RVC Swears In New Student Trustee

On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, Ryan Russell, a 2020 graduate of Byron High School, was sworn in as the 2022-2023 Rock Valley College Board of Trustees Student Trustee. Russell replaces outgoing student trustee Evelyn Molina, a Running Start student from Belvidere who will attend Northwestern University in the fall. RVC student trustees serve as a liaison between the Student Government Association and the Board of Trustees. They are required to attend all Board of Trustee meetings and events.

Ryan made the leap to student trustee not only for his personal growth but also to serve his fellow students. That desire to help came as no surprise to his mentor, Milana Herman. Milana serves as the RVC Financial Aid Program Manager and Advisor of the Student Veteran’s Association. She met Ryan when he first enrolled at RVC.

After their first meeting, Ryan asked Milana, “Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how can I help you and the veteran community here on campus?”

While Milana was taken aback, she explained, “This kind of question is typically associated with a particular leadership quality, and that’s servant leadership.” 

After high school, Ryan started his military contract/obligation on active duty and is now finishing with the Air National Guard. As a member of the Guard, Milana recognized Ryan’s willingness to serve and jokingly said she put him to the test.

“I put this grasshopper to the test and, together with present club members, we have helped with events such as the Veterans Smile program where all proceeds go towards dental needs of our neediest veterans, a Veterans 5K run/walk where Ryan actually ran, and we did a fundraiser for Rock House kids,” said Milana. “He’s still asking, what can I do next?”

For starters, he represented the RVC Student Veterans Association at the Student Veterans of America National Conference, and he was inducted into RVC’s chapter of the national honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.

As Student Trustee, Ryan has several things on his to-do list.

First, to establish trust. “I want my peers to feel they can discuss anything with me. I also want them to know that I am an extremely open-minded individual and want to learn other points of view; new ideas are what drive us to become better,” explained Ryan.

Second, Ryan would like to establish a community involvement-based class at RVC. “I have had this idea that there should be a class strictly dedicated to the 815.” The proposed course would be an independent study that allows students to choose how they would serve the community. Ryan described some examples, “Whether it be organizing different environmental cleanup days, to mentoring area youth. Investing in the youth and our community is crucial, and if we have a class strictly dedicated to it, I think we can make monumental strides.”

Ryan is currently pursuing an Associate of Arts degree as it allows him to explore multiple subjects like psychology, political science, and English. He plans to graduate in May 2023 and then transfer to Northern Illinois University.