The Board of Visitors is seeking a new undergraduate and graduate student representative for the upcoming school year.
Graduate student representative Robyn Jones has been involved in many organizations and held several positions, including being the first black woman to be elected class president in 2002 and serving as executive director of the Student Government Association.
Of these leadership experiences, Jones said serving as a student representative for the BOV brought a new aspect to the table.
“I saw the opportunity and wanted to represent students from the unique perspective of the Board of Visitors level,” Jones said. “I wanted to see policy being made at the highest level at Virginia Tech.”
As the governing authority of Virginia Tech, the board is made up of 14 members, 13 of which are appointed by the Governor of Virginia and confirmed by the Senate. The 14th member serves as ex-officio and is the president of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“The Board of Visitor’s primary role is in policy and budget,” said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for University Relations. “They establish tuition rates in March, appoint the president (of the university), and approve the name, location, and building of new structures.”
The undergraduate and graduate student representatives serve as liaisons to connect the students and the board. Each student representative is also appointed to serve on one of the board’s committees by the chairman.
Nick Onopa is the current undergraduate student representative. Onopa has held various leadership positions in organizations including the Student Government Association, Hokie Camp and the Student Life Council. He plans to go into educational reform and later on in his career, politics.
“I do what I can to help the university given my resources,” Onapa said. “I meet with diverse groups of students and try to get everyone’s perspective and opinion on issues.”
Student representatives are involved in a number of events that reach out to the student body. For example, Onopa is going to Richmond to lobby with the SGA on Hokie Day.
“I also go to banquets for the Board of Visitors, attend alumni weekends and organize lunches to discuss student issues six times a year,” Onopa said.
The application process has several steps, including a personal statement with the application, two letters of recommendation, a resume and a series of interviews. The one-year term spans from June to May, and the members of the board ultimately decide who holds the position. Students who are interested have until Feb. 15 to apply.
“The goals and issues have changed since I was chosen (as the undergraduate representative), but we have accomplished a lot,” Onopa said. “With my position, I represent what is means to be a Hokie.”