ASU Business student nominated as new student regent
Mary Echeverria, an Arizona State University business student, was nominated yesterday by Arizona Gov. Jane Hull to be the next student member of the Arizona Board of Regents.
"I represent a genuine voice," Echeverria said. "This is a great opportunity to work with students, professors and the board all at once."
Echeverria was selected from a group of three candidates for the position presented to Hull by the Arizona Students Association.
The three candidates were picked from 12 ASU students who applied. The position rotates each year among the three state universities.
"She has a strong intellect and is very personable," said Sam Leyvas, ASA executive director.
While Echeverria still needs to be approved by the Arizona Senate - which has yet to approve Gary Stuart, whose nomination for ABOR came in September - her name will be included in the board book for the April meeting at Northern Arizona University.
Christine Thompson, current student regent and University of Arizona law student, said Echeverria will have a lot of work ahead of her.
"The new student regent is going to be rolling up their sleeves and getting a little dirty at the legislature," Thompson said.
"Tuition is going to be a big issue, a critical issue," she added.
Echeverria said she thinks that possible raises in tuition need to be addressed.
"If we're going to want to keep tuition low and keep the technology and salaries the same, we're going to need increased funding from the legislature," Echeverria said.
In recent months, ABOR has discussed a shift towards a more student-centered learning environment at the state universities.
Student-centered learning encourages alternative methods of education with an increased emphasis on technology, according to materials presented to ABOR members at their January meeting.
Echeverria said this issue is important, but cannot move forward without more state money.
"The budgets are tight at all three universities," Echeverria said.
Thompson said that while these are difficult issues for a student regent to tackle with only a one-year term, she believes that Echeverria is up to the task.
"I'm extremely excited about her appointment," Thompson said. "Whenever she's ready, I'll start prepping her."
At the January ABOR meeting, Thompson met with Echeverria when she was still a candidate.
"She had questions for me that I was blown away by all the research she had done," Thompson said. "(A student regent) needs that fire in their belly."
June's ABOR meeting will be Thompson's last, and then, Echeverria's term will start in July.
"I think I'm still in that shock mode," Echeverria said. "I'm thrilled."