Board of Trustees Visit Alumni for L.A. Event
By Brianda Reyes '14, Managing News Editor
On Jan. 22, the Board of Trustees attended a Lives of Consequence regional event in Los Angeles, Calif. in lieu of their annual winter Board meeting on campus. This trip was one of four that the Board has taken in the past three years, since the College initiated the Lives of Consequence campaign in the fall of 2008.

The other three regional events that the Trustees attended occurred in San Francisco, Calif. on Jan. 24, 2009; Chicago, Ill/ on April 4, 2009; and Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2010. These cities were selected as event sites by virtue of being the four locales with the densest alumni populations in the country.

In the past, the Board of Trustees used to hold meetings on campus during the winter season. These past three years, however, the Board has chosen to instead attend meetings with alumni and parents at the regional events scheduled for the Lives of Consequence Campaign.

“Since its founding, Amherst has welcomed students with the potential to lead exemplary lives — lives of consequence — regardless of their background,” reads the Lives of Consequence description online. “The Lives of Consequence campaign, inspired by the College’s mission, extends and deepens that tradition.”

The campaign is designed to reach out to the diverse alumni and parent network in order to solicit support for the College’s activities.

According to Susan Pikor, Secretary of the Board of Trustees, the purpose of the Trustees’ trips to these events is “to offer transparency of trusteeship and direct accessibility of trustees with alumni and parents beyond campus borders.”

The Trustees traveled to Los Angeles this January instead of spending the winter in snowy Amherst. The Board came to this decision, according to Pikor, out of consideration for the fact that holding meetings at the College over the cold season is not the most productive way of approaching the task. Classes are not in session, and most students are not on campus during Interterm; consequently there is not much opportunity for campus community interaction. The Trustees then decided that this time might be better invested at alumni events around the country.

“Trustee participation in the campaign regional events allowed the Board to interact directly with alumni and to help raise monies for the institution’s Annual Fund and campaign priorities supporting scholarship, endowments and the science center,” Pikor said.

The regional events included trustee panels and faculty lectures. Some of the faculty lecturers included Professors Daniel Barbezat, Ilan Stavans, Austin Sarat and Gordon Levin. Each lecturer spoke to alumni and parents about various subjects in his field of study.

These meetings across the country allowed for interaction between the Board and over 1,000 alumni, providing opportunities “to discuss the intellectual life of the College, the impact of an Amherst education, and its future challenges and goals.”

According to Pikor, some of the Trustees funded their own trips to the different events. However, Pikor did not say exactly how many Trustees paid out-of-pocket expenses for these trips. Nor did she comment on how much the College spent in order to cover the expenses of those Trustees who elected to not pay for their travel expenses, though The Student made several inquiries.

The Student also reached out to members of the Board of Trustees to further investigate their participation in the Lives of Consequences Campaign, but the answers provided were insubstantial.

Issue 16, Submitted 2011-02-23 04:00:01