Though University committees are comprised of administrators and faculty, some also have room for students who want to become more involved with decision-making on campus.
Members of student advisory committees are chosen or nominated by the Michigan Student Assembly. The student advisory committees for the Senate Assembly, a group of 74 elected faculty from the University’s three campuses, is in the process of recruiting new members that are expected to be chosen within the next few weeks, according to MSA President DeAndree Watson.
The Senate Assembly notified MSA members on Oct. 25 of openings on its student advisory committees. Fifty-nine students completed the application — which was due Oct. 30 — for one of four committees with openings: the Advisory Committee for Recreational Sports, the Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee, the Committee for a Multicultural University and the Student Relations Advisory Committee.
Each committee works toward different goals pertaining to campus issues. The Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee, for example, advises the Senate Assembly and the University’s Department of Public Safety on issues such as hate crimes and sexual assault.
Sally Churchill, the University’s vice president and secretary and chair of the Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee, said the committee’s student voice is critical.
“A lot of us (faculty members) are here during the workdays, but we’re not here at 11 at night maybe at the library,” Churchill said. “There are so many issues, like living in the dorms, that are unique to the student experience, so students are really helpful to our committee.”
Churchill also mentioned that the committee offers students’ unique experiences that involve speaking with University officials.
“I think what students would get out of it is the opportunity to have really thoughtful, high-level discussion with high-level administrators and faculty, some of whom have a lot of experiences in safety issues,” Churchill said.
Similarly, Watson wrote in an e-mail interview that being on the committees allow students to work with the University administration and have a chance to positively influence future University policies.
“It allows students to have a personal working relationship with those officials and gives them invaluable experience with the inner-workings of the institution,” Watson wrote. “I think that it is extremely important for the administration to yield to the voices of students and for students to be a part of the process of running the University.”
The selection process differs for each committee, Watson wrote. Candidates are either chosen or recommended by Watson or a University executive officer. If the administration is in charge of selecting a candidate, Watson nominates individuals, and the University officers choose from these students.
When choosing a candidate, Watson wrote that he looks for passionate students who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. He added that students don’t necessarily need to be knowledgeable in their desired committee’s focus, but they should be open-minded and willing to learn.
“I am looking for students who will actively contribute to the discussions, represent the views, interests and concerns of students, and students who are committed to being a part of the process,” Watson wrote.