Devin Saunders is the new Student Trustee for the rest of this semester and through the Spring 2018 semester. He was officially sworn on December 5, 2017. The Valley Forge sat down with the Student Trustee to go over what the general student body needs to know about the process, purpose, and promotion of the role. As well as what is on the schedule to look out for.
Readers can either read a summary of the Q & A below or listen to the interview.
Q: The student body elected Devon Pettigen last semester. Can you tell me why he resigned?
A: Devon began serving as Student Trustee in May, and then he respectfully resigned about a month ago. He has personal things to tend to, but he kept his promise of going to classes and letting them know what his goals were.
Q: Can you tell me about the process of being nominated for your new
position as Student Government Association (SGA) Student Trustee?
A: In SGA I was vice president of student development which deals with the out of the classroom experience: club relations, student involvement, Fall Fest, etc. That’s how I started. The process of taking over someone’s resigned post is in the SGA Constitution. Someone is chosen and then SGA proceeds through the appointment process. The elect gets vetted, and then they are confirmed or denied by the Vice President of Student Services. The night of Devon’s resignation we (SGA) were prepared to have a meeting, but for multiple reasons that didn’t happen. SGA ended up sitting down with Dr. Spearman, Rick Daniels, and Luevinus Muhammad. At that time SGA collectively nominated me as Student Trustee appointee. There were a few questions from the faculty to me and then to SGA, but after some time I was confirmed as Student Trustee Elect.
Q: What are some changes that you’re looking for in your new position?
A: Previous Student Trustees have seen that there hasn’t been a lot of open forums that have worked well. I want to get the students more aware of whats going on here at RVC. Too many people just show up for classes and go home.
One of the things we’re working on is suggestion boxes. To have at least 1 box in each building for any questions a student has about whats going on campus. The Student Trustee is the voice of the student body and a liaison to the Board of Trustees. I have an advisory vote to let the board know that is this issue they’re voting in the best interest of the general student body or not.
Hopefully, the suggestion boxes can give more freedom to vocalize opinions and concern than an open forum ever could do for students.
The Student Trustee is an executive board member of SGA. The Student Trustee gets the same packet as the Board of Trustees in meetings, but I have an Advisory Vote instead of a Power Vote.
Q: Are there any matters you would like to start on?
A: Going to classes and introducing myself like Devon had started. The more people who know the better, my main goal is to let students know that their voice matters and through SGA we can make a lot of noise on issues that are raised. The student body can change the course on what is going on, through being aware of issues, events, and opportunity on campus. I want to get everybody informed and involved. If you’re a student here you’re a member of SGA.
Some initiatives that SGA is working on are getting new textbooks in the Library. If you’re a student that has some financial difficulties, this project allocates 2500 dollars to getting textbooks in the Library so that students can do their work without having to dish out 150 dollars for a textbook they can’t afford.
Getting people on campus activities through events like Fall Fest or getting the different clubs to decorate Christmas Trees for the holiday season is another thing I’d like to see happening.
I am also a part of the SRES club on campus and we are working on different projects like beehives on campus. We’re trying to cooperate this project with the continuing education board on campus.
The Divestment Project is changing from fossil fuel usage to renewable energy. It’s a multi-step plan and it determines the amount of energy used on campus. Specifically where it’s coming from and seeing how many solar panels we can use to replace the amount of energy used on campus. The goal is to eventually become a 100% renewable energy campus. It’s in the early stages but it has a lot of backing and support.
These different initiatives are great for the Board Of Trustees to know.
Q: Is Rock Valley College doing a satisfactory job of making decisions
with the students best interest in mind?
A: If you are cutting the classes and limiting students, they’re not going to be happy with that, but there are a lot of reasons behind that decision as well. The budget impasse in Illinois wasn’t helpful, but RVC does try to do a good job to get students involved and keeping students wellness on the positive side. Luevinus Muhammad and Rick Daniels are doing a great job and RVC is trying their best to take care of students.
Q: Is Rock Valley College doing a satisfactory job of taking care of
its faculty and staff?
A: The faculty strike and RIF were unfortunate, but now that has passed there’s a good opportunity to move forward to develop relationship and trust. RVC is trying to develop a good working relationship with faculty and staff.
Q: Do you have any feedback on the current Board of Trustees?
A: It’s a good dynamic, going to a meeting would be beneficial for all students to see. President Jensen is a good guy that is trying to be a part of the community. I have nothing but high hopes to have a positive working relationship with the Board of Trustees.
Q: What is the main idea RVC students should keep in mind when it comes
to the current affairs of the campus?
A: A lot of people care about RVC students. There are so many clubs and organizations on campus for students. Listen to what is going on and do your own research. Attend, listen, and be a part of things on campus. When students do this they become better, well-rounded citizens.
There’s a lot being done for the students. Actually, Student Life does a good of promoting events on campus. There are methods of communication, and I would highly recommend any student to pick one random club and sit in on one meeting. Just to see how it works and to be a part of something. There’s something for everyone here.
What my goal is to have an open forum before the board meetings for questions or concerns before and after. Just to recap and info and relay that to the student body about what is going on.
Q: Why did you say yes to being Student Trustee?
– What can you bring to the table that makes a difference or can
separate you from the other Student Trustees in the past?
A: During the process SGA asked me and I saw it as a great opportunity to communicate to the board the goals of students and vice versa. Previous trustees haven’t been as proactive about informing and keeping the students in mind as Devon did and as I have looked forward to doing.
Q: How can SGA and the different clubs on campus help support (you) or
– What is our role (as SGA/clubs) in the cog of RVC?
A: The executive council meeting is very helpful and a good platform for clubs to tell what are their questions and concerns. Students going to forums and filling out suggestion boxes would be great in having a better idea of what’s pressing at the time.
Q: What do you do for fun in your free time?
A: I like to kayak, camp, canoe, hike, and go outside. I love doing that. Even taking a quick trip to Rock Cut is a great idea. I don’t have a great amount of free time, but when I do, I love going outside. Also being with the First Lady Trustee is also a priority.
Q: Can you dunk?
A: The only way to find out is to meet me on the court.