ILRie Elected as Student Trustee
Running on a platform to expand access to health care, increase communication between students and administrators, and elevate the inclusion of marginalized groups. ILRie J.P. Swenson ’25 was chosen as the student-elected trustee to the Cornell University Board of Trustees with 874 votes, the Office of the Assemblies announced on Monday.
This fall, he will begin in the position now held by Selam Woldai ’23.
“I would say that the biggest issue that plagues most of the Cornell undergraduate population has to be the access to mental and physical health services through Cornell Health,” Swenson said during a candidate forum on April 26. “I think that –as a person who has received services from Cornell health, especially with the [Counseling & Psychological Services] program – it is a long and enduring process that is slow and takes a lot of ambition. And when someone is down, it might be hard to try to put all that effort in to receive those resources.”
Cornell is among relatively few institutions in the nation that enable students to directly elect representatives to its highest governing body. The elected student trustee is a voting member and full participant on the Board of Trustees who serves as a bridge between the student community and those who shape the university's future.
“Since high school, I have been involved in student government because I have enjoyed sharing synthesized ideas, opinions and proposals on behalf of my constituent body to the people with decision-making power – that is, the respective administration,” Swenson said. “The student-elected trustee position allows my perspective to be directly considered on decisions that will affect all of Cornell, which is humbling and will be curated through community outreach and research.”
Swenson, who is currently an undesignated at-large representative for the Student Assembly, is also hoping to implement a bike share program on campus, increase funding for club sports and professional clubs, subsidize lunch bills and bolster diversity, equity and inclusion programming.
“My goals revolve around improving the existing programs and policies that affect the Cornell student body,” Swenson said. “My focus will be on furthering expanding mental and physical health services through Cornell Health, as well as continuing the DE&I initiatives that our current trustee, Selam Woldai, has put forth to the board.”