Fairmont State senior, Samuel “Miles” Smith, has been elected Chairman of the State Advisory Council of Students, which operates as an extension of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC).
“The council is designed to provide guidance and share concerns from students who attend West Virginia state institutions, including community and technical colleges,” said Smith.
One representative from each institution is invited to send a delegate and when the council convenes each fall, the Chairman is selected.
“As the Chairman, it is my duty to present three recommendations of the council to state agencies and governing bodies that the HEPC works with,” said Smith.
This year’s council is focusing on three main issues: Making hidden and miscellaneous student fees more clear by showing how that money is used; Allowing a smoother transfer of credits within HEPC institutions including the transition from community and technical colleges to four year institutions; and Opposing a proposal within the Community and Technical College System that would charge students an additional fee for every credit hour taken above 12 credit hours.
“The overarching issue for all institutions across the state are the continued budget cuts and the impact that they have on higher education,” said Smith. “In addition to those concerns, these three main issues are a priority for the council this year.”
Many institutions across the state choose to send their student body president as their council delegate. For Fairmont State, a 2013 Student Government amendment created an elected Student Government position to fill that role.
“We identified the immense responsibility that being a part of the State Advisory Council of Students is and we wanted to allow a student enough time to focus on that task,” said Meagan Gibson, Student Government Advisor.
“FSU is proud of the work that Miles is doing on the state level, said Gibson. “He takes his position very seriously and truly cares about the work that he is doing. He is getting a great education at FSU and is using that knowledge to make an impact on the student experience across the state.”
The impact of Smith and the State Advisory Council of Students is already being seen. The Community and Technical College system has chosen not to move forward with their proposal to charge additional fees to students taking more than 12 credit hours.
Smith is a 2011 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, and a double major in Political Science and National Security and Intelligence. He plans to graduate this spring.