Experience matters for a Young Trustee, and senior Chris Brown argues that his three years working alongside the Board of Trustees give him what the role requires.
Brown began serving on the Board’s Facilities and Environment Committee in May 2010. He served for two years before he was selected to serve on the Business and Finance Committee in Sept. 2012. If elected on Thursday, Brown hopes to increase communication between Young Trustees and the student body.
“I have had three years of experience on the Board, which is the most experience of the three candidates,” Brown said. “I have the voice and ability to make a significant contribution to the future of the [Board of Trustees] and the University. The continuation of my previous experience is key in helping shape the direction of the Board in years to come.”
Brown is an economics major pursuing the Certificate in Energy and the Environment, and he has taken classes in the Pratt School of Engineering. In his time at Duke, Brown worked as a tour guide, a Project WILD staff member and a member of The Chronicle Editorial Board. He also tutored students in Durham and worked as an executive in the Duke Partnership for Service.
In previous years, Brown has served in Duke Student Government as external chief of staff and vice president for athletics and campus services.
He is currently working on an honors thesis in economics. After graduation, Brown will work as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company in Houston, Texas.
“Because of the opportunities that I have been afforded, I feel I have the responsibility to make a difference here and after Duke as well,” Brown said. “I really love this place. It is honestly a place where I have learned an incredible amount about myself and others.”
Brown said that it is important for the Young Trustee to communicate with the student body in order to better reflect students’ ideas and needs. The biggest challenge facing the Young Trustees is keeping up to date with important events on campus, he noted, adding that he plans to create an email account for students to easily reach the Young Trustee about campus issues.
“I want to make it easy to establish real communication in two directions to your Young Trustee, something like ‘email@example.com,’” Brown said. “It is important to have the real-life perspective on what is going on on campus. There is a big difference between experiencing something on campus and reading about it in The Chronicle.”
Sophomore Tre’Ellis Scott, DSG vice president for services and member of the Board’s Facilities and Environment Committee, said the Young Trustee position was “made for Chris.” The two got to know each other through DSG and their membership in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
“I have sat next to Chris through numerous meetings, dinners and conversations with the Trustees and he is by far one of the most in-tune student leaders on campus,” Scott said. “Chris understands Duke and its students needs, and most importantly is able to articulate these needs to the most powerful body of people at Duke.”
Gerald Wilson, senior associate dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, taught Brown in his American Dreams, American Realities class. He said that Brown’s commitment to campus made him an “outstanding” candidate for Young Trustee.
“He knows how to listen and is always willing to learn,” Wilson said. “In terms of character and responsibility, Chris represents the best of Duke.”
Although Brown does not know what issues the Board of Trustees will face in coming years, he said the University needs to continue to be innovative in order to attract top students. He highlighted curriculum reform and financial aid as crucial to moving Duke’s education forward.
“Having access to need-based financial aid is part of what keeps our student body competitive, and any change to that would be detrimental,” Brown said. “Duke needs to be creative in redefining what it means to have a Duke education, and we need to be taking interdisciplinarity and liberal arts to the next level.”
Brown, a member of The Chronicle’s independent editorial board, took a leave of absence from the group during the campaign.
Anna Koelsch contributed reporting.