By Eva Simeone
For Chauncey Jackson, a sophomore from Solon, Ohio, who will begin a two-year term as a student member of the Ohio University Board of Trustees beginning in June, leaving the university a better place is his first priority. And he's already developed a strategy for making his voice representative of the university community.
"The first step is learning how the board operates and building professional relationships with the trustees," Jackson said. "After that, I plan to talk to all the constituencies on campus and department chairs to gain the information I need to present to the board."
Jackson began his quest to build leadership skills the moment he stepped foot on to the Athens campus in 2006. The political science major co-founded the Black Affairs Advisory Council to unite black students on campus and build communication channels with student leaders in hopes of increasing diversity within university organizations.
Next came his roles as vice commissioner of the Student Activities Commission and South Green representative on Student Senate. He also works as a building manager at Baker University Center, and he hopes to become more involved with the university's NAACP chapter in the coming months.
Jackson takes over the seat of Lydia Gerthoffer, whose term on the board concluded this spring; Tracy Kelly is the other student trustee on the board. Although nonvoting members, they are responsible for providing a student voice on the board and communicating with campus and community contacts. They attend board meetings, serve on committees and act as the student representative in a wide variety of board discussions.
Three individuals who supported Jackson's application for the position are certain he'll succeed.
Betty Pinkney, Jackson's supervisor when he interned for 11th District Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones last summer, said he was "superb, fabulous, and will do an outstanding job as a student trustee."
Assistant Professor of Sociology Michelle Brown commented on his superior communications skills, adding, "He brings the integrity and vision that we'd want one of our students to have in this position. He's not afraid to stand out and have a voice."
Another faculty member, Assistant Professor of Political Science Barry Tadlock, was impressed by Jackson's ability to articulate his thoughts in class.
"He also demonstrated a willingness to listen and to learn from others in a respectful manner," he said. "His strong desire to serve the Athens community and university community make him a perfect fit for excelling as a student trustee."
The application process for the position started with Ohio University Student Senate, which narrowed a pool of nine qualified applicants to five finalists. The finalists then interviewed with a three-person panel through the Ohio Boards and Commissions Office, part of Gov. Ted Strickland's office. The governor appointed Jackson to the position.
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