Getting to know WSU’s new student regent

The new Student Regent for the Washington State University Board of Regents has a unique line on his resume: he graduated from Washington State University Vancouver. As an undergraduate, Narek Daniyelyan first served as the vice president for ASWSUV, an experience he credits for growing his interest in leadership and governance. His devotion to the WSU name and its students is enthusiastic, and he hopes to conduct himself in a professional and service-oriented manner. Daniyelyan is currently a graduate student at WSU Vancouver working toward a master’s degree. The VanCougar recently had a chance to talk with Daniyelyan, who offered some personal perspective on what he hopes to accomplish in the coming year:

Savanna Ford (SF): You are the first student regent to be selected from the Vancouver campus. Can you tell us about the process of selection and how you came to be the best pick for the job this year?

Narek Daniyelyan (ND): The Student Regent is selected by the Student Regent Hiring Committee and appointed by the governor of Washington. In order to be considered for appointment, WSU students from any of the four campuses and Global Campus must complete all application materials and be one of the candidates selected to be forwarded to the governor’s office. Candidates are selected to move forward by ASWSU members from all campuses based on application materials and an interview. The committee typically selects three candidates to be moved forward to the governor’s office. The governor’s office has their own application and interview process.

While the committee may have different reasons for selecting me, the reason I applied for the position is because I wanted to represent all students and felt like my personal, professional and educational background made me a strong candidate. WSU has a diverse student population from many different walks of life and when decisions are made that impact students, it is important to keep all students in mind and not just the perceived norm or majority. I have a strong commitment to student service, creating access for students and removing barriers for students and I tried to emphasize that during the selection process.

SF: What are some of the responsibilities that you hold as the regent?

ND: The Board of Regents is the governing body that supervises, coordinates, manages and regulates the entire WSU system. The board is made up of a total of 10 members and I am the only student member on the board. My role as the Student Regent is to not only actively participate in everything the board does, but also provide a student perspective or student lens on the matters up for discussion or decision. Some of the things I try to keep in mind during the meetings is an awareness of how or if the topic at hand is benefiting students. I also like to think about whether all demographics of students are being taken into consideration.

SF: What are you hoping to accomplish in your position?

ND: I would like to accomplish three key goals as Student Regent: visit and meet with students at every campus, represent the student voice at all meetings [and] learn the position well enough to establish long term goals that Student Regents after me can work towards.

It is really important for me to visit every campus. When I was serving as ASWSUV Vice President, the student regent from that year came to one of our meetings
and I remember what a great experience that was for our entire team to talk to him and provide input and feedback regarding student needs.

Additionally, I would not apply for this position if I did not have a strong desire to advocate for student needs and represent the student voice. I have been working in higher education for nine years as a student employee and a professional employee and I believe that I will bring a unique perspective to the Student Regent position. I am also empathetic to student needs because of my own personal background and from helping students through the college process, so I feel as though I will be able to represent a broad group of students.

Lastly, I am fully aware of the fact that one year is a very short period of time, and many initiatives in higher education require much more time to accomplish. I would love to pick up on projects that past student regents have left behind and/or create new initiatives that regents after me can continue to work on. One such intuitive would be to work with departments to offer dual credit options for high school students so they are able to earn some college credit while still in high school.

SF: Anything else you would like to share?

ND: It is important for me to note that while the Student Regent has an important role, the person in that position does not have as much direct impact on students as the student leaders on each campus. They are the people who truly work every day to give students the best possible experience. It is important for every student to have a unique experience, but also an equitable one, and I believe student leaders at WSU are constantly trying to provide those opportunities and experiences for students. I am very thankful and appreciative to have this experience but I want students to know that anyone can be a leader in a way that works for them.

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