What if MSU could offer more productive partnerships with nonprofits which meet the greatest needs in our community, while further engaging students in learning and engagement through service?  That's exactly the question that Leadership Institute director, Carmen McSpadden, asked when devising this program. Boardroom Bobcats, which places upper level undergraduate and graduate students on nonprofit boards to serve as non-voting members for the academic year, launched in August 2016. The program is supported by a $5,000 seed grant from the MSU Outreach and Engagement Council for the 2016-2017 academic year.  

The mission of Boardroom Bobcats is to develop students to become catalysts for change who seek life-long commitments to community involvement and board service, creating value and lasting impact for nonprofit organizations and the greater community.  As a reciprocal partnership, nonprofits gain insights and a fresh perspective from MSU students while training future board leaders.  Students gain practical boardroom experience, familiarity with the nonprofit sector, mentee opportunities and lifelong leadership skills.

The program consists of regular attendance of students at board meetings and complementary leadership trainings in nonprofit board work coordinated by the Leadership Institute.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the following MSU students were paired with the boards of the nonprofits listed next to their names:
(Student, hometown, major and company)

Ryeland Allenson, LaPorte, Colorado; accounting; Bozeman Schools Foundation
Matt Brownlow, Missoula, business marketing/management; Bozeman Community Foundation
Karen Funke, Bozeman, graduate student, adult and higher education; Bozeman Public Library Foundation
Josh Iverson, Hampton, Minnesota; history, economics; Eagle Mount
Hilary Lemen, Barrow, Alaska; economics; Montana Aquatic Resources Services, Inc.
Rob Lliteras, Seward, Nebraska; history; Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation
John Miller, Judith Gap; business management; Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Darci Peterson, Pinedale, Wyoming; English education, sociology, with a minor in coaching; THRIVE
Isaac Stafstrom, Cascade; animal science; Big Sky Youth Empowerment
Liz Wilk, Olympia Fields, Illinois; graduate student, science and natural history, Montana Aquatic Resources Services, Inc.

For more information about Boardroom Bobcats, please contact Laura Demmel, MSU Leadership Institute, (406) 994-7279 or laura.demmel@montana.edu.