Austin McClain was announced as the next student trustee at the Leadership Awards Gala on Wednesday.
McClain is a sophomore studying business economics and entrepreneurship, and as student trustee, his goal is to communicate with students on campus better. Student trustees serve a two-year term on Ohio University’s Board of Trustees; they are non-voting members of the board and hold office hours to “reach out” to students.
“I thought it was just very important for the students to be heard of the Board of Trustees,” McClain said. “What excites me (is) to have the opportunity to really reach out to other segments of the student population, both graduate and undergraduate and even the regional campuses, to understand what they think and be able to explain that to the Board of Trustees.”
Student trustees are selected by Ohio Gov. John Kasich every two years after the five candidates, who must be Ohio residents, interview with him.
“It’s important for all voices on Ohio University’s campus to be heard by the Board of Trustees, and Austin will play a crucial role in helping that happen,” OU President Duane Nellis said in an email. “The University’s model of shared governance, from the various senates on campus to student, faculty and alumni involvement with the Board of Trustees, is crucial to capitalizing on the broad diversity of ideas and perspectives that permeate Ohio University.”
In the role of student trustee, McClain aims to foster discussion with those most affected by the Board of Trustees’ decisions.
“I used (the Baker 70) as an example … for future situations where there’s clearly a dissatisfied group on campus, to not just assume what they’re thinking, but to actually go out and speak with them about what they’re feeling,” McClain said.
He also wants to help students understand the importance of the Board of Trustees by being a resource for all students.
“The major thing is, I do really care about the people and the university itself,” McClain said. “I see myself representing the university as being a student trustee for all students and even those who don’t fully understand what the resource of a trustee really is.”
McClain’s primary goal as student trustee is to inform students about the resources he provides as student trustee.
“The big goal is to make it so that more students know about the resource of their student trustees and how they can reach them and what they can specifically do for them, I think is important for the school specifically can do for them, I think it is import for the school,” he said.
McClain feels that his background in economics will help him think analytically and represent students with regard to the Board of Trustees’ role in financial planning.
“Student trustees supply a vital link between the Ohio University community and our Board,” Board of Trustees Chair Janetta King said in an email. “Their daily interaction with students, faculty and numerous other campus stakeholders help to enhance all trustees’ understanding of matters concerning the University.”