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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

AU creates new ‘student-elect’ board of trustees position

Joe Ste.Marie, former Student Government Comptroller, has become the University’s first-ever student trustee-elect this fall. The position allows Ste.Marie to sit in on board of trustee meetings before becoming a full student trustee in May.

Ste.Marie was appointed in May 2012 and has spent his time shadowing the current student trustee, graduate student Randall Warnas.

The full student trustee is a non-voting member of board of trustees. Other student leaders such as the SG President, the Graduate Leadership Council President and the Student Bar Association President are all present at trustee meetings, but only the student trustee can speak to the board during these gatherings.

“This is the first time this has happened,” Ste.Marie said. “We’ve never had a trustee-elect before.”

Ste.Marie did not mention what specific things he might work on next year. However, he said he is excited to work with Warnas as a mentor.

“He [Warnas] brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm and ideas to the role that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before,” Ste.Marie said.

Warnas is focusing on how the tobacco- and smoke-free policies are implemented, the quality of the new Aramark food service, the student push for divestment from fossil-fuel-related assets and how virtual learning and some of the school’s new online master’s programs might affect the standing of the University.

“I have the ear of the board, and they’re very respectful of the student position,” Warnas said.

Warnas said he thinks the trustee-elect position would be a positive change.

“It is a little daunting to be in a board meeting in a setting you’ve never been in before,” he said. “It allows you to hit the ground running next year.”

While mentoring Ste.Marie, Warnas also hopes to reach as much of the student body as possible this year. He said his position as a master’s-seeking student should allow him to include the concerns of more than just undergraduates. Between meetings, student trustees go to meetings of student organizations and collect information on issues important to the student body.

“The position is designed to make sure students have a relationship with the board,” Ste.Marie said.

cjohnson@theeagleonline.com


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