Sophomore Walsh representing UI at State Board of Regents


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Hannah Walsh is no stranger to Iowa politics.

Gov. Terry Branstad announced Walsh’s appointment to the state Board of Regents on Nov. 30, effective that day. Walsh will fill the student regent position formerly held by Greta Johnson, an alum of Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

Walsh’s interest in politics and government began developing while playing an active role in high-school government, but it took becoming an Iowa legislative page during her senior year to confirm the notion that a political-science career and further involvement in college was best suited for her.

Two years later, Walsh serves as the events coordinator for the UI College Republicans and operations head for the President’s Leadership Society. She is also a UI Student Government senator and co-head of the Governmental Relations Committee.

“Through the opportunities in Des Moines, I’ve built these great relationships with legislators,” she said. “Being a page gave me the skills to communicate with so many people so effectively.”

Walsh, a native of Spirt Lake, Iowa, pointed to her experiences at the Statehouse as examples of the results that come from being an effective leader.

She emphasized the importance of working toward broader statewide goals, such as keeping college affordable, making sure the majority of Iowa college students graduate in the standard four years and protecting the UI’s stature as a high-quality, well-rounded institution.

Walsh said she would like to see the UI transition beyond its reputation as a school that puts a heavy emphasis on athletics.

Her goals for all three of Iowa’s public universities include bringing more attention to the living-learning communities, first-year seminars, and courses in common programs. She believes programs such as these help to add to an easier transition into the college lifestyle.

Walsh said she supports the regents’ plans to eliminate the tuition set-aside over the next five years.

“The board and I are for adequate support for regent institutions from all sources to provide quality, affordable education and opportunities for Iowans,” she said. “I support the board’s request for state-funded financial aid so that students and their families no longer have to fund their college education on their own.”

UISG President Nic Pottebaum said the element of service was the primary reason for his joining UISG and pointed out Walsh’s young but strong-willed leadership capabilities, citing her role as a freshman senator last year and her “tremendous background.”

“In student government, I can really apply my knowledge,” he said. “You hear and see a lot of things happening and their direct impact on the students. That student perspective is what’s the most important.”

Regent Katie Mulholland said student participation on campus of any sort is crucial to the health and well-being of the institution and the individuals themselves.

“Having a student as a regent offers us the opportunity to have that student voice,” she said. “Who knows what young university students will become in 20 years.”

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