New student trustee at Cal U prepared for position

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New student trustee at Cal U prepared for position

Cal U Public Relations

Cal U Public Relations

Cal U Public Relations

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What does the boardroom at California University of Pennsylvania have in common with the wide open spaces of a national park? 

Plenty, says junior Alex Arnold, of McClellandtown, Pa. Cal U’s student member of the Board of Trustees for 2018-2019, Arnold is majoring in history and parks and recreation management

“Whether you’re managing a university or managing a park, the operations are very similar, especially with matters such as budgets, staffing and even dealing with forms of government,” he said.  

Another similarity: Both require a heart for service and a desire to manage assets responsibly.  

“I feel that the student trustee is a vital position on the Council of Trustees, because you bring that student perspective,” Arnold said.  

“As the student trustee, I have to remember not to put my personal opinion forward, but to put forward what the students want, because that’s who I am representing, not myself.  

“It’s all about serving the students, and I feel that at this level I can really help them.”  

Each of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has a policy-setting Council of Trustees.  

Before being appointed by the governor, a student trustee must go through a screening and interviewing process on campus. Then it’s on to interviews with a team from the State System’s Board of Governors.  

 “I did not do this because I wanted a resume builder or needed it to go further,” said Arnold. “I’m doing it because I feel with my experience, and now in this role, I can really help our students and hopefully be an asset to Cal U.”  

Arnold is in his second year as a seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service. He works 10-hour shifts Friday through Monday at Friendship Hill National Historic Site, in Point Marion, Pa.  

He started working as a volunteer at Friendship Hill when he was just 13. His first year as a seasonal park ranger was at Maryland-based Chesapeake & Ohio National Historic Park.  

When he’s not working in a park, he is busy at Cal U. 

Beyond the classroom, Arnold is secretary of the College Republicans Club and past president of the Parks and Recreation Student Society.  His job as a student worker in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations introduced him to many campus constituents.  

“I was fortunate to know what career I wanted before I came to college, and I’ve been able to tailor my major and my activities to reach my goals,” he said. “My student job has further helped me become known.” 

Arnold credits Cal U professors for their role in his development as a leader and decision-maker.  

“The faculty here is amazing, because you can get close to them on a personal level and they will bend over backward to help you,” he said.  “You learn so much, and they really help to advance your career while you’re still in school.” 

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