Truman Merrifield made an historical achievement this month at Central Oregon Community College.
On July 1 he became the COCC Student Body President: Truman is the first person of color to serve in this position.
At COCC he is studying Forest Resources Technology and Wildland Fire/Fuels Management: Truman is also the first person from this discipline to serve as COCC Student Body President.
He first became interested in serving as Student Body President earlier this year, while serving on a Student Fee Committee that overlooks the Student Council budget. “I was asked by multiple faculty if I wanted to stay involved with student government,” he was saying recently.
One option was the Student Body Presidency. So Truman campaigned in May, visiting the four COCC campuses—Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville—asking the students what they would like to see from the Student Council.
And in June the students elected him as the new Student Body President.
The president is a spokesperson for the student body; and serves as leader of the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College, or ASCOCC, the Student Council.
The Council and president oversee the funding of the student clubs and programs, sponsor student activities, events and programs; and advocate for the student body on college-wide issues.
As Council President, Truman now has a vote on the Board of Directors on the Oregon Student Association. The OSA represents more than 110,000 university and college students in the state, lobbying at the state level on college funding and student matters.
Truman is 28, the son of Dinah Belgard and the late Wilbur Merrifield Jr. His grandfather is Harrison Davis Sr.
His studies and student government work at COCC keep Truman busy, as he also has a full time job at Fire Management, where he returned making this the sixth year.
Truman’s family are his main focus and desire to achieve and develop opportunities, for the better of their future. During the school year, his schedule requires that he works weekends and evenings. He’ll spend half-days at work and the other half at school. His supervisor and co-workers at Fire Management have been great in supporting Truman in his goals, both at college and at work.
And for now there is no telling where these recent developments might lead. This could lead, for instance, to an interest in pursuing some other elected office. “It’ll open doors along the way,” he says.