"Instead of all that, I have only one fact about me that I'll share and only one promise that I'll make. The fact: I care deeply about St. Mary's College of Maryland and every student who graces this campus. The promise: I will do my absolute best to serve said students in every way I can..."
What is the Student Trustee?
Routinely, I have found that many students have never heard of the position, don't know its purpose, or both. In short, the Student Trustee is the only voice the students have on the Board, which decides almost everything about the school's $67,000,000 budget. That's a lot of zeros. Now for those of you whose curiosity has been sparked, I will elaborate.
The Student Trustee is selected in February of the candidates' first or second year through an application process with plentiful student input. The selected student will assume the mantle of Student Trustee-in-Training Designee through the final Board meeting of that year.
The following academic year, the student has designee dropped from his or her title and begins to learn under the tutelage of the Student Trustee. In the first full year, the in-Training will serve on the Buildings and Grounds Committee as a non-voting member, attends full board meetings, board functions, dinners, etc. This is a year for observing, making connections, learning how the board functions, and getting used to being a public figure on campus.
In the final year of the student's commitment, he or she becomes the full Student Trustee and begins serving the student body. It is his or her responsibility to know what is happening on campus, the major issues facing the students, and what the general sentiment is on these issues. He or she must take the initiative to tackle problems as they arise, by consulting with the proper people and working to reach mutually beneficial agreements that get the students what they want without hindering the school's ability to function in a cohesive and effective manner. The biggest aspect of the Student Trustee's job is to communicate successfully with the entire student body, not just his or her friends. Reaching out and hearing the needs of demographics that he or she normally doesn't interact with can be challenging, but it is the most rewarding and essential action that a Student Trustee can take. It is the Student Trustee's job to represent all the students, not just a select few.
During meetings, the Student Trustee is called upon to give a report on what the student body has been doing, general sentiments of the students on the current happenings around campus, and all major issues facing the students. He or she serves on the Enrollment and Student Affairs Committee as a voting member, and is an ex-officio member of the Student Government Association's Executive Board. One of the most critical and intangible ways the Student Trustee serves the student body is through casual conversation with trustees, administration and others during trustee dinners and other events.
Having a Student Trustee is a fairly rare occurrence for schools around the nation. We at St. Mary's are lucky that those who came before us felt it was important to hear the student voice at the highest levels. So please, take some time to explore this website, contact the 2010-2011 Student Trustee, Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, and let your voice be heard.