Simone named VSC Student Trustee

For the second year in a row, a Johnson State College student has been named Student Trustee for the Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees. Current Student Government Association President and Politcal Science and Mathematics major Benjamin Simone will take over for Alyssa Slaimen in the coming year.

“After finding out that our current trustee, Alyssa Slaimen, did not intend to run for the position again I became interested in the possibility of running,” said Simone. “I’ve always been passionate about representing the student voice, that’s why I ran for SGA President last year. After going to a few board meetings I saw this as a way I could use the skills I gained representing students in SGA and apply it to the board level.” Simone said that since students are the customers of their schools and the VSC system, he wants to be sure that the student voice is represented well so they can have input on the quality of their education.

Though he is still learning about all of the duties he will have, Simone knows that representing the students is one of the most important things he will be doing.

“My job responsibilities will largely be representing student voices and views from all the colleges and making sure they’re being heard at trustee meetings,” Simone said. “It will also involve making sure that students know about the decisions being made at the board level and getting feedback from students about those decisions.”

Simone said that he intends to do this by visiting each of the VSC schools and talking with their student governments to understand what concerns the students have that should be addressed at the board, and become more familiar with each school in general.

One issue that Simone is particularly interested in is the lack of communication between the VSC schools.

“One of the issues I ran on, and was brought up as an issue in VSCSA meetings was the lack of connectedness between all the colleges,” Simone said. “We’re all in one system together and we need to work together to try to get students to come to the VSC system and respect it as an affordable and academically successful institution.”

“Furthermore, I’ve seen, as one of two people in my high school class to go to a college in the VSC that it is often seen as the lesser and safety choice of schools. Yet, every single one of the college’s has something incredible and unique to offer students at a fraction of the price of either UVM or out of state schools. I hope as trustee to work with the board to figure out how we can elevate the status of the VSC in Vermont high schools and show students what an incredible option it can be.”

Simone said that regardless of what his future career path might be, he is excited to have this learning opportunity.

“As a political science major,” he said, “being involved in a political environment like the Board of Trustees is an incredible opportunity and will be an incredibly beneficial experience no matter where I go with my career path.”