by David Gringeri I am a senior at the University of Vermont about to close out my time here as an undergraduate. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a Global Business theme. I was raised on a family farm in VT and participated in UVM Extension 4-H. The active role I had in the startup and management of my family’s farm exposed me to all aspects of business and encouraged me to enroll in the Grossman School of Business at UVM. During my time at UVM, I took classes outside of the business school and that was something I really valued. I am grateful for the academic and extracurricular experiences that I have had at UVM. UVM has provided me with skills, hands on experience and perspective that has helped me to reach goals that I would not have been able to achieve without the supportive UVM community.
From 2019-2021 I learned about UVM’s operations, decision making, and strategic planning while serving as a Student Trustee on the UVM Board of Trustees. I had a unique perspective where I could see each situation from the top down as a trustee and the bottom up as a student.
During my time on the Board, I worked with two different university administration teams and two different board chairs. From my view, a common denominator has been that the leadership of the University of Vermont is dedicated, thoughtful, compassionate, and innovative. Student experience is the focal point. There is not a singular coordinate on a chart that represent the ideal student experience for every student. Each of the over thirteen thousand students enrolled at UVM in a given year has a unique definition for the ideal student experience. I believe that the leadership of UVM hears each student and makes strong efforts to deliver on the wants and needs of UVM students.
Navigating the university to maximize student experience is far more complex than following one north star. Many institutional changes cannot happen overnight. And, staying stagnant in a changing world and changing economy is not an option either. Our leadership team is responsible for balancing needs of students today with students of tomorrow. One of the reasons that I applied for the position of student trustee is that even before enrolling as an undergraduate student I recognized the meaningful impact that UVM programs had on my development. I wanted to contribute to long range strategic work that would best position UVM for the students sitting in elementary classrooms today that don’t even know that they are future Catamounts.
UVM’s leadership embraces our individuality and strives to continually open new doors for exploration, understanding, and growth during our time at UVM. This can be seen in support for student participation in research, partnerships leading to internships dedicated to UVM students, pathways for cross discipline collaboration, capital projects, and many more. I can recall when President Garimella visited campus during the presidential search process and spoke publicly to the UVM community. The last question he received from the audience was “Where do you see UVM in ten years?” Rather than lay out speculative goals, our President articulated that he wants for a degree from UVM to be worth more and generate more value for the thousands of graduates with each year that passes.
That goal resonates with me, I wish for UVM to continue welcoming students from all over to explore, learn, and create. There will always be decisions that have to be made to keep the University of Vermont on course. During my time on the board I have seen how UVM leadership learns thorough due diligence and leverages data to make careful decisions that balance the many needs of students today and tomorrow. That gives me confidence that the leadership of our UVM will take great care in planning and navigating our course forward. When I visit campus as an alumnus I hope to see a perpetual institution that we may respect and cherish.
David Gringeri is a student at the University of Vermont, Grossman School of Business, Class of 2021.