The Board of Trustees is there for students

 

Dear students,

I want to extend a warm welcome to the class of 2015 and to all returning students. For those of you who don’t know me, I encourage you to be in touch so we can remedy that! By way of introduction, I graduated from UVM in 2008 and am now the state representative for the Burlington district that includes most of the campus and surrounding neighborhoods. Currently, I serve as Vermont’s youngest legislator.

This March, I was also elected by my colleagues in the legislature to UVM’s Board of Trustees for a six-year term, and want to encourage all of you to be in touch with your thoughts, ideas, and questions about the University.

The reason I sought to serve as a trustee was because I deeply believe I would not be who I am today if not for my formative time at UVM, and I wanted to give back in whatever way I could.

My earliest memory of the Board of Trustees is from my first year at UVM in 2004. I had gotten involved in a lot of social justice organizations on campus and joined a large protest in Waterman while the board was meeting.

I remember watching the trustees weave their way through the crowd, and feeling very distant from them —people in fancy suits who came to campus a few times a year to make pronouncements that weren’t very relevant to my daily life as a student.

Later, when I became an active leader in the Student Government, then becoming president and chairing the Student Trustee Selection Committee, I got to know many of the trustees personally and realized my initial impression was wrong.

 They were all incredibly dedicated, accomplished, generous people that valued student input and wanted to see UVM graduates achieve great things. They diligently followed what was happening on campus and took the time to look beyond budget numbers and broad statistics to listen to stories and details and personal experiences.

I cannot imagine ever reaching their caliber, but I am honored to now serve among them. Some come from the legislature, as I do; some are self-perpetuating, holding the power to make appointments among themselves; some are chosen by the governor; and then you have a unique privilege to promote two students as full voting members of the Board. All accounted for, it is a diverse and thoughtful group.

So please take advantage of every opportunity you have during your time here. Whether it is your peers in class or the trustees of the university, it is up to you to engage them, and make your voice heard in order to make this the kind of learning environment you want to be in.

This is especially important as we search for a new president, which is an exciting time to re-envision the future of our University, its strategic priorities and its role on a local, national and global scale.

Finally, I just want to offer my gratitude to everyone in the campus community helping with flood relief efforts in the aftermath of Irene. Please count on me as a resource if you need support for your efforts or have been affected yourself.

Always feel free to reach out: [email protected], 802-881-4433.

Good luck this semester,

Sincerely,

Kesha Ram

Classof 2008