What does the student regent for the Arizona Board of Regents do?

"The student regents are the glue that brings the universities together"

The Arizona Board of Regents provides as an overlying governing body to the three public universities in the state of Arizona: ASU, NAU and UA. Utilizing her voice at the highest level is Aundrea DeGravina, a student regent who has been serving on the board since 2017.

DeGravina recently finished her bachelor’s degree at ASU in psychological sciences and political science and is now continuing her education as a graduate student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

DeGravina is a voting member on the board, meaning she has the power to control many aspects of students’ lives by casting her vote in decisions the board makes throughout the year. Though there is another student on the board, Lauren L’Ecuyer of NAU, DeGravina is the only student voting member because L’Ecuyer is in her first year serving as a student regent.

“A lot of people don’t understand that the student member is actually a regent, and we are treated exactly the same as the other regents,” DeGravina said.

The two student regents are appointed by the current governor and granted a two-year term. During their second year, the student regent becomes a voting member, having gained enough experience to have a logical vote on the board, ABOR regents said. 

Currently, DeGravina serves on the Finance, Capital and Resources; Academic Affairs and Educational Attainment and the Regents Executive Committees. Through these committees, DeGravina is able to focus on specific issues.

DeGravina said that she has been working to increase transparency on what the board does with students on campus.

“The students are certainly included in the tuition setting, safety issues and other policies we need to make decisions on,” Regent Chair Ron Shoopman said. “Our policies have been enhanced when the student regents have been involved.”

These student regents provide a unique viewpoint on the board, Shoopman said. They also work closely with the Undergraduate Student Government at ASU and students on campus as well.

“When ABOR meets quarterly, we often try to show up,” Aly Perkins, president of USG Downtown and senior studying public service and public policy, said. “We go to advocate and show that these matters that they vote on really do affect us as students.”

The relationship between ABOR and the universities is strengthened through this student regent position, as they provide the input of someone who is actually attending the university.

“I love the program. The students always manage to surprise us with their knowledge and expertise,” Shoopman said. “They are not shy about expressing an opinion that may be the opposite of the more senior members.”

DeGravina said the position can be intimidating when trying to oppose legislation that the other members may have been attempting to push forward.

“You realize that you’re in the presence of some of the greatest minds in the state,” she said. “However, we are all so passionate about education that it’s something we all come together for and all want to work together to improve.”

Even though this year is DeGravina’s last year on the board, as her term expires in 2019, she said the experience has helped her learn a lot in the short time she has served. From working closely with the highest executives at all three universities to speaking with students on campus, the job is a complex and valuable experience. 

“What a lot of students don’t realize is that I am not only the voice of ASU, but also for all three public universities in the state of Arizona. So yes, sometimes I do have to support those Wildcats,” she said with a laugh.

 Reach the reporter at mlshuman@asu.edu or follow @mackenzieshuman on Twitter.

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