Hamline News

Students Met with Trustees at the “100 Who Influence” Luncheon


On Tuesday, February 18, students from organizations, athletics, residential life and advocacy-work across the university were invited to “100 Who Influence” Luncheon, an annual event dedicated to conversations between engaged student leaders and the members of the Hamline University Board of Trustees about the future they'd like to see for the institution.

“There’s a challenge I put out to each one of you,” President Miller said to the room full of students, staff, and members of the university’s board of trustees in her opening remakrs. “Your influence shouldn’t stop with Hamline University because it’s within your DNA to be leaders.”

The ensuing discussions revolved around academic excellence, university life, financial stability, and sustainability--topics covered in Hamline’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.

The event was formal for the Hamline campus, with a sit-down meal, place cards and directions for business casual attire. After the guests took their designated seats, Andrew Weston, current student body president and co-organizer of the event, took to the stage.

“We’re all here to have positive, constructive conversations on what Hamline needs to be for all of us and for generations to come,” Weston explained.

They later concluded by asking a question to anchor the conversations: “How can Hamline be the most student-centered university?”

Trustee member and Chairman of the Academic and Students Affairs Committee Doron Clark (‘00) spoke after. “I see the role of trustees as ensuring that we are making the commitments we need to make and continue to make via our strategic plan and core principles.” 

The board of trustees is responsible for Hamline’s overall mission, policy, and direction of academic and educational purposes. All 32 active members are volunteers and receive no compensation for membership.

“This role based in trust means I get to do some of the most fulfilling work of my life at a place I love,” Clark said.

“You’ll get to share your stories with the board and the trustees will share theirs, too,” he said.

Each table was assigned one trustee to 5-7 students to discuss an aspect of the strategic plan.

Conversations ranged from showers in the Heights dorms, food insecurity initiatives, to the diversity objectives for both the board of trustees and university faculty.

“Diversity is something we’re always working and can be better at,” said Ellen Watters, vice-chair of trusteeship. As a member of the LGBTQIA community, she also shared, “My role is to be a thorn in the sides every time we talk about representation.”

Student leaders and trustees found similar goals of being student-centered. "I'm always thinking of what we can do for students and what kind of positive impact I can have,” peer educator Brooklyn Worms shared.

A few students and trustees remained in discussion at their tables once lunch concluded. Other trustees walked up to President Miller with the fresh notes from their conversations in hand.

“I might not know all the answers, but I want to be a conduit for students and find people that do,” said Watters.

Written by Malenie Ven.
Photo credit: Malenie Ven (Brooklyn Worms, Chloe Halvorson, Casey Anderson, Ellen Watters, and Fatima Menawa)