Student Trustee Darren Tolliver Gets an Early Jump on Politics
Date: Oct. 8, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Lisa Ventre and Dawn Fuller
A University of Cincinnati political science major isn't waiting until graduation to make an impact in his field of study. Darren Tolliver, a 20-year-old student from Toledo, Ohio, has a top-level view of the governance of the university. He's the undergraduate student appointed to a two-year term on the UC Board of Trustees.
Only two students are selected by the governor of Ohio to serve on the board as non-voting members. Darren was appointed in May and so far, has attended two formal meetings. "My duties are to represent the students and I speak to the board on behalf of the students.
"I was ecstatic to get this position, because I do have a passion for representing the students. I'm very sensitive to student issues and I will ask a lot of questions."
Darren says he had an interest in politics from the time he was very young. "Even as a little kid, I told my parents I wanted to be president and they would laugh at me. I think more and more they're thinking, 'Hey, he still wants to do it.' That's my ultimate goal, but there are a lot of things in between I want to accomplish, so I'm not in a hurry to get there yet."
Darren's been accomplishing a lot right here at UC. He has served as a student orientation leader and was a student orientation coordinator for the incoming freshmen this year. He was elected at-large senator, holding the position his sophomore year, and continues to keep student government updated on the actions of the Board of Trustees. Last year, Darren was also president of the Residence Hall Association and became a mentor for the new Transitions program started by the African American Cultural and Research Center. Through Transitions, incoming freshman are matched with student mentors. Darren was a mentor to six students. "The mentors follow up on the freshmen to see how they're doing with their academics. We also get to know them on a personal level through different social activities. We went roller skating and went to the Circle City Classic football game in Indianapolis. This is the second year of Transitions, and it's really a success."
As the student member of the Board of Trustees, Darren had the opportunity to address a very large audience of students and their parents when he delivered a speech and introduced the other speakers at UC Convocation. His advice to students: get involved with the university.
"It's a fresh start. I never really did very much in high school, and I feel I didn't have a connection to my high school because I wasn't involved." Darren adds the research shows that students who build connections outside their academics are more likely to graduate. "It's proven true for me as well as for a lot of other people I know. If you get involved, you have so much more fun and it enriches you so much."
Darren is considering pursuing a master's degree in public administration, and he says he wants to stick around in Cincinnati after he finishes school. "When I came here, I thought Cincinnati was the greatest. There's professional football and baseball, a riverfront and an active downtown, but I see the potential for even more. I definitely want to stay around for awhile."
To meet other UC people, go to the profiles archive.