Adam Wilkes, a junior double-majoring in economics and sociology, was elected student representative of the Binghamton University Council on Thursday.
The BU Council is a group of nine area professionals appointed by the New York state governor and one student elected by his peers. It is tasked with overseeing certain University operations, including reviewing student conduct regulations, approving budget requests and recommending candidates for University president to the SUNY Board of Trustees. In 2011, members of the council recommended three candidates, including BU President Harvey Stenger, from the five that had been chosen by the search committee, to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who made the final decision.
Council elections were conducted by email Thursday by the Planning, Research and Elections Committee of the Student Association (SA). The two candidates were Wilkes and Brian Garcia, a sophomore majoring in political science. Forty percent of the vote was required to win.
Wilkes received 771 votes (45.9 percent) while Garcia garnered 583 (34.7 percent) and write-in candidates won 326 (19.4 percent).
The student representative is responsible for advocating for students and communicating their concerns to the administration. Ryan Sheppard, a first-year graduate student studying accounting, is the current student representative. Sheppard said one of the initiatives he had worked on during his tenure was to improve Student Opinion of Teaching (SOOT) surveys by streamlining the process and increasing the number of overall responses.
“The new system will be rolled out through the MyBinghamton page with additional links through myCourses and Academic Services tabs,” Sheppard wrote in an email.
Wilkes said there are a multitude of issues on the agenda and he plans to narrow them down to a core focus prior to the 2017-18 academic year.
“I mostly look forward to working with the SA vice president for academic affairs, Raul Cepin, to fight for syllabi clarity and more dollars invested in the counseling center,” he said.
According to Wilkes’ platform, he aims to work with Provost Donald Nieman and Stenger, the deans of each respective school and department chairs to ensure professors have a specific grading structure. In regard to the University Counseling Center, he supports hiring more female counselors, LGBTQ counselors and counselors of color.
The current chair of the council is Kathryn Grant Madigan, a partner at Levene Gouldin & Thompson, LLP; other members include Matthew Salanger, president and CEO of United Health Services, Inc. and Anthony Fiala, Jr., ‘99, the executive director of SEPP Management Company. The council meets on the third Friday of the month, seven separate times during the academic year. Meetings take place in the Couper Administration Building and are open to the public.