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Raquel Chavez begins term on NIU Board of Trustees

September 8, 2015
Raquel Chavez

Raquel Chavez

When members of the Board of Trustees gather for their first official meeting of the school year, NIU student Raquel Chavez will be there. The Hampshire, Ill., resident and NIU law school student took office July 1 as the board’s newest voting member.

“I have gotten to know a lot of the board members already, and I am very thankful that they have been so accepting of me and the work I have done,” Chavez said. “I hope to bring a different perspective to the board and fill in the blanks where they need me to.”

NIU’s governing body includes seven voting members – appointed by the governor – and one voting student, who is elected by the NIU student body.

Chavez is the first female student elected to the board.

“My goal is to break the glass ceiling,” Chavez said. “I hope it encourages other women to go out and do things they may not have otherwise thought of.”

A May 2015 NIU graduate, Chavez earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and community leadership and civic engagement, with minors in Spanish and Latino studies.

Raquel Chavez“I started as a commuter student my freshman year then I moved on campus,” she said. “I got a job on campus and got involved on campus. I am able to see NIU from multiple vantage points.”

While an undergraduate student, she was the Model United Nations president, Student Association vice president, outreach coordinator, Political Science Student Advisory Committee member and a member of Delta Gamma sorority.

Chavez said she looks forward to getting a behind-the-scenes look at how a university runs, and looks forward to sharing a student perspective with fellow board members.

“It is so important because I am the only one who is going to school here,” Chavez said. “There are other members who have gone to Northern, but I’m the one who is in the trenches now. I can tell you what students are feeling right now; there are certain things that come up that I can directly relate to, and they want to hear my opinion.”

by Jane Donahue