Student Trustee Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1: The Role of the Student Trustee

1. What is the role of the Student Trustee?

Student Trustees play a vital role in colleges, serving to bring a student voice and perspective to the Board of Trustees. Bellevue College is only one of two community and technical colleges in Washington State to have a Student Trustee position, highlighting the importance and value Student Trustees provide at Bellevue College. Many of the Student Trustee responsibilities and engagement opportunities include attending monthly Board Meetings and various retreats, receiving training, and opportunities for paid travel, professional development, networking opportunities, and professional connections in the Bellevue community.

2. What is the time commitment of the Student Trustee?

Student Trustees attend monthly Board Meetings, which usually run for three hours. Occasionally, there are special Business Board Meetings, which are scheduled at least a week in advance. Preparation for Board Meetings includes reading the meeting packets and gaining understanding of the topics and policies that will be discussed at the meetings. Throughout the year, Student Trustees often have the opportunity to attend and participate in many professional development and legislative opportunities. As Student Trustee, you get to decide which opportunities and events to attend depending on your schedule and availability. Overall, anticipate 4-5 hours of work each month.

3. Will being a Student Trustee interfere with me taking classes?

No. Bellevue College and the Board of Trustees understand and emphasize the importance of schoolwork and taking classes. Your classes will always take priority over your Student Trustee work. The best way to balance and coordinate your Student Trustee responsibilities and schoolwork is to plan ahead and communicate with the other Trustees. Many events and opportunities are planned weeks, if not months, in advance.

Section 2: Board Meetings

1. What does the Board of Trustees do?

The Board and its members act as stewards of the college on behalf of the community and the state. The Board has responsibility for the college’s strategic direction, policies, budgets, collective bargaining (union) agreements, and some personnel matters such as hiring and evaluating the president. The Student Trustee participates in all these areas except those exempted by Washington State law, specifically personnel matters and collective bargaining agreements.

2. What does a Board of Trustees (BOT) Meeting look like?

There are often study sessions prior to Board Meetings, which cover topics such as ctcLink and the future of higher education. These sessions serve as a way for Trustees to dive into complex material and discuss their future ramifications. Board Meetings usually consist of Constituent Reports, First Read Items, Action Items, Quarterly Reports, President’s Report, Board Report,

and Public Comment. Following this, the Board of Trustees breaks out into Executive Session, which the Student Trustee doesn’t usually attend due to the nature of topics being covered (such as union agreements and personnel matters).

3. Do you have to wear anything special for BOT Meetings?

There is no specific dress code or requirement for board meetings. In general, dress as you would for an informal job interview (e.g. suits, ties, dresses are not required.)

Section 3: Training, Compensation, and Applying

1. What does the application process look like?

Bellevue College chooses 3-5 student applicants from the applicant pool and forwards them to the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Office will contact the applicants to have them complete an application through the Governor’s Office. Then, the Governor’s Office will schedule interviews with the selected applicants. Depending on the number of applicants, it may take some time before the Governor’s Office selects and appoints the Student Trustee.

2. Why should I apply?

The Student Trustee position is heavily involved in policy-making and governance. Likewise, the Student Trustee may have the opportunity to participate in advocacy and legislative opportunities, such as advocating for college and student issues. Serving in this position will develop decision making, professionalism, communication and leadership skills, and awareness of campus and student issues.

3. Will I receive training to be a Board of Trustee?

Yes, training and professional development is provided. Once appointed, you will be assigned a “board buddy,” who is another Trustee on the BOT. They serve to answer your questions throughout the year and help you get ready for Board Meetings. Additionally, the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) offers multiple training and professional development opportunities for Trustees, which you can attend.

4. What is the Merle S. Landerholm Scholarship?

Student Trustees may be eligible for the $2,000 Merle S. Landerholm Scholarship. Bellevue College will notify you once you are appointed if you are eligible for the scholarship.

5. Is the Student Trustee position compensated?

The Student Trustee will be compensated for their attendance at Board Meetings throughout the year. The Student Trustee is paid a stipend of approximately $3200 for the academic year (August through June). The stipend covers their attendance at the meeting as well as pre-work and post-work they do for meetings. There are also potential opportunities for paid travel or attending virtual conferences throughout the year, but they are not guaranteed.

Last Updated March 8, 2021