The Alamo Colleges system on Friday named a student member to its board of trustees — a move the Bexar County-based system says is a first for a Texas community college board.
Jacob Wong, a San Antonio College sophomore, will serve a yearlong term as a nonvoting student liaison starting Tuesday. He will be the first and only student to serve as a trustee on the board of any community college in Texas, according to the Alamo system.
For his role on the board, Wong, 35, will receive a $600 scholarship for the two semesters of his term.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Leo Zuniga, the associate vice chancellor of communications at Alamo Colleges. “The board felt it needed to hear more directly from the students, and this will be a way of making sure that students’ interests are represented.”
Student regents have been able to serve on university system boards since 2005, when the Texas Legislature created the position.
The Alamo Colleges board, which consists of nine voting members, had been considering having a student trustee for nearly a year, Zuniga said. It began the selection process by asking each of the five Alamo Colleges, which have about 60,000 students in total, to present a candidate.
The student trustee position builds on the “principle-centered leadership” philosophy of the system, said Adriana Contreras, the deputy to the chancellor.
Wong was chosen in part because of his experience and involvement in student governance, Contreras said.
“One of the questions we asked the candidates was ‘who owned the Alamo colleges,’” Contreras said, “and Jacob was the only one who answered correctly — he said ‘the people.’”
Wong has served as president of the Student Government Association at San Antonio College and as part of various other committees that worked with the administration. Other criteria for the position included academic standing, community service and involvement in student organization.
“The trustee position is very similar to what I already was, as a conduit of information,” Wong said.
Wong said that his biggest priority is affordability and accessibility for students.
“I want to make sure we can reach every possible student,” said Wong, a former ballroom dance instructor and current ceramic art teacher. He plans on pursuing a career in child psychology.