Letter to the editor: Student Trustee Pamela Campos-Palma

My first few weeks at Portland State were challenging. I was still trying to find the way from my Chican@/Latin@ class to my P.E. soccer class at Stott Field, a good six blocks in under 10 minutes at lunchtime. I took these two classes because one I was very familiar with (soccer), and the other would teach me more about myself. I was also transitioning from active duty Air Force and had recently taken guardianship of my then 10-year-old sister so my mother could accept an overseas elderly care job.

Despite my challenges, I became fascinated with opportunities I never knew existed during my first months at PSU. True to my nature I immersed myself at PSU, became very involved, informed and passionate about the campus and school. Years later, I face different challenges as the student trustee on the PSU governing Board of Trustees.

Being the inaugural student trustee to me has been about service, bridging positive impacts and setting a rock-solid precedent that serves the campus community for the long-term. My role on the board is to lend an important student perspective that can best highlight and inform the board’s collective decisions. In this capacity I have not only been heard, but repeatedly had the board chair, fellow trustees and President Wim Wiewel make it a point to ask for my opinions and my experience. In that aspect my time on the board has been extremely fruitful and full of mutual respect.

Though the student trustee is not a student representative in the same way as our student government, the Associated Students of PSU, my board role has been filled with dedicated students and campus members reaching out as well. I have seen how this position is monumental to helping bridge some of our institutional gaps, and further improve and elevate PSU.

While I am proud of my service, the student trustee position is one that is vulnerable, and requires strong solidarity from both the student government and administration together. Still, the board is relatively new and I have witnessed nothing but countless dedicated folks, students, administrators, staff and faculty alike, working tireless hours to make PSU the best it can possibly be.

My departure from the board was not foreseen and is one of the most arduous decisions I’ve ever made. As a graduating full-time senior, continuing service member, working professional and trustee, my graduate school plans were difficult to accommodate this past spring. Within the same week of sorting it out, I received military orders from my Air Force unit. In a short span of time I had to quickly navigate big life happenings and thankfully received full support from the board, the president’s office and staff, and my peers.

Throughout this entire process my biggest aspiration is to be thorough, intentional, and to set our PSU community up for success. I have had conversations with our PSU student government leadership since June about my departure and they are working hard in their large undertaking in recommending a student trustee to the governor’s office. Throughout all this I have continued my service and dedication and will remain active on the board for several more months as we face some important conversations.

Thank you for your fortified and continued support, it’s an incredible honor to serve such a vibrant and dynamic community.