Student Trustee Perspectives
Each year, four collegians are selected to serve on the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation Board of Trustees. Student trustees have the opportunity to get involved with Alpha Chi Omega on a national level while serving as the voices for our collegiate membership.
We had the opportunity to sit down with this year’s student trustees to learn more about their experiences.
What made you interested in becoming a student trustee?
Holly Pyper: I wanted to become a student trustee because I wanted to get as much as I could out of my time as an undergraduate woman. I saw this position as a way to grow professionally and give back to our organization in a meaningful way. I didn’t realize that in addition to those benefits, I’d build deep friendships with women across the country.
Kelsey Montgomery: I was most interested in sharing the collegiate perspective with the Foundation board and being able to help chapters and officers with Foundation-related questions.
After applying to serve as a student trustee, what was the interview process like?
Lizzie Kemins: The interview process consisted of an application and an interview. I remember being nervous for the interview because I looked up the members of the board of trustees and seeing the prestigious women I would be speaking to, but on the phone it was just like a normal conversation. They made me feel very important and it was so cool to see that these women really cared what I had to say!
As a student trustee, you are the collegiate voice to the leaders of our Fraternity – your voice matters! I’m sure you’re busy with class, applying for jobs and figuring out life after college. What is the time commitment to serving as a student trustee?
Kelly Suntrup: The time commitment is about the same as serving in an executive board position. I previously served on the executive board for three years, so I was really excited to have something new but still related to Alpha Chi Omega to fill my time!
You’ve been doing this for a year; looking back, what have you learned from this experience?
Holly Pyper: Where should I begin? Getting an up-close understanding of how an organization functions is really enlightening. Beyond my new appreciation for Alpha Chi Omega, this understanding will prove helpful in almost any organization. Additionally, practicing communication skills in this unique setting is very helpful. It’s hard to sum up what I’ve learned because my supervisors have been really great at communicating with us, the student trustees, to see what we want to learn. Our projects grow and adapt depending on what we want to explore and learn next.
And looking into the future, what have you learned that will help you after graduation?
Lizzie Kemins: Not everyone gets to say they were a board of trustees member at age 20, but I do. I now have experience seeing how a successful Foundation is run. I’ve gotten to learn the technical parts of a board that I never really thought about. I have also gotten to learn how to engage with people about donations. Most importantly to me, though, I’ve been exposed to alumnae who are successful and used their time as collegiate members to the fullest extent. As a senior in her last semester, that is priceless.
Kelsey Montgomery: One of my favorite memories as a student trustee was when I had the chance to attend the 2014 National Convention in Palm Desert, California. Attending convention in it of itself was amazing, but getting to know members of the Foundation Board of Trustees and the National Council was equally if not more impactful. These women are some of the truest examples of what being an Alpha Chi Omega is all about, and they graciously donate their time to make sure our organization is just as strong 20 years from now as it is today.
Kelly Suntrup: My favorite memory so far was when some of the board of trustees members flew all the way to St. Louis to catch me up on what I missed at the first meeting. I really appreciated how important they made me feel.
With the application deadline approaching for the next group of student trustees, why should someone apply?
Holly: You should apply for this position because it’s an incredibly unique learning opportunity. Simply observing the function of the board of trustees is a great educational experience. However, it’s more than observation—actually participating in discussion and having your own projects makes the position even richer. Also, the connections and friendships you make will last a lifetime and certainly prove helpful in any walk of life. But most importantly, you’ll be doing meaningful work that gives back to your sisters and helps support our philanthropy. I’ve never felt so good about the work I’ve done and gotten so much from an experience before my time as a student trustee.