Student Advisory Board, Formerly SEC, Makes an Impact at UMMA

Student Advisory Board, Formerly SEC, Makes an Impact at UMMA

Photo by Mark Gjukich

The University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Student Engagement Council has been renamed the UMMA Student Advisory Board.

The SAB consists of 10-12 U-M students from different majors and backgrounds who help develop creative, diverse, and inclusive programs to engage students with UMMA's exhibitions and collections. In addition, the group members have active voices in department meetings across the Museum where their input impacts choices made about upcoming exhibitions and projects. The name change reflects that more active role for the student community in UMMA operations. 

“Now, our student board is able to act in an advisory capacity in a more official way,” says Briannon Cierpilowski, UMMA’s Student Engagement Coordinator. She notes that the group had a say in UMMA’s 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, and that they’re involved with the Director’s Acquisition Committee, which makes decisions about which works of art the Museum purchases.

The group launched in 2009, with the purpose of engaging students for UMMA’s grand re-opening after the construction of the Frankel Wing. Cierpilowski has overseen the group since she joined the Museum in 2016, and she’s made it her job to “infiltrate” UMMA with students’ input. 

“It has been important for UMMA that the students involved have a sense of authority over the ways we engage their community,” she says, “and also that they serve in an advisory capacity in all the nooks and crannies of the institution.”

“I’ve enjoyed being a member of the SAB because of my ability to grow professionally and personally as a member of the group,” said Krista Albertins, a graduating U-M senior who has been part of the SAB since January 2021. “I’ve learned all about how UMMA (and museums, generally) functions, learned about how cultural institutions pursue and facilitate mission-driven work, and been able to share my own ideas on a variety of UMMA's projects. I’ve also met a fantastic group of peers and lifelong mentors at UMMA–I appreciate the community I have found here.”

Students interested in joining the Student Advisory Board can learn more about it here, and watch for updates about the next opportunities to apply. Applications open in November of each year, and new members are brought on board each January. Members receive a stipend, and students of all majors and academic backgrounds are welcome to apply.