Contact: Di Saunders - Cell: 503-807-5539; Office: 503-725-5714

New Members for State Board of Higher Ed Confirmed by Senate

SALEM, June 10 - Governor Kulongoski's nomination of two Oregon University System students, Bridget Burns and Rachel Pilliod, to serve as members of the State Board of Higher Education, was confirmed this week by the Oregon State Senate. 

Burns, outgoing president of Associated Students of Oregon State University, and Pilliod, outgoing president of Associated Students of University of Oregon, will begin a two-year term on the Board on July 1. Burns succeeds Erin Watari, a graduate student at Portland State University, whose term expires at the end of June. Pilliod succeeds Tim Young, a graduate student at University of Oregon, whose one-year extension to his term also expires on June 30. 

Jim Lussier, president of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, said, "We are very pleased with the two student Board members nominated by the Governor. Ms. Burns and Ms. Pilliod will each be a strong voice and advocate for students in Oregon, and we look forward to serving with them."

Currently serving as National Chair of the State Student Association Alliance, Burns has also been involved at the institution level as president of the Associated Students of Oregon State University over the last year, where she directed the federal affairs task force and the disabled affairs task force. In these leadership roles, she has advocated for students to the OSU administration and faculty, and to state and U.S. legislators. Burns represents OSU students on the President's Cabinet, on the Oregon Student Association Board of Directors, and is involved in several other student leadership groups on campus. Burns expects to complete her bachelor's degree in Political Science at OSU in 2004, after which she plans to attend law school at University of Oregon.

Burns has been active on debate teams throughout her undergraduate career, frequently a finalist in state and regional tournaments, and was Montana State Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate in 1998.

Before beginning at OSU, Burns attended North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, where she was student body vice president, and worked as an assistant paralegal in the U.S. Attorney's Office. She is originally from Montana and moved to Oregon in 2000.

Pilliod recently completed a year representing students as president of Associated Students of University of Oregon and as chair of the Oregon Student Association. In these capacities, Pilliod represented Oregon students as the spokesperson at the State Board of Higher Education meetings, worked to increase voter registration among students, initiated diversity and affirmative action campaigns, worked on revising the student code of conduct, improved housing standards and worked with the UO administration to develop a planned response to Measure 28. She provided leadership to the allocation of more than $8.5 million to 140 student programs and organizations on campus, and spearheaded an initiative to expand shared student governance at all Oregon University System campuses.

Currently, Pilliod is corporate secretary of the United States Student Association (USSA), based in Washington, DC. She is a trainer in USSA's Grassroots Organizing Weekends (GROW), giving fellow students and youth activists the tools to solve problems and build the advocacy strengths of student organizations. Pilliod is a volunteer and organizer in the Oregon Bus Project, and has also volunteered with Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene. 

An Oregon native, Pilliod graduated from Thurston High School in Springfield in 2000. After she graduates from UO in 2004, Pilliod plans to pursue a master's degree in public health and then go on to medical or law school.

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.  


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