New student trustee adapts and advances

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

The Carbondale campus’ newly elected student representative on the SIU Board of Trustees is making the most of his time at SIU.

Allen Shelton, a junior from Chicago Heights studying speech communication, was voted to the position for the 2015 fiscal year. In his new role, Shelton hopes to create opportunities for students to voice their opinions, including bimonthly open forum discussions.

Shelton, whose parents divorced when he was young, moved from Chicago to Florida at the age of 7 with his mom. He moved back with his father to Chicago Heights when he was 14.


“He was a very observant boy,” said Shelton’s father, Allen Shelton. “He’s always handled responsibilities very well. He would often take the plane from Chicago to Florida by himself even when he was a young boy.”

Shelton said he learned to be outspoken while growing up in Florida with his mother. Once he moved back to Chicago for high school, Shelton learned from his father to lead by example.

“The person I am now compared to the person I was back then is better,” Shelton said. “And hopefully the person I am three years from now will be better. That’s all that matters — is that you grow as a person.”

Shelton attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School where he was a member of the football team and managed the girl’s basketball team.

“I could have done a little better academically in high school,” he said. “But I have learned that your time is limited here, and you need to make the most out of your opportunities.”

Making the Dean’s list every semester except his first on campus, Shelton’s advice to younger students is to not let your age be a crutch.

“Freshmen and sophomores need to step up and become leaders too,” Shelton said. ”Don’t fall in to the trap of thinking you have more time, spend your four years wisely, and surround yourself with better people than yourself.”


Shelton, a member of the Black Male Initiative, is the comedy director in the Student Programming Council. During his sophomore year, he became a resident assistant in Schneider Hall and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity’s vice president. 

During Shelton’s time as a resident assistant, his supervisor Brian Gallagher took Shelton under his wing.

“One of the things that made Allen a good [resident assistant], and will continue to help him, is when he walks into a room — he looks around and actively wants to connect with those around him,” Gallagher said.

Even though he is now one of the highest ranking student officials, Shelton was never involved in student government before running for the student trustee position. Shelton, who served as an unofficial campaign manager for Desmon Walker’s Homecoming King election, said the campaign was a new experience.

“The debate was the scariest part of the process,” Shelton said of the April 8 event where he took questions from the crowd. “I was very nervous, but tried not to show it. I tried to keep my composure and keep my message sincere.”

Leadership is something Andrea Shelton noticed in her son from an early age. 

“I always thought Allen would do something in the public eye,” his mother said. “He’s not rash in his decision making and I think it’s great he has been given a voice.”

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected]