Third-year Alex Jung was elected the new undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees Wednesday by Student Government’s (SG) College Council (CC). Jung replaces second-year Leeho Lim, who stepped down earlier this week for personal reasons.
Thirty students expressed interest in the position, and 15 were formally vetted by CC, according to SG president Tyler Kissinger. Candidates who were formally vetted submitted statements to CC and attended SG’s Wednesday meeting to speak and answer questions.
Jung said she sees two main responsibilities for her position.
“I’d say it’s a two-way role where one is transparency for the student body as to what the Board of Trustees does, as nobody really knows what the Board of Trustees does in general, and also the second role would be student representation on the Board of Trustees,” she said.
She said that her priority is gaining greater representation of the student body on the Board before trying to obtain a student vote. Currently, the undergraduate and graduate liaison attend some portions of Board of Trustee meetings, but do not attend the entirety of the meetings and have no vote.
“I’m going to really concentrate on getting…students to observe or represent student views at actual Board of Trustees meetings, so hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have three or four with observer status or ex-officio status,” she said. “I think one area we have power in is bettering student representation, so the thing we can fall back on when there is disagreement with the Board is say, ‘This is the student opinion and this can be evidenced by these members who are sitting here, who are able to tell you the exact same thing.’”
Jung added that she will work with SG and other universities with student voting membership on their boards to develop a long-term plan to get a student vote.
Jung said she thinks her belief in the importance of unity between the undergraduate and graduate divisions set her apart from the other candidates. She said this unity can be achieved through better communication between the undergraduate and graduate liaisons.
“What I hope distinguished me, or what might have distinguished me, would be my acknowledgement of not only the disconnect between the Board and the undergraduate body but also the graduate and undergraduate bodies, because that’s always going to be a challenge when the two divisions are not united in what they want from the Board, and that’s definitely something I made a point to get across,” Jung said.
SG President Tyler Kissinger said he thinks Jung will bring a new perspective to the organization.
“I think it’ll be nice to have a fresh face who hasn’t been involved on SG, hasn’t been involved in some larger organizations but also shares our vision of ultimately a university where students play a larger role in University decision-making processes,” Kissinger said.
Jung said she hopes to give a voice to underrepresented populations on campus.
“I fall into the category of international student, Asian, low-income threshold, so all these are not necessarily the most vocal groups nor the best heard, so it’s interesting for me to be assuming this position mainly because I think I’m doing this because I, by doing this, give myself and a lot of similar people with similar interests and backgrounds more of a voice,” she said.