Posted 1:22 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2023
Advisory board offers a great way to connect
They’re keeping close tabs on their college students — but in a good way.
Parents in the UWL Parents Advisory Board can find ways to get actively involved in their child’s education all while giving their child room to grow on their own.
“I wanted to be an active parent for my son and be part of his education,” explains Bill O’Donnell. “The board also gave me and parent board members a chance to weigh in on decisions the school was considering for our students.”
O’Donnell, from Wisconsin Rapids, served on the board for the five years his son, Adam, attended UWL. When Adam, a business major, crossed the commencement stage in May 2023, O’Donnell says he also reveled in his own college experience.
“It was important to be there for him while giving him a chance to grow without being a helicopter parent,” he says. “This is a great community of parents who interact well and have a common interest in doing all they can to play a role with our children’s education and learn about the great things UWL is doing.”
O’Donnell says commitment for serving on the board is minimal — about an hour a month. But, he and other parents discussed important things, such as identifying opportunities to provide feedback on improving the experience for UWL students.
“We participated in allocating the parent fund moneys for useful programs for the students,” O’Donnell says. “It was a fantastic place to learn how the university provides a well-rounded experience.”
That kind of parental involvement is exactly what the Parents Advisory Board is supposed to do, says Vitaliano Figueroa, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
“The board has been successful in supporting a variety of programs on campus that support student engagement and success including the Chancellor’s Volunteer Service Award, Rec Sports mini-grants and athletics,” says Figueroa. “Parent Advisory Board members also play an active role in Transfer Start by providing a welcome to parents and answering questions they may have.”
Figueroa says the board is key in providing the university an opportunity to learn from a parent’s perspective about its successes and challenges. Benefits of serving on the board are many, he notes. Among them:
- Developing relationships with fellow parents and families
- Gaining inside information about important initiatives and events
- Attending special Parent Advisory Board events during Family Weekend
- Engaging with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and other university administrators
- Providing guidance regarding the allocation of the Parent Fund to support student success and engagement at UWL.
Figueroa encourages parents to join the board to participate in meaningful discussions, provide feedback and give insight into student experiences. He says the parents also collaborate to shape the future of the board and support UWL.
“I would recommend parents consider joining the board if they want to have a direct impact on their student's education and be an active member of the UWL community,” Figueroa says.