Board of Colleges dedicated to voice of St. Paul students

by Joe Carlson

The four miles that separate the St. Paul campus and Morrill Hall can seem like an unbridgeable chasm — impossible for concerned students to cross.
The St. Paul Board of Colleges is dedicated to countering this problem by relaying St. Paul campus interests to University administration.
“Essentially, we are the voice of the students on the St. Paul campus,” Biological Sciences Representative Ben Powers said.
Board Secretary Terry Nennich said the board’s goal is “to effectively represent the St. Paul campus and stay in contact with the students there so that they know they are represented.”
The board is comprised of two student representatives from each of the five colleges on the St. Paul campus in addition to two representatives at large. The board also has a student senator from each college who serves on the University Senate.
The board currently has 15 members, elected in the all-campus elections last May, Board President Carl Aakre said. Not every position is filled at this time.
There are four official positions on the board: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. These positions are filled by college representatives who are voted in by the newly elected board during its first meeting, Aakre said
The board is one of two fee-receiving student organizations on the St. Paul campus. One of the major functions of the board is assigning grants to University projects and organizations, Aakre said.
“Our total budget is around $25,000,” Aakre said. The board usually gives away about $10,000 annually in grants — up to $600 per grant.
Aakre noted that although the board is authorized to grant funds to any University project, “priority is given to St. Paul campus organizations.”
In the past, grants have been awarded to such groups and programs as the Design and Communications club, the Veterinary Medicine open house, and the Minnesota Royal celebration, Aakre said.
But many St. Paul students have never heard of the board, Aakre said, and do not take advantage of its grant-awarding abilities. Those who do know the board exists often cannot contact it, he added.
The board is putting up more flyers and attempting to sponsor more public events to inform St. Paul students of the grants. Also, the board has a site on the World Wide Web.
Another major function of the St. Paul Board of Colleges is the operation of the Old Test File in 190-G Coffey Hall.
The Old Test File is a collection of about 200 old exams from courses offered from the five St. Paul colleges.
Professors submit the old exams, without answers, which are then photocopied and distributed to students for 50 cents per exam.
“We’ve got a pretty good collection,” Old Test File employee Thomas DeMars said.
Julie Bitz, who is studying biology at the University, said “it’s a really good idea.” Bitz did note, however, that some of the older exams date back to the 80s.
Powers said the test file is not run to generate revenue. Instead, “we return any profit we make from the Old Test File to student organizations,” through grants.
Powers said that the St. Paul Board of Colleges is more efficient than other University programs because “we are small enough to be able to operate faster … we are able to get down to business right away.”