The Collegian
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Student governments reveal picks for representatives to the Board of Trustees

<p>A view of the Tyler Haynes Commons from Westhampton Lake.&nbsp;</p>

A view of the Tyler Haynes Commons from Westhampton Lake. 

The University of Richmond student government organizations chose 13 representatives for the Board of Trustees after students demanded more representation and voice in the Board of Trustees’ decisions. 

Richmond College Student Government Association and Westhampton College Government Association announced on Nov. 3 the students they chose to stand on five committees. This decision came after  a joint resolution from RCSGA and WCGA demanding student and staff trustees back in February.

Last Spring, the Board agreed to allow the student governments to select representatives for five of the Board’s committees, according to an email sent to students from RCSGA president senior Joseph Coyle and WCGA president senior Penny Hu.

Students were selected for the following committees: the Academic and Enrollment Management Committee, the Advancement Committee, the Business Management Committee, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee and the Student Development Committee.

“Last spring the student government asked if they could be more involved,” said Steve Bisese, vice president of Student Development. “They wanted to be responsible for selecting the students for each of the committees.” 

Student representation on the Board is not new. Since 2015, the Student Development Committee has had students selected to be a part of the Board of Trustee committees, Bisese said.

The process of selection is a new aspect. Before, the committees would ask for nominations from deans and administrative leaders at UR, Bisese said. 

The committees meet the day before Board of Trustees meetings. There are four meetings each academic year: in September, December, February and April, Biese said.

After a nomination period followed by several applications and interviews, the following students were selected:

Academic and Enrollment Management Committee

Olivia Falck, '23, Matthew Karen, '24

Advancement Committee

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Kavon Thompson, '23, Kate Amabile, '24

Athletics Committee 

Tristan Wheeler, '23

Business Management Committee

Aleena Ahmed, '23, Derek Gilmore, '24

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee

Zhue Azuaje, Law’23, Ny'Asia Flowers, '24

Student Development Committee

Joseph Coyle, '23 (by position as RCSGA President), Penny Hu, '23 (by position as WCGA President), Arju Patel, '22 (Fall semester 2022), Helen Xia, '24 (Spring semester 2022), Colin Elgarten, '23

Bisese and the heads of the student government, Hu and Coyle, worked throughout the summer so the new student representatives could get started in the fall, Bisese said.

New student representatives will be selected and vetted during spring 2023. Bisese, Hu and Coyle plan to amend their selection process as needed before they solicit nominations from deans and administrators. They will then send out a message to students for them to nominate other students or themselves. All nominated students will be asked to submit an application, Bisese said.

Hu and Coyle will review applications, narrow the selection down and interview a select few in front of the student senate, Bisese said. 

Falck is on the Academic and Enrollment Management Committee and has plans to make changes with students in mind. 

“I care a lot about the students at this school and I’ve gotten a lot back from the academic opportunities,” Falck said.“I want to give back with the best interest of the students.”

Another representative, Amabile received her nomination in September 2022 for the Advancement Committee, which mainly focuses on fundraising and alumni relations, she said. 

“I believe I was nominated because of my focus on community service on campus,” Amabile said. 

Last academic year, Amabile helped start UR’s branch of Relay for Life. She said she believed this has helped her knowledge of fundraising. 

“I’m there to be a voice for other students,” Amabile said. 

The committees usually select juniors so their terms last for two years; however, the committees are also open to graduate students, Bisese said. 

“It’s educational for students as well,” Bisese said. “They can see what the job of the board is and see what their responsibilities are.”

Doug Bosse, the faculty representative to the Business Management committee, said he believed UR should consider the interests of every community on campus and is pleased students are represented on committees of the Board of Trustees.

“I think the board is set up to be powerful,” Bisese said. “But the committees are a great place to be a part of decisions.” 

Contact news writer Amy Jablonski at

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