(This post was also posted on thesabloggers.org on June 1, 2011)
“The Board is coming to campus, make sure your area is tidy in case they stop by.”
“Please be sure that any event that takes place the night before the Board is due to arrive is cleaned immediately.”
I never understood why when “the Board” was included in a sentence that it had such a nerve racking, anxiety inducing effect on people; until I became a director and now have a better understanding of that. However, this blog post is not about the politics and decision making of this sometimes mysterious and powerful entity. Recently, I was invited to attend the Commencement Eve dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees for the institution. (I believe the main reason for my invitation was to keep an eye on my newly elected executive advisory board of student leaders, but I could be wrong.) Regardless of the reason for the invitation, the dinner left me with numerous impressions about what it means when “the Board” is coming to campus.
The dinner was a celebration. It was light hearted, engaging and draped with an overall sense of “another great year in the books, let’s pat ourselves on the backs for making it happen.” Here they were, this large group of individuals who have invested time, money, advice, and goodwill to an institution of learning (many of them being alumnae). They were proud of themselves and for good reason, without their dollars and sense the success of the past year may have been jeopardized. On the eve of sending 408 students (both undergrad and graduate) out into the world with Nichols College degrees, this group of “trustees” could not have been more elated and proud.
Having taken place about a month ago now, I am still left with a positive impression from the experience and why there is a mysterious feeling about “the Board.” This group is only mysterious because they are referred to as “the Board” not as individuals. Walking around the cocktail reception, these individuals did not introduce themselves as members of “the Board” but instead as partners/alums/friends of the College. They were personable. They were excited to hear what was being planned for the campus. They were even more excited to talk to the student executive advisory board members.
The point of this post however is not to talk about a group of trustees celebrating another successful year over a delicious catered meal on the night before graduation. What reflecting on this experience did for me was two-fold; first, it took away the mysterious anxiety that comes with hearing that “the Board” is coming to campus. I’ve met many of these individuals and they aren’t scary (unless you are in a business deal with them, then you better know your stuff).
Second, is it left me thinking, who would be on my board of trustees? Who are those individuals that are in the background invested in my success? Who would celebrate on the eve of my birthday “another great year in the books”? Am I the one who determines if they are on my Board of Trustees? Or are some on there that I don’t even know about but they watch from afar (see: Facebook) and are ready to act if called upon?
I’m still thinking about mine but what about you? If you had to list the people who made up your Board of Trustees, who would you envision sitting around the table?