Jean-Paul Willynck, a senior Urban Studies student at the UW Tacoma, has been appointed to a one-year term as the UW student regent by Gov. Chris Gregoire. Willynck is the first-ever student representative to the Board of Regents who does not come from the University’s main campus in Seattle.
“For any student, it is a tremendous honor to be chosen as a student regent. And in recent years, the student regents have worked hard to be knowledgeable about student issues on all three campuses,” Chancellor Patricia Spakes said. “In fact, the students themselves made it one criterion of their selection process this year. In nominating Jean-Paul, they recognized how important the three-campus perspective has become.”
Willynck, who expects to graduate in June 2009, was one of more than 3,000 students to apply for the position this year. An active participant in UW Tacoma’s student Legislative and Advocacy Committee, he has lobbied for child care, campus safety and tuition subsidy bills in Olympia, and advised legislators on student perspectives of the proposed UW campus in Snohomish County. He also established a new campus group to deal with student transportation issues and has planned a series of forums on campus to address parking and alternative transportation.
“I’m pleased to appoint Jean-Paul as the UW Student Regent.” said Governor Gregoire. “He has shown strong leadership on priorities that matter for all UW students — whether lobbying the Legislature for increased campus safety or founding the Commuters’ Association of UW Tacoma to lend broader student voice to community dialogues — and will be an excellent advocate for UW student priorities.”
Representing all of UW’s 40,000 students on three campuses is a unique opportunity, said Willynck, adding, “I look forward to getting better acquainted with the Seattle campus while helping students in Seattle become more familiar with Tacoma and Bothell.
“I believe this is a tremendous opportunity to help UW Seattle students and leaders understand that the Tacoma campus truly is a part of the UW,” Willynck said.
Willynck has extensive international experience and has studied human rights, international law, development and democracy in Norway, Namibia and Asia. He is currently traveling in Thailand. Although Willynck will be involved in the broad range of issues that are reviewed by the board, he is particularly interested in tuition, student fees and capital construction. He intends to take some classes at UW Seattle to become more familiar with the issues addressing students there.
Brian Coffey, director of UW Tacoma’s Urban Studies program, said Willynck is a self-confident and articulate student whose work as a student leader and advocate has prepared him to represent the University’s students on the Board of Regents.
“Jean-Paul clearly has a strong understanding of what students need,” Coffey said. “I don’t think he will be shy about speaking up regarding student issues and concerns.”
Since 1998, the UW Board of Regents has included a student regent who is tasked with bringing a student perspective to the board’s decisions while acting in the best interests of the University and the state of Washington. The student regent has full voting power on the board.