By Logan Garrett, Staff Writer –
There are only two Student Trustees on the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, and one of them is UTC’s own Rachel Smith, a junior from Oliver Springs, Tennessee.
Smith, a 20-year-old double major in Communications and Spanish, attained the position of Non-Voting Student Trustee last year, and currently serves as the Voting Student Trustee, meaning her vote counts as much as any of the other Trustees.
“The position is as big of a time commitment as you want it to be, but I can’t casually do something,” said Smith. “It’s a huge time commitment for me.”
Smith said her obligations include attending all three board meetings throughout the year, staying up to date on everything happening within the UT System and serving on multiple committees for the Board of Trustees, such as Academic Affairs and Student Success, Research, Outreach, and Economic Development and the University Life Committee.
Outside of her Board of Trustees responsibilities, Smith has to maintain contact with the Student Government Associations on all three campuses.
“My position with the various SGAs is not to be in a role where I am actually legislating and telling people what to do,” said Smith, “My main position is to listen and gauge a student perspective. After I listen to everyone’s opinions, I will take that information to the Board.”
Smith basically serves as a liaison between the UT administration and the students on all campuses.
Students frequently ask Smith if the UT administration actually listens to student concerns, to which she said, “I feel like student opinions have more weight on the board than anything. I have always felt like the student voice is valued and respected by the Board.”
Smith encourages students to contact her if they have any concerns with the Board of Trustees or any questions about the UT system in general, and they can reach her at GZF665@mocs.utc.edu.