New student trustee Jonathan Eady enters the Board of Trustees
If one were to ask the average student voting populace of Santa Monica College what it was the student trustee does, most students would be at a loss. At most, they know that trustees represent students on the Board of Trustees, which if you ask former student trustees, is just the tip of the iceberg. The role of student trustee is an advisory role that doesn't have a vote on either the Board of Trustees of the Associated Students board, but is expected to give reports to each on the other. "My position, it was really arbitrary at first because I didn’t understand it," said Daniel Kolko, former student trustee. "I didn’t understand the role."
Kolko said he thought it was important to train his successor on the duties of the position. Kolko said "I think it’s been a really successful couple months because everyone from what I hear has something good to say about him and they haven’t even seen him at work so we’ll see how it turns out."
Jonathan Eady is an Engineering major, STEM Club board member, Science Research Initiative participant, and one of those President's Ambassadors you could often see around campus with khakis and light blue polos with red embroidery on the chest. On Tuesday, he became the new student trustee.
Once he was elected to be student trustee, he wasted little time getting involved with the A.S. and trustee at the time Kolko. He became involved with various committees and even got to work on the committee that selected Ralph Andersen & Associates to consult in SMC's search for a new school president.
The committee consisted of 17 people; four faculty, three administrators, three classified staff members, three students, and four community members. Eady mentions Ralph Andersen & Associates did a good job finding Pasadena City College their latest superintendent/president "and now they’re going to to the same for us and hopefully have the same if not even greater results."
The students selected for the committee were selected by Kolko and A.S. president Ali Khan. Eady credits any of his knowledge and future successes in the student trustee position to Kolko.
"Yes I’m older than him," said Eady. "But he has experience I don’t have, especially dealing with more political aspects of the school."
For Eady there are two main perspectives to have as Student Trustee, the student perspective and the trustee perspective.
"You are a student advocate, you are there to give the students perspective, you are there to pretty much represent the entire student population, not just the A.S.,” said Eady of the student perspective. He said of the trustee perspective “it’s less about just the student, it’s about the entire administration, it’s about the district, it’s about the greater community overall."
"It’s a weird position to be in, because for one thing, the student trustee is paid by the district, but also they’re elected in by the students," said Eady. "So you have this sort of balancing act between how you best serve the students and how you serve in your role as a trustee, and the challenge is striking that balance."
He said that the Board of Trustees often works with the community and the college to try and best serve both, pointing to the newly approved Interaction Design Bachelor's Degree and connections the college has been trying to create with the "Silicon Beach" area.
Another important area of focus Eady plans to have is on Math and physical sciences, noting that they are departments with the lowest success rates.
"Yes, mathematics is a tough subject," said Eady. "But everyone that I’ve spoken to that’s gone from SMC’s math department, they say that those departments are much better developed and much better supported than at SMC."
Kolko's regret, looking back, was not utilizing his commissioners as much as he could have, being allowed to have four but only having three. He also noted the time commitment the role entailed, which led to him falling behind in some classes.
"This is an occupation," said Kolko. "If you were setting yourself up for not being available as much as possible, you’re limiting your position and you’re making it so that someone that could be in your position, who would utilize the time completely and spend all their time and effort on it, isn’t having that opportunity."