Student voice among the Board of Regents is valuable stock. Invested properly, it can positively impact students’ lives around the University of Alaska system. For two years, Ashton Compton served as a student regent from UAF. Compton voted in some of the biggest decisions including tuition increases, massive construction projects and development of the Academic Master Plan.
The Northern Light: Why did you want to become a Student Regent?
Ashton Compton: I was very involved on campus and was encouraged to apply for this position. I was interested in anyway to play a meaningful role in my institution and was excited about the prospects presented by this opportunity.
TNL: What advice will you pass onto the next Student Regent?
AC: This is a public service position and you have to be dedicated to do it because it will take a great deal of your free time. You also have to remember that you are the student regent not the regent student. Everyone on the board knows and understands that your academics are of the highest priority. Most any student interested in this position is likely a highly involved individual. You have to know when to say no if you plan on keeping your sanity and being productive.
TNL: What input(s) are you most proud of?
AC: I am most proud of the decisions on student wages and tuition. I work on campus and am involved in student groups and activities so I get to hear student perspectives daily and get to voice concerns to other board members who may not be as well connected to students.
TNL: What do you wish you had spoken up more about?
AC: I think I spoke up strongly and appropriately and represented students to the best of my abilities.
TNL: Are there any decisions you made that you regret?
AC: There aren’t any decisions that I regret. I voted according to my morals and my responsibility to my constituency.
TNL: What is your next step as a leader?
AC: My next step is graduate school and after graduation, only time will tell.
TNL: What should students know about the Board of Regents? Their backgrounds, attitudes, perspectives, what they say, etc.?
AC: They are all great people who bring, albeit different, but important perspectives to the dialogue we share on higher (education) in Alaska. This stems from their diverse educational and professional experiences. They are all volunteers who do this out of a sense of service.
TNL: What did you learn most about (i.e. public speaking, presentation, procedure, university policies, etc.)?
AC: I have been learning a great deal about university policies, policy procedures, issues and about myself. It can be uncomfortable being at the forefront but comfortable people don’t get things done. If you care about issues and people you will probably learn that being in a place of discomfort is the best place to be! It is where you learn and grow the most.
TNL: Do you think students are as involved with their education as they should be?
AC: There is always room for improvement but overall I think students take their education seriously and see it as an important investment in their future,
TNL: What can the everyday student do to be involved (especially if they’re shy and scared of public speaking)?
AC: You don’t have to be super outgoing to be engaged but you do have to push yourself to seek out opportunities and put yourself out there. It isn’t easy at first but you gain confidence after awhile. One great way to get involved is through student organizations, volunteering and governance groups. Make sure that whatever it is you choose to be involved with you are passionate about because being active often requires a lot of time and energy.
TNL: What attributes do you hope the next Student Regent has?
AC: Patience, confidence and lots of energy…I don’t care how engaged you are some topics will not be interesting to you but they are all important so you have to challenge yourself to understand the issues.