefining the Association and profession through pandemic. As a profession, we have been tasked with the seemingly contradictory goal of building community while keeping people apart. This has unfolded in a variety of ways across our campuses and will continue to evolve. “Normal” is in constant flux and won’t be broadly definable for an indeterminate length of time. We have already witnessed dramatic fiscal impacts at the institution and association level. It would be foolish to think we are finished with those. In addition, we can be certain these years will change what students want from a student union and what campuses will need from us. How do we pivot to meet these changes for our association and our campuses while remaining both fiscally viable and relevant? I believe we need to be present and rise to the occasion. We shouldn’t back down from the difficult times and decisions that are ahead of us.  

Future of the profession. We have always been fortunate that many people come to student union and campus community building work from a nearly endless variety of disciplines and backgrounds. That variety has helped our profession stay continually fresh AND I feel we may be missing an opportunity to engage students in our work sooner in their careers. I think we need to continually nurture and encourage student engagement in our work and understand what best practices exist to recruit the talented students we work with daily.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

I am a community builder. I am a change agent. I care deeply about the experiences of our students and staff. I am a true believer in the transformational power of the student union. I believe I will be an effective board member because my Clifton Strengths are heavily tilted towards strategic thought, because I have worked effectively at multiple institution types, because I am a first generation college student, and because I can respect and appreciate the past without needing to recreate it.

My career has been inextricable from ACUI. I was fortunate to have my first mentor in the field instill in me the value of volunteering for the association. From the first conference, first presentation, and first volunteer role onwards, I have received so much joy and belonging and friendship and affirmation that my life has changed. At the same time, I don’t shy away from difficult decisions or conversations and the near future holds many of those. We need people committed to the long term future of both the Association and the profession. I feel called to serve in this time of uncertainty and believe my strengths, my growth mindset, and my love of laughter will be put to good use in service of ACUI.

Candidate Information

Eric Margiotta is the Director, Student Unions & Engagement at William & Mary and can be contacted directly at margiotta@wm.edu.

Relevant Experiences  

ACUI Volunteer Experience and Engagement  

  • Education and Research Fund Team (2020-present)
  • Education Council Co-Convener (2018-2020)
  • Education Council member (2017-2018)
  • Recipient of the Edward S. "Beanie" Drake Founders' Award (2016)
  • Conference Chair for the Inaugural Region VI Conference (2014)
  • Member of Regional Leadership Team for Region 5 (2007-2012) and Region VI (2013-2014)  
  • Served as State Representative for North Carolina (2008-2012)
  • Member of Conference Planning Team for Region 5 (2006-2009, 2011-2012) and Region 3 (2004, 2005) conferences  
  • IPDS (Class of 2003)
  • I have been very fortunate to present multiple times at regional and annual conferences on topics ranging from the updated core competencies, to various facilities management areas, to student training.


  • Margiotta, E. (2017). “When a Ballroom Renovation Turns into a Capital Project” The Bulletin, Published at http://acui.org/resources/bulletin/bulletin-detail/2017/12/05/when-a-ballroom-renovation-turns-into-a-captial-project
  • Interview provided for Kroll, K. (2017). “Interest in single-user restrooms is growing.” Building Operating Management, 64 (12), 32-35.  
  • Margiotta, E., Bower, M. (2017). “Modernizing a 1960s-Era Ballroom.” The Bulletin, 85 (4)
  • Margiotta, E., Gardner, R., Couch, M. (2011). “Programming while the union is under construction.” The Bulletin, 79(1), 34-38.  

Educational Background  

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Master of Education, Higher Education and Student Affairs.  
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy.
Anthony Roberson

Statement of Candidacy

What do you believe are the most important strategic issues facing the Association and how should the Association effectively respond? 

I believe the most important strategic issues facing the Association are related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. College unions necessitate greater flexibility and creativity to ensure services are still being provided to students, faculty, staff, and the campus community. The Association's role should be that of a resource - a resource that provides informative guidance on how college unions can operate safely and successfully in the upcoming year of the unknown. When formulating plans and/ or recommendations, the Association must take local context of member institutions into account as colleges and universities face different restrictions and reopening guidelines due to the number of cases and the transmission rates in the city and/ or state in which they are situated.

The pandemic is not only (re)defining the way in which college unions operate, but it will define the state of ACUI for years to come. Given the long and short-term financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education and the ways in which colleges and universities are responding, we must consider the following questions: How will the Association continue to grow in the midst of major budget constraints? As conference travel is being suspended for a lot of our colleagues across the nation, how will ACUI continue to meet the needs of its members and foster community? How might we best use and enhance our existing resources to advance our vision and core values? How might the Association create opportunities for innovation? We need strong leadership to help the Association address these difficult, yet critical questions. 

The Association must be the go-to resource for college union and student activities professionals during these trying times. Communication, knowledge, and advocacy are key. The Association should engage in thoughtful conversations, assessment, and communication with its current members to ensure that the organization is meeting their needs - both professionally and personally. We must rely on the expertise of our members and host various expert panels to engage members in dialogue about how to operate our facilities safely and be successful. The Association must facilitate additional opportunities for campuses to exchange ideas. In addition to advocating for college unions, the Association must work to promote the well-being of its members. We must begin by instilling hope - hope that college unions will be here well after the pandemic and that they will return to their rightful place on college campuses.

Given the position description, what skills and perspectives do you possess that would contribute to your success as an effective board member?

My role and responsibilities as Associate Director of Operations for the Santos Manuel Student Union at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), along with my longstanding ACUI membership and participation, have equipped me with skills and perspectives needed to be an effective board member. I have experience in strategic and operational planning. For example, I have served on our Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU) Strategic Planning Committee. In addition to fully participating in the strategic planning process, including the development of our vision and mission statements, I have ensured that the staff takes an assertive role in implementing the SMSU objectives and effectively advancing our mission. In addition, I am currently overseeing our 90 million plus union expansion project, which requires strong organizational, reporting, collaboration, and communication skills, plus knowledge about the institution's governance structure and the policies that guide its operation.

Relatedly, i am well versed and experienced in Fiscal Management. I currently provide administrative and financial oversight for the operational budgets in the Operations, Information Technology, and Maintenance departments. 

I am committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the 2017 recipient of the Revis A. Cox Memorial Award, I aim to bring the same passion and commitment to multicultural education and social justice I have exhibited on my university campus, to the Association. I am a former member of the ACUI Council for Diversity & Inclusion and currently serve on California State University, San Bernardino's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Board. My primary responsibilities as a board member include: identifying and recommending priorities for diversity, equity, and inclusion work to the President; contributing to the DEI Strategic Plan design process, its finalization and implementation; evaluating and assessing the efficacy of the University's diversity strategy and the DEI Strategic Plan; and identifying metrics for progress. These skills will be essential to my role on the board.

Candidate Information

Anthony Roberson is the Associate Director Operations at California State University–San Bernardino and can be contacted directly at aroberso@csusb.edu.  

Relevant Experiences 

I approach service with a sincere sense of responsibility. My ACUI volunteer experiences align with my commitment to advancing ACUI's vision and core values. In addition, they align with my own personal commitments to advancing social justice and equity. The various ACUI committees and/or initiatives, for which I have volunteered, have prepared me well for the role of at-large member. Each service activity, including ACUI Council for Diversity & Inclusion, Multi-Ethic Professionals and Allies (COMP), ACUI Regional Conference Planning Committee, ACUI Aspiring Directors Institute, ACUI Closing the Gap Inaugural Cohort, and ACUI Men of Color Preconference workshop facilitator (2017-2019)

Educational Experience 

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Career and Technical Studies at California State University–San Bernardino.

Tena Bennett

At-Large Member
Tena Bennett
Southern Illinois University–Carbondale

Justin Camputaro
At-Large Member
Justin Camputaro
University of Washington
Ann Comerford
At-Large Member
Ann Comerford
University of Illinois–Springfield
Ian Crone

At-Large Member
Ian Crone
University of Tennessee

Wendy Denman
At-Large Member
Wendy Denman
University of North Texas
Matthew Ducatt
At-Large Member
Matthew Ducatt
Florida State University
Tari Hunter
At-Large Member
Tari Hunter
California State Polytechnic University–Pomona
Coretta King
At-Large Member
Coretta King
Northwestern University
Clayton Kolb
At-Large Member
Clayton Kolb
West Chester University
Patrick Ledesma

At-Large Member
Patrick Ledesma
Georgetown University

Eric Margiotta

At-Large Member
Eric Margiotta
William & Mary

Anthony Roberson

At-Large Member
Anthony Roberson
California State University–San Bernardino

There are many situations in which ACUI members are asked for their vote. For instance, Board of Trustees or regional director elections and some new initiatives or bylaw changes that require member approval. To be eligible to vote in any ACUI election, you must be a member at an institution in good standing. Regional elections are limited to those members in the particular region holding the election.

If you have any questions regarding ACUI elections, please contact the ACUI Central Office at 812.245.2284 or acui@acui.org.