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Student trustee candidates seek to increase communication between students and Board of Trustees

There are five remaining candidates for the student trustee position. The student trustee is a nonvoting member of Ohio University's Board of Trustees. The five candidates have interviewed with Ohio Governor John Kasich, and the newest student trustee will be announced April 18 at Ohio University’s 35th annual Leadership Awards Gala.

Austin McClain

Austin McClain, a sophomore studying business economics and entrepreneurship, is running for student trustee as a way to give back to OU and Athens by making sure the Board of Trustees hears students’ voices.

McClain aims to reach out to undergraduate and graduate students on the regional campuses who are affected by certain policies. He used the 70 students arrested in Baker Center in February 2017 as an example of a segment of the student population he could reach out to.

“For both for that situation and for future situations where there’s clearly a dissatisfied group on campus, (liaisons cannot) just assume what they’re thinking but (must) actually go out and speak with them about what they’re feeling,” McClain said. 

McClain feels his economics background will help him think analytically and represent students with regard to the Board of Trustees’ role in financial planning. 

McKenzie Radar

McKenzie Radar, a sophomore studying moderate to intensive special education, is the only candidate studying education. 

She seeks to use her experience to serve as a liaison to students and bring attention to diversity and inclusion. One of Radar’s goals is to make learning more accessible for all students. 

“(The Board of Trustees is) exactly what I want to do in terms of policy in education. That’s like the end goal for me, is to be involved in some way with the laws and legislation that surrounds education and making it better for people in public education,” Radar said. 

Radar is the program coordinator for Ohio Late Nights, which has taught her how to make “student-based decisions.” 

Alvin Chaney 

Alvin Chaney, a sophomore studying industrial and system engineering, is a member of the Presidential Leadership Society and sees himself as a “servant leader.”

Chaney’s candidacy for student trustee revolves around his goal to engage and serve faculty members, staff, students and alumni.

“I’m not a politician, I’m just here to serve whatever initiatives (the Board of Trustees) have and they’re a positive impact for the university,” Chaney said.  

He plans to be a “servant leader” by “meeting students where they are” in order to promote dialogue between students and student trustees with a personal touch. 

“As a student liaison, I will help expand the definition of diversity to all things, to include fellow Bobcats who have accessibility needs such as myself,” he said. 

Sam Conrath-Sweeney

Sam Conrath-Sweeney, a sophomore studying finance and business analytics, wants to set up a “pipeline” between student trustees and students on the regional campuses if selected as student trustee. 

Conrath-Sweeney sees his communication skills as integral to serving as a liaison for students and the Board of Trustees. As a member of programs within the College of Business such as Alpha Kappa Psi and Select Leadership Development Program, he has learned “best practices” of communicating with “all different kinds of people.”

“I would like to set up … some sort of system where people from regional campuses are able to make sure their views are heard by us and that we can then translate that to the board,” he said. 

Conrath-Sweeney grew up in Athens and said he is passionate about OU. He is a fourth-generation OU student.

Ross Esterline, the fifth candidate for student trustee, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


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