Derrick Wang appointed as Board of Visitors student member for the 2019-2020 academic year

Wang will replace fourth-year College student Brendan Nigro as the non-voting student Board member


Wang has served as vice chair of community relations for the Honor Committee and was recently elected to serve as an Honor undergraduate Arts and Sciences representative for the upcoming year.

Courtesy Derrick Wang

Third-year College student Derrick Wang was selected Friday to be the next Board of Visitors student representative. 

The student member of the Board is a non-voting position, but the representative provides the Board with student input and acts as a liaison between Board members and the University student body. 

Over the past year, Wang has served as vice chair of community relations for the Honor Committee and was recently elected to serve as an Honor undergraduate Arts and Sciences representative for the upcoming year. His experience has prepared him to for the role of student Board member by allowing him to “interact with a broad range of students in the community,” Wang said.

“I really see that role as bridging the institution of the Honor Committee and students of all different backgrounds,” Wang said. “I think that kind of experience is really important in how I’ll approach being the student member, in acting as a bridge between different groups of students, different types of concerns people might have, and the Board of Visitors.”

Fourth-year College student Brendan Nigro is the current BOV student member and was on the panel of six student leaders that conducted the first round of interviews for the BOV student member position this year. Wang’s outreach experience through Honor and his academic record will serve him well in the role, Nigro said.

“A lot of his work has been seeing how the Honor Committee’s policies affect students with different identities, backgrounds and experiences at the University, and I think that’s very similar to being on the Board,” Nigro said. “The Board is a policy-making body, so the fact that Derrick has done that before and has a background in outreach will serve him well in the role.”

Rector Frank “Rusty” Conner was appointed to the Board by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in June 2014, and currently chairs the BOV. 

“The Board is delighted to welcome Derrick as its incoming student representative,” Conner said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily. “In his three years at the University, Derrick has distinguished himself in a number of ways, showing a commitment to academic excellence, a talent for leadership and a commitment to serving the University community. The student member brings a very important perspective to the Board, and we look forward to working with him.” 

Wang outlined several goals he would like to address during his time as the student Board member. The first goal was to incorporate student input in the University’s strategic plan, Wang said.

University President Jim Ryan formed the Strategic Planning Committee in October to formulate a strategy for the next 10-15 years of the University’s future. In June, Ryan will present a strategic plan draft to the Board of Visitors. 

“I really want to make sure that students are at the heart of the strategic plan for the University going forward, since student experience is especially important,” Wang said. “A big part of that is the value for money proposition — like I think the central question for college students is, what is the value of college education?” 

Wang will play an important role in the development of the strategic plan, Nigro said.

“Establishing the University’s direction for the next 10-15 years is a pretty tall order,” Nigro said. “So making sure that first meeting has a really good base of what students are thinking, and what they aspire for the University to be.”

Wang also highlighted the importance of developing the University’s relationship with the Charlottesville community. The University Community Working Group — which released a report Friday — will play a major role in determining how the University can collaborate with the Charlottesville community.

“Those issues like jobs and wages and affordable housing are definitely highlighted in the report and will be very important going forward,” Wang said.

Both Wang and Nigro pointed to a challenge inherent to the BOV student member position — being one individual student representing the opinions and perspectives of approximately 22,000 University students. 

“I think the best a student representative can do is to try to accurately represent the full range of views and opinions on a matter, with the emphasis on elevating voices that aren’t traditionally heard, and especially elevating the concerns of those who are most directly impacted by given policies,” Wang said.

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