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student meeting

Valued Voice

Senior Nicole Gilette scrolled through pages and pages of documents on her laptop. The heavy workload wasn’t a reading assignment for biology class or even a research paper, but dozens of resumes from applicants wanting to become president of Widener University.

“The student voice is very well heard here,” said Gillette, who was asked to be part of the 15-member presidential search committee that went on to select Dr. Julie E. Wollman as the university’s tenth president.

In fact, students serve on a variety of high-level boards and committees on campus, and they have a say in important administrative decisions as well as more complex topics such as educational effectiveness and learning outcomes. 

“My voice was no different from anyone else on the search committee,” said Gilette, a double major in biology/biochemistry. “I voted, I gave my fair share of opinions on different candidates, and I felt very privileged to have that authority.”

Nursing major Jessica Borders noted that her time serving on the Widener Board of Trustees helped her develop leadership skills that will be useful in her future career.

“I absolutely have to be an advocate for my patients and not be afraid to speak up for something that I think is important, and I don’t think I would have found that type of personal growth anywhere else but Widener,” she said.

Junior Ashley Rundell, who is assisting in the Middle States re-accreditation process, added that students provide a different perspective because unlike faculty, staff or administrators, they live and work on campus right beside the very students Widener strives to serve.

“This has given me the opportunity over the last few years to not only experience the inner workings of the university’s strategic plan, but also gain insight on where improvement could be the most effective,” Rundell, a double major in criminal justice/political science, wrote in a blog post.

And students also work to shape the values of Widener beyond the physical boundaries of campus. Senior Ronnie Rabena was a driving force behind getting Widener involved in Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), a consortium of colleges and universities worldwide that are committed to addressing world hunger.

So far, Rabena helped raise money to purchase a freezer for a food pantry at the North Chester Baptist Church, donating food to the pantry and volunteering at Ruth L. Bennett Farm in Chester.

“These awesome experiential learning opportunities have given me a new perspective on sustainable impacts that Widener students can make both locally and globally,” said the international relations/political science major.