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Appalachian senior serves as student liaison to UNC Board of Governors

By Mary Giunca

BOONE, N.C.—As the new president of the University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments (UNCASG), Appalachian State University senior Tyler Hardin hopes to use his position to bring more student voices to the UNC Board of Governors.

View larger imageAppalachian State University senior Tyler Hardin is sworn in as a member of the UNC Board of Governors. Photo by Josh Ellis, UNC General Administration

UNCASG is made up of student representatives from each of the 17 University of North Carolina institutions and represents the interests of students to the Board of Governors. Hardin is the only student to sit on the board, though he is a non-voting member.

“I’m able to represent 230,000 students across the system,” he said. “I see my role as being able to foster opportunities for the board to communicate and learn from students.”

A recent Back-to-School reception at University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings’ house that he helped organize was a great way for students to talk with UNC officials in a casual way, he said.

Hardin, a communication, electronic media/broadcasting major from Greensboro, said his experiences at Appalachian helped him develop an appreciation for other perspectives, which he hopes to bring to his new position.

“Appalachian has been able to expand my horizons,” he said. “This has been a very open environment where people are free to express their opinions, to agree and disagree. That’s what makes the community, and this country, so great.”

He credits Dr. Jean DeHart, the chair of the Department of Communication, with helping him develop his leadership skills.

“Her strengths are being able to challenge me, to make me think and to examine the issues at hand,” he said. “She’s done a remarkable job of exposing me to what App is all about.”

Hardin said students in the university system are concerned about the cost of a degree and also want access to resources that would help them stay healthy.

“The UNC system is a rigorous and challenging system,” he said. “There’s not only pressure inside the classroom, but outside the classroom. There’s pressure to be successful and to get a job. Universities need to have the resources to help.”

J.J. Brown, Appalachian’s vice chancellor for student affairs, agrees. “I’m glad Tyler is an advocate for student resources. We want our students to thrive! At Appalachian, we strive to challenge students within a culture of care and inclusion,” he said. “We encourage them to engage outside the classroom. Sometimes self-imposed pressures are overwhelming. We have more than 300 committed full-time employees and more than 1,000 students working across 13 centers providing everything from career development to counseling and psychological services to protect and promote our students’ well-being.”

One of Hardin’s proposals for the year is to get more students involved in Powerful Voices, a forum he created last year when he was vice president of media outreach for UNCASG.

The forum invited students to write about their perspectives and experiences about such topics as House Bill 2, which was known mostly for requiring transgender people to use restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates, rather than the gender with which they identify.

Hardin aspires to pursue a career in broadcast journalism after graduation. As a first-year student, he won $10,000 in the Fox News Channel College Challenge Contest for student news stories. Hardin submitted a story about the effects wearing body cameras had on Greensboro police officers’ interactions with the public.

“I’m very interested in policy and media,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to combine those interests. I’d like to be a journalist – sharing stories and meeting new people.”

But before he graduates, Hardin hopes to put in a strong year with UNCASG.

“I look forward to an impactful and productive year,” he said, “with all that can be accomplished for the betterment of the student body.”