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With deadline looming, student trustees offer application-process advice

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Ohio University Student Senate will hold its last information session today at 7 p.m. for students interested in filling the soon-to-be vacant student trustee position.

The chosen applicant would replace senior Amanda Roden and join junior Trustee Keith Wilbur in representing OU students as a whole on the Ohio University Board of Trustees, the university’s administrative authority for all general, academic and legislative matters.

Those who submit applications will have their materials reviewed by Student Senate before the appearing in front of a committee, which is chaired by the vice president of student senate and contains the two standing student trustees along with various administrators. Five finalists chosen by the committee then go to the governor’s office in Columbus, where a small panel chooses the new trustee from the remaining candidates.

Student trustees find themselves in a rare position where they can define their individual roles while enjoying widespread benefits of connections to faculty and other networks.

“You get the most information of any student on campus by far,” Wilbur said.

When Wilbur was selected last year as the junior student trustee, he became the first to publicly support student trustee voting rights. Currently, the student trustees only serve in a non-voting capacity on the board. Many student groups, including the Ohio University Student Union and Student Senate, have backed motions pressuring the Ohio Legislature to allow either mandatory or permissive student trustee voting rights to Ohio public universities. Each public school in Ohio is required by law to have the two student trustees on their respective boards.

Wilbur and Roden offered words of advice to those thinking about applying. Although the process may seem daunting to students, they insist the process is not as strenuous as it sounds.

It’s almost more nerve-racking to be in front of a panel of your peers with a large committee for the first round of the interview session,” Roden said. “Come in with confidence and talk about it. We’re all students, so its not as scary as it seems when you are sitting at the end of the table.”

Wilbur noted that while the governor’s interview may be intensive, the Capitol interview is conducted in a casual setting, and preparation can cure all worries.

“They do ask you a lot of questions,” Wilbur said. “They want to know what you know, so the more you can say to their question the better off you are…mention what you know about the governor’s administration, the university and tie it all together.”

Being well-versed in Gov. John Kasich’s higher-education policies is also very important, Roden said.

“He has some pretty strong feelings about it…and the direction he wants to take it,” Roden said. “I think that would be really important to know before you go to the office in Columbus.

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