Governor appoints UH System’s student regent for new year
Gov. Greg Abbot appointed the UH System’s student regent for the upcoming academic year on June 5 — a position within the Board of Regents responsible for overseeing university activities, such as curriculum, budgets and programs offered.
“I’m always looking for new ways to get involved and new ways to advocate for students,” said accounting and finance senior Andrew Teoh, the UH’s System’s new student regent. “And it’s always been a goal of mine to serve on this board.”
Teoh applied for student regent in December 2017, and six months later, he was appointed to serve in the Board of Regents – where he hopes to discover all the opportunities UH has to offer, he said.
The Board of Regents — the UH System’s governing body — decides which programs the Universities offer, hires the UH president, approves the budget and manages University activities. The board involves the student regent in these affairs, but the student has no voting power.
Before being interviewed by the executive director of the governor’s appointment office, Teoh received approval in each step of the application process.
Applicants must first submit their application by Dec. 1. SGA from each UH System school then recommends up to five applicants, and the chancellor selects up to four applicants from all the recommendations to send to the governor.
Teoh’s extracurricular activities include interning in Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office, interning in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington, Bauer Honors Mentor, SFAC vice chair and SGA senator.
Mason Malone, a first-year law student and Teoh’s roommate, said a drive to become involved with the University became a common theme in Teoh’s ambitions since freshman year.
“He wanted to be in positions at the University where he can take students’ concerns and do something about them,” Malone said.
Teoh’s dependability sets him apart from others, Malone said. While vice chair of SFAC, a committee that decides how to allocate student fees, he would usually work late, staying there past his 15 mandatory hours. He also brought his work home, so he could research all the proposals made by organizations before coming to a decision, he said.
Shannon Steele, a finance senior and Teoh’s confidant, said they texted in the days before the governor’s appointment.
“It was kind of a secret, because he didn’t want too many people to know,” Steele said. “Following the process with him was really exciting. I got more and more proud of him.”
He was given a date for when he’d find out if he got the position, she said. On that day, although she was in Houston and he in Washington, Steele and Teoh texted all day waiting for him to get the call.
Teoh got the call while Steele was at work, but that didn’t stop the two from celebrating.
“We both kind of just screamed and were really excited for 15 minutes,” Steele said. “Then I had to go back to work, but I was really proud of him.”
President Cameron Barrett said Teoh’s involvement as a Bauer mentor and tenure as SFAC vice chair helped him win his seat in the senate.
“He’s a very passionate and capable person who I’m sure will represent students well on the Board of Regents,” Barrett said.
Teoh said he’s been thinking about what he’ll do after he graduates.
“Being able to serve people and being able to work for your constituents and the communities you identify with is really incredible, and it’s something I could really see myself doing,” Teoh said. “As of right now, the options are wide open.”