With the end of Melissa Wasser’s term as a Youngstown State University student trustee, the Board of Trustees is missing a member. Luckily, several students have thrown their hats in the ring, hoping to fill that slot.
Student trustees are tasked with representing the student voice of their particular college or university. Though in Ohio the student trustees do not have full voting rights, they are present during all board discussions and can vote in committees.
The student trustee applicants unanimously agreed that the student trustee’s most important job is to ardently represent and connect with YSU students.
Sean Meditz, a mechanical engineering major with a math minor in his junior year in the honors program, said to accurately represent students, a student trustee needs a wide swathe of connections and awareness of the full scope of the university.
“I think the most important part of it is the networking; making sure that not only are they in touch with the faculty side of matters but also how the students feel. That is pretty much the sole purpose of the student trustee is to relate the students to the faculty and university,” he said. “I feel I do represent majority of the students. Not only am I in Greek life, I am in the honor’s program; I’m also in the marching band; I’m in the STEM program. So I feel like I interact with a good chunk of the university on a daily basis and can get for how a majority of the students feel.”
Shelby Reigelman, a junior majoring in middle childhood education with a focus in language arts and social sciences, said she would also be able represent students well because of her involvement in various student organizations and her job at the Center for Student Progress.
She also emphasized the importance of not acting solely on student trustees’ own opinions, but using the voice of the students to guide their actions.
“Talk to multiple students; get their stories of what they want, where they need to see changes. Just go in there and try to represent them the best they can,” she said.
Ashley Orr, who is majoring in mathematics and economics, said Youngstown and YSU were at a crossroads and the students could be seeing a brighter future soon. She hopes to facilitate this growth by becoming a trustee.
“I think we are at a really pivotal time for time in YSU’s history. A lot of really exciting things have happened in the last couple of years. … With the change in leadership, it is also a time where we can implement more programs and encourage the growth of the university as a whole,” she said. “I think there is sometimes a gap between leadership in an organization and people who are benefiting from what the organizations mission is. So ultimately our mission is to enrich our students throughout the region.”
Bryce Miner is a senior majoring in political science, said that due to his experience working with U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson, he has experience with bureaucracy and the politics that play a heavy role in the position.
Miner said he would focus on assisting Tressel in his play to make YSU an even heavier positive influence in the area.
“YSU is a big staple in the community, and I really want to make that a focal point,” he said. “I was thinking maybe we could create some sort of program where we reach out to high schools in the area and get kids to stay locally, broadcast YSU in a bigger light.”
Dylan Dean, a freshman majoring in criminal justice, said he would make for a reliable trustee that would not make empty promises, and he hoped to familiarize students with the position.
“I see a problem with the fact that many of our students don’t even know we have a student trustee. I intend to make that particular problem disappear because if people know they have resources at their hands they are more likely to use them and more issues will get solved in a quick and efficient manner,” he said.
The final applicant Olivia Millsop, a junior majoring in nursing, was unavailable for comment.
Jack Fahey, the vice president of student affairs, said the list of applicants had been sent to Governor Kasich’s office. He added that Dean’s application was not approved to be sent due to his freshman status.