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The Daily Tar Heel

Get on board: Town looking to ?ll many vacancies on local boards; students should consider joining for experience

Students should consider applying to a Chapel Hill commission or standing committee.

Most of the town’s volunteer boards currently have vacancies — the town is trying to fill 85 seats for 22 boards. Some seats will be available when current members’ terms expire. Other seats are already empty.

Terms on a town board or commission are three years, except for the Library Board of Trustees, which is four.

Many of the appointments will happen this summer, and students who will be around should consider submitting an application.

Serving on a town board or commission is the perfect opportunity for students to give back to the town.

As students, it’s easy to come to the University and be indifferent to town governance and the goings on of Chapel Hill.

But many students are registered Orange County voters. That means there’s a civic duty to participate in government.

Students need representation in town government, especially on bodies like the Transportation Board, which advises the Chapel Hill Town Council and staff on the public transit system.

Serving on a town board or commission also offers experience students can’t get in class. A professor or a TA can only go so far in explaining the governing process. Understanding comes from participation.

Plus, serving gives students a chance to interact with people outside the college scene. And it looks good on your resume.

Boards and commissions can strongly influence the Town Council and town staff. The spots are unpaid, and many town residents have full-time jobs and families they have to provide for.

Students are busy, too. But we’re used to the idea of not getting paid for our work. If other town residents can’t fill the positions, students should answer the call and help the town govern itself.

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