By Leonard Blanc
Last week Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) held an election to name a new student trustee for the senate. Both candidates released a written statement on why they felt they would be good for the position, which were released to the 4Cs community via an e-mail from Director of Student Engagement Tracy Morin.
The two candidates running were Theo Calianos and Ishan Khadka. Calianos came out the victor in the election with 40 votes, compared to Khadka’s 36.
“Why do I want to become student trustee? It is because I have the necessary drive and skills needed to represent the student body,” said Calianos. “I am confident that I understand students’ wants so if I am the student trustee, this would allow for greater say from the students in what is funded at the school. In conclusion, I believe I have the skills and ideas necessary to be a voice for the students.”
Calianos is now in his second semester at 4Cs and is currently studying computer science. This will be his first foray into the world of student government, but he has been an active member of the college’s Rotaract Club, an organization that promotes leadership and community outreach as well as international projects to promote goodwill.
“It’s just communities getting together…One of the things we did is we sold bracelets that were made out of wallpaper and it was for people in Nicaragua to help try and bring them out of poverty,” said Calianos.
The responsibility of the student trustee is to represent the entire student body as a voting member on the college’s board of trustees. Despite the fact that the student trustee is meant to represent all students, over 70% of 4Cs students were ineligible to run for the position, since a student needs to be attending full-time in order to qualify.
“Following our college’s involvement in Advocacy Day at the state house last month, a group of 4Cs students is leading a charge to have state law changed to allow part-time students to run for Student Trustee,” said 4Cs President John Cox. “The current law mandates that only full-time students are eligible, eliminating 70% of our student population from serving. While we’re appreciative of the dedication it takes to be a full-time student, part-time students are the vast majority of our students. As our majority, we believe they should be eligible to serve as Student Trustee.”
In order to accurately represent the needs of students, it’s the responsibility of the student trustee to not only make themselves available to hear student concerns, but also to go out of their way in order to find out what students actually want to see changed.
“I’ve been talking to people in my classes so far, but one of the people I was speaking to had the pretty interesting idea of starting an anonymous survey, which I would be open to,” said Calianos. “My only fear would be actually getting students to fill it out. So far I’ve found the most efficient way is to just walk around campus and flat-out asking students what they think can be improved.”
Student trustee is one the most impactful roles a student at 4Cs can hold. Not only are they members of the student senate, but they get a real tangible vote to use at their discretion that directly impacts students and the school community.
“The student trustee serves as a voting member of the college’s Board of Trustees,” said Cox. “The student trustee is the voice of the student community at the board meetings. As trustee, the student engages in the governance of the institution, with a focus on fiduciary, strategic and the generative functions of the College. This is a tremendous responsibility, codified in state law, and it is a wonderful opportunity for our student trustee to be at the table for conversations that impact the lives of students. We value having that voice, and we feel that it’s a necessary position to make sure we are best serving our current and future students”