After hours of debate on what to do in the event of a tie, newly confirmed Tampa campus student body president Chris Griffin was elected to serve as the student representative for the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) — there was no tie.
Griffin will sit on the Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) work group of the BOT as the single student representative for students across all USF campuses. The ACE committee focuses on what impacts students on campus.
To get the position, Griffin ran against the student body presidents from the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses. He said that while the election meeting was long, it went well.
In his new role, he will facilitate any questions or concerns that come up that relate to anything the BOT is going over, he will bring up and address. The position is a big one for Griffin, who said he’s eager to begin his work.
“(I’m) excited to continue to work and really move forward with this additional position and see how this can help move our platform forward and move our university forward,” Griffin said.
Large university decisions are made at the BOT level, which is why Griffin feels his appointment to student representative is such an important one. He feels his role has a lot of weight and bargaining power.
“Obviously, the (BOT) is where huge change happens,” Griffin said.
In order to train for his new position, Griffin is meeting with the current student representative and getting caught up over the next few weeks.
He will also be looking at what the BOT has been looking to improve and what areas he specifically will be working on. Griffin wants an understanding of the past and future of the BOT. He isn’t walking in unprepared.
“I have been caught up to everybody else who has been serving on the board for quite a few years,” Griffin said.
As far as his platform, he isn’t going to the BOT to try and push any of his initiatives unless the need arises. He feels anything relating to the platform can be done at lower levels, leaving the Board as almost a last resort.
Bringing things up at the BOT meetings isn’t as advantageous to Griffin as the connections he will make with university higher-ups through his new representative position.
Griffin feels the position comes with a fair amount of pressure, but said he knew what he was signing up for when he ran.
“Knowing that I am the voice, I am the person that everyone is going to look to … there’s a bit of pressure, but it’s not bad,” he said. “… I like being that representative. I absolutely enjoy the fact that all of these students believe in me, and I think that just makes my position so much greater. … I can definitely do it if everyone else is standing there behind me supporting me all the way.”