Revitalizing the Graduate Trustee Advisory Council: A Leap Forward in Student Representation

Group of men and womenAt Brookdale Community College, the role of a Graduate Trustee is crucial, acting as the voice of the student body within the esteemed Board of Trustees. This year, an important step has been taken by the current Graduate Trustee, Rebekah Fischoff, who has played a significant role in reviving the Graduate Trustee Advisory Council. This move is set to greatly enhance the way students contribute to the college’s decision-making processes.

Rebekah’s journey to becoming the Graduate Trustee is both inspiring and reflective of the supportive environment at Brookdale. It started in her sophomore year when she realized the importance of every student’s voice on campus. This realization was strengthened by her involvement in a peer mentorship program, which was a part of an initiative led by President Dr. David M. Stout. Motivated to make a bigger impact, Rebekah decided to run for the Graduate Trustee position, a role traditionally seen as the student body’s representative on the Board of Trustees.

“As a former member and officer of the PTK Honor Society, I had experienced firsthand, how welcoming and nurturing our administration is, and in the role of Graduate Trustee, I saw a way to repay Brookdale for the opportunities afforded me.”

Upon winning the election and stepping into this role, Rebekah faced the challenge of understanding and navigating the complex responsibilities that come with being a Graduate Trustee. Balancing different priorities and understanding various aspects of the role of a Trustee, from and carrying out the duties and obligations entrusted to the Board of Trustees, was a steep learning curve. Despite the challenges, with support from President Stout, administrators, and other Board members, Rebekah immersed herself in the role.

Recognizing the need for a broader representation of student voices in decision-making, Rebekah worked with Dr. Stout towards reviving the Graduate Trustee Advisory Council. The purpose of this council is to bring together a diverse group of active and committed students who can provide multiple perspectives on issues affecting the student body. This initiative is not just about amplifying student voices but also about preparing future leaders. Members of the council gain valuable experience, which could inspire them to run for the Graduate Trustee position themselves, thus ensuring a succession of well-informed and confident representatives.

The Graduate Trustee Advisory Council, under Rebekah’s leadership, comprises a dynamic group of representatives from various backgrounds and geographic locations, including an international perspective. These representatives have been selected for their dedication, ambition, and willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue.

The council members for this term are Josh Cabral from Brooklyn, NY, Fernando Camerino from Red Bank, NJ, Lauren Carroll from Monmouth Beach, NJ, Regina Eason from Neptune, NJ, Andrew Haren from Montgomery, NJ, Ashleigh Kennedy from Old Bridge, NJ, Chris Pflaum from Fanwood, NJ, Joey Scilla from Colts Neck, NJ and Samuel Tsai from Taipei, Taiwan.

The establishment of this council is a major step forward for student representation at Brookdale. It ensures that the concerns and ideas of the student body are heard more clearly and considered more closely in the college’s decision-making processes. The diversity of viewpoints within the council leads to more comprehensive and well-rounded discussions, ultimately benefiting the entire college community.

Furthermore, participation in the council is a remarkable opportunity for students to develop leadership skills. They learn about governance, collaboration, and effective communication, which are invaluable skills for their future careers and civic engagement. This experiential learning aspect of the council is crucial in preparing students to be proactive and responsible leaders in their communities.

The Board of Trustees has shown strong support for this initiative, recognizing the value of including diverse student perspectives in their deliberations. With their backing, the Graduate Trustee Advisory Council is set to become a permanent and influential part of the governance structure at Brookdale.