The University Board of Visitors appointed third-year College student Blake Blaze as its new non-voting student member Thursday afternoon. Fourth-year College student Hillary Hurd currently holds the position.
Blaze, a Massachusetts native, is also a Jefferson Scholar, the current long snapper for the Virginia football team — a redshirt sophomore — and is a member of the Virginia chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
“I applied to position because of the encouragement of a few close friends … and followed through because I realized it was a way that I could serve the University that I love,” Blaze said in an email. “The University is at a critical point in its trajectory … [and] I want to be a part of the process that sees these decisions made.”
Blaze emphasized that as a non-voting member he will not have a specific agenda while on the board. “I believe that the position, in its most basic essence, is meant to be a resource for the students of the University and for the Board of Visitors,” he said.
Hurd said she was involved in the application process for the student board position, and said a number of qualified candidates applied. She also said the ouster and reinstatement of University President Teresa Sullivan pushed the Board as a whole further into the limelight.
“It’s certainly a much more visible position than in the past,” Hurd said. “That’s reflected in the number of students who even applied.”
The student member must represent the diversity of interests among students, Hurd said. She hoped the increased visibility of the position would make it easier for the student member to reach beyond Honor Committee, Student Council and other big-name student organizations by communicating with smaller groups.
Blaze said he was excited to be involved in the decision making process of the University.
“There are a lot of things going on that will have long-lasting implications for the best public school in the country and I want to be a part of the process that sees these decisions made,” Blaze said.
Blaze will officially take the position in June.