Why I am Serving as a University of Vermont Student Trustee

uvmmedicine blogger Soraiya Thura '18
uvmmedicine blogger Soraiya Thura ’18

When I think of the University of Vermont, I think of a university that is at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship, with an ability to drive economic prosperity in the state. And since UVM is one of the oldest schools in the nation, this innovation is juxtaposed with the long-standing history and traditions of the university. I chose to apply for the position of UVM student trustee so that I could become a part of the exciting decisions that are being made at a time when the university is undergoing major developments, such as enhancements in student life and wellness, construction of new facilities and infrastructure to enhance learning, and integration of education with technology, all with an increasing focus on diversity and inclusion. I wanted to represent the student perspective, but also unite the perspectives of the graduate, medical, and undergraduate campuses so that decisions are made with the diverse student body in mind.

The UVM student trustee’s role is to contribute to and vote on major university decisions. The Board of Trustees has full legal authority and responsibility for the University of Vermont, and thus makes important choices to enhance strategic planning, budget, and policies at UVM. I have been given this amazing opportunity to serve on the board, and this role will give me exposure to the factors that go into running a successful university.

Although my term does not officially start until March 1st, I have recently had the opportunity to meet with other board members, and observe a full board meeting. From this I gained a better understanding of the board session process and logistics, the resources available, and the meaning of fiduciary responsibility. My two-year term includes several board meetings that require me to understand and weigh in on the wide range of current topics and issues affecting the university. I believe that this journey will include a steep learning curve, but I am looking forward to better understanding the many financial and political concepts that go into investment and new project decisions.

This experience will be invaluable to my future work as a physician in the contemporary workplace, where hospital structure, insurance models, and healthcare markets are evolving and affecting the way we practice. Just as various legal and financial factors influence vital university decisions, similar factors will be affecting U.S. medical schools. However, medical schools have the added influence of dynamic healthcare economics. I hope to use the information I gain from this position to contribute to medical education and healthcare governance in the future. I am looking forward to serving the University of Vermont as a current student, by providing my insight as a trustee to cultivate the future of this great university.

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