Student trustee focused on student voice

Newly-elected Jesse Cler says honesty is what he will bring to office as a member of the SIU Board of Trustees.

Cler, a junior from Penfield studying agribusiness economics and plant and soil sciences, was elected Thursday to represent Carbondale on the SIU Board of Trustees. He said he hopes to use the position to give students a greater

Jesse Cler, a junior from Penfield studying agribusiness economics and plant and soil sciences, was elected Carbondale student trustee for the SIU Board of Trustees in Thursday’s Undergraduate Student Government election. isaac smith | Daily Egyptian

voice on campus as well as to help recruit and retain students to SIU.

Attending SIU was the best decision Cler said he has made. Because of his appreciation for the school, he said he wants to help make known what students do at the university.

“You need someone who is actually going to represent the students and stick out,” he said.

Cler said a few of his objectives are getting students’ voices heard and using his experiences at the university to help the student body.

“I want more kids to come here and experience SIU, like what I have experienced,” he said.

Cler said he wants students to be more comfortable at SIU as well as advocate for more school support. He said he will be a good representative on the board because he can see from the perspectives of others and handle conflict well.

His first meeting is May 10, when he will get the chance to meet all of the trustees.

“From what I’ve heard in the past from the student trustee, they do not intimidate. They love to have that student there,” he said.

Jeffry Harrison, the student trustee on the board representing Edwardsville and a senior studying business, said serving in the position is a big responsibility. In order to serve his fellow students, Harrison said, he worked to pay attention to what the other trustees were concerned about.

“During my first term on the Board of Trustees, I spent a majority of my time listening,” he said.

He said through listening, he was able to learn more about the procedures that went on around him. Another important duty for newly-serving trustees, Harrison said, is to remember who they represent.

“It is important to remember that as a student board member, you do not speak your opinion, but the opinion of the entire student body,” he said.

After Harrison graduates this spring, David Hamilton, the newly-elected SIUE Trustee, will take his place.

Cler said campaigning for the position wasn’t easy. He said he encountered challenges from competitors but decided to stay honest.

“When it was done, it came out; good people get good things,” he said.

Cler is the youngest of four siblings, each of whom are first-generation college students. His family, he said, are his biggest supporters.

In high school, Cler said, he participated in activities such as Future Farmers of America, student council, drama club and scholastic bowl, which helped his aspirations in leadership. Cler said he didn’t have much time for extracurricular activities because he worked full-time at a restaurant in order to save money for college.

“I saved up a bunch of money for me to be where I am right now,” he said. “So it was really important to me in high school to be able to make it to some place like this.”

Cler said his siblings all went to community college, which he said he supports, but he said he wanted to know what university life was like.

Greek life has been an interest of Cler’s since he first began at SIUC. Soon after he won the election Thursday for SIU Student Trustee, Cler also was elected Inter-Greek Council President. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho.

With both positions next year, Cler may have his hands full, but he said he doesn’t mind.

“It’s not hard if it’s something you really love,” he said.

Cler said he decided to try for the trustee position after Katie Sermersheim, associate dean of students, encouraged him.

Sermersheim said she regularly encourages students to run for different positions on campus. Cler, she said, got her attention because of his enthusiasm.

The Monday after his election win, Cler was able to meet with SIU President Glenn Poshard. Poshard said he thinks Cler will make a good student trustee, and he looks forward to working with him.

“I just thought he was a superb young man,” he said. “He obviously has a love for the campus and as a student at the university. He just sounded to me like he wants to be a good representative of the students.”

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