President Akande Holds Office Hours
BY STEFANIE EGGLESTON
Plates of cookies. Ginger ale and lemonade. These are the first things you see when you walk into the conference room of Washington West for President Akande’s office hours.
These office hours are new for the president this semester. Akande will be holding open office hours on the first Thursday of every month from 4 to 5 p.m. to meet with students.
This Thursday, the first thing Akande asked students in attendance, after he offered them cookies, was to tell him about themselves.
“I want to be an accessible president,” Akande said. “I want students to be able to reach out to me and talk to me and not wait until there is a problem.”
President Akande said he held office hours both in person and virtually when he was a dean at Webster University and received a lot of positive feedback and participation from students during those times. At a small school like Westminster, it is easier for a relationship to form between students and administration, and Akande said he wants to take advantage of that.
“In a larger institution, having this kind of access to the president is almost unheard of,” Akande said. “It’s just unrealistic, but the value of Westminster is that we’re small enough to make a difference; we’re small enough to engage our students; we’re small enough to get to know them.”
Student Government Association President Zach Stafford, ’17, has his own weekly meetings with President Akande, but he said he is excited about the rest of the student body now having an easy opportunity to talk with the president.
“I think office hours with President Akande is something this campus needs,” Stafford said. “It’s just another simple, but meaningful, way for the president to better the relationship with the student body. I think it shows that he is willing to talk to anyone who has an issue about almost anything.”
President Akande welcomes any student to attend his office hours, regardless of whether or not they have an issue they would like to address. No appointments are necessary.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect a change in President Akande’s office hours: They will now be held the first Thursday of each month (not every Thursday).