Student representative pledges to concentrate on campus issues

Melinda Rogers

There is a phrase that often runs through the mind of Venora Hung.

The adage “Unless you have a solution, don’t complain” is a motto the Board of Regents’ student representative applies to many aspects of her life.

Hung, a fifth-year senior majoring in management information systems and finance, serves as chairwoman of the student representatives to the board.

One of seven students selected for the position, Hung attends board meetings monthly and alerts regents to student body concerns.

“I’ve grown a lot in the past four years because of the things I’ve chosen to be involved in at the University,” Hung said.

Along with participating in regents meetings, Hung has served as a community adviser in two residence halls, been a member of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and has worked with Project Involvement – a YMCA program that helps inner city youth.

Hung said University involvement throughout her collegiate career prepared her to be a Twin Cities’ campus voice at board meetings.

“I’ve been able to reach out to the students who go to school here, not just campus leaders. I’ve been able to gain a campus perspective,” she said.

But for Hung, giving the campus perspective hasn’t come without its troubles.

After the Board of Regents approved a 13.8 percent tuition hike at its July meeting, Hung said she supported the decision. She said students would prefer paying higher tuition to sacrificing the quality of their education.

Some students were outraged at Hung’s comments, accusing her of not fighting against the administration.

“I just don’t think she’s been fighting hard enough for student interest,” said Jeff Dahl, a liberal arts major. In light of tuition increases, Dahl said he does not think Hung is adequately doing her job.

Hung said students’ reactions surprised her and that she feels people misunderstood her intentions.

“I was never happy to have this tuition increase, but given the circumstances I think it was the lesser of the two evils,” she said. “Unless I work with the administration, how are we going to get anything done?”

Amelious Whyte, student representative supervisor, praised Hung’s ability to weather criticism.

“She listens to people and has a strong desire to gain input. She has a very down-to-earth approach,” Whyte said.

Regent Maureen Reed agreed with Whyte about Hung’s leadership skills. “Two words come to mind: thoughtfulness and commitment. She’s very articulate, and the issues she brings to the board meetings are very well thought out – she’s done her homework.”

While the upcoming school year will likely throw many challenges in Hung’s direction, she said she is ready to focus on solutions to campus issues rather than complain about problems.

“I want to increase student representatives’ visibility on campus,” Hung said. “Campus safety, undergraduate advising and tuition are also concerns we’re committed to working on.”

Melinda Rogers welcomes comments at [email protected]