Not only is he one of the only students to become a Board member, he is the first and only to represent a college as opposed to a typical 4-year university. The Associate Student Government has high hopes for this new link to the State Legislature in advocating student interests.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Michael Yoon, Bellevue College’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Pluralism. Yoon explained that Rowe is essentially a link between the voices of the students and the legislature. “His job is to bring up student’s needs to Olympia, and we’ve never had something like this before”.
With Rowe as a student representative on the Board of Trustees, Bellevue College has assurance that the student voice will be heard. This puts the school in a unique position where it can fight for funding and student interests from the legislature directly. BC is the first and only two-year school in Washington with this kind of representation in the higher levels of state government.
As an accounting major and former ASG Chief Justice just two years ago, Rowe was very involved with Bellevue College goals and campus life.
Dustin Boehlke, ASG Vice President of Accounting and Communications, remembers being on the hiring panel when Rowe was being selected for the position. “He was my favorite. Many of the other candidates would give lengthy responses, while he gave answers with very few words but they had substance. He was very down to earth.” Rowe was not only a Chief Justice prior to his selection, but was also President of the Cards Club when he was a student.
Rowe had been fighting for the interests of students well before his election to the board. In February of 2011, he was a key speaker at a rally for lower tuition rates for students, also attended by thirty other BC students from the ASG. In his speech at the legislature building in Olympia, he outlined with concise clarity the importance of education in the economy and democratic society as well as for the individual.
A lay-off victim of the 2008 economic recession, Rowe started taking night classes and knows first-hand the beneficial power of BC’s curriculum as well as its non-academic programs like the Workers Retraining Program.
Rowe’s two daughters are also active members of the BC community. Stephanie Rowe is an assistant to Interim President Laura Saunders. Rebecca, who graduated last year, was a Public Relations and Marketing Representative for the ASG. With all of the family involvement, Boehlke joked that “he must really love Bellevue College if he sends all his kids there.”
All of Rowe’s activism and involvement seem to agree with Boehlke’s assessment. With a Bellevue College alumni student inside the state government, current and future students can rest assured that they aren’t being ignored and that education in Washington. Schools near Eastgate in Bellevue will be taken into consideration by the state.