February 27, 2018 by
Sidney Hilker, UVM Larner College of Medicine Class of 2021
The workload of a med student is pretty daunting, but adding another level of responsibility seemed like a good fit for medical student Sidney Hilker ’21. On March 1, 2018, she will officially begin a two-year term of service on the UVM Board of Trustees, succeeding student trustee and fellow medical student Soraiya Thura ’18, who will be graduating in May.
UVM’s Board of Trustees sets and approves University of Vermont policies, budgets, and strategic planning and has full legal responsibility and authority for the University. Trustees have a number of major responsibilities, including, but not limited to, preparation for and regular attendance at all scheduled Board meetings; becoming knowledgeable about the governance, mission, strategic plans, and programs of the University; and supporting University fundraising activities “through participating in fund drives.”
Student trustees must apply for a position on the Board and are chosen through a formal process initiated and overseen by the Board of Trustees Selection Committee. Each year, the group selects one student to serve a two-year term on the board. Christopher Petrillo, the current president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and a member of the committee, says that Hilker’s “thoughtful demeanor and comprehensive analytical skills made her an excellent choice,” as the new student trustee. “It is often difficult to make decisions based on the nature of the role,” says Petrillo, “but I have full faith in Sidney’s ability to perform and… I look forward to seeing what Sidney is able to accomplish during her time here.”
As her first day on the job approaches, we asked Hilker what the appointment means to her and what she hopes to accomplish as a trustee.
Why did you apply to be on the Board of Trustees?
Long before I enrolled at the Larner College of Medicine, I spent winter nights with my childhood friend at Gutterson Fieldhouse watching UVM basketball. My mom attended UVM in the 70s, my brother is currently a senior at UVM, and my 83-year-old grandfather has been taking Italian classes with fellow retirees and undergraduates for the last four years. I want to see UVM continue to thrive. I hope to learn the ins and outs of the University, deeply understand the challenges we face, and be part of creating a future that makes the University stand out.
What do you hope to accomplish as a trustee?
As a Student Trustee, I hope to offer a perspective from the day-to-day lives of students and articulate the impact of board decisions on the student experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of making the University of Vermont an institution known for academic excellence and development of exceptional citizens.
Are there subcommittees that you’re particularly interested in being on as a trustee member?
During my term of service, I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the Education Policy & Institutional Resources and Budget, Finance & Investment committees. As such, I’ll have the opportunity to discuss and inform the breadth and depth of academic programs offered to students across the University and to engage in how UVM is invests in facilities, programs, and people for a sustainable and successful future.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My style is collaborative. I enjoy getting to know people and their point of view. I believe this leads to creative solutions that serve diverse interests.