MSA and GAPSA president hopefuls emerge

Three pairings will seek top MSA leadership positions.

by Cali Owings

Three pairs of candidates will vie for president and vice president of the Minnesota Student Association, and two candidates are in the running for the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly presidency.

Candidate filings for the University of MinnesotaâÄôs top student government positions closed at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The general election through the All Campus Elections Commission will be conducted April 4 through 6. Campaigning opened Feb. 7, so candidates have had a month to get the word out about their intentions to run.

MSA presidential hopefuls are unofficial until they receive 500 signature endorsements from students and submit them to ACEC by Friday.


MSA No. 1

Elizabeth Shay

Current year:Sophomore

Major: Finance, advertising and Spanish studies

Campus Involvement: MSA, Women in Business, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Admissions Ambassadors

Shay has been in the executive office with current MSA President Sarah Shook as chief of staff. She is also an at-large representative. She first became involved with student government as a Territorial Hall representative last year.

Colin Burke

Current year:Sophomore

Major:Chemical engineering

Campus Involvement: MSA, Interfraternity Council chief of staff, Sigma Chi Fraternity, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

A relative newcomer to MSA, Burke became an at-large representative during forum Feb. 8. He sits on the Facilities, Housing and Transit Committee.

For Shay and Burke, ensuring MSA delivers new and successful programs for students is important. Burke cited the MSA Express, which became the Gopher Chauffeur now operated by Boynton Health Service, as an example of a good MSA startup. Shay said they would rely on positive relationships with student groups to bring concerns to forum.


MSA No. 2

Wes Halseth

Current year: Junior

Major:Microbiology, pre-medicine

Campus Involvement: MSA, Honors Mentorship Program, Students for a Conservative Voice, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, anatomy department teaching assistant

Halseth is currently an at-large representative for MSA and serves on the Grants Committee. As a sophomore, Halseth became involved with MSA as a student group representative for CFACT.

Michelle Aumann

Current year:Junior

Major:Nutritional science, pre-dentistry

Campus Involvement: Admissions Ambassadors, Welcome Week leader, Parents Weekend coordinator, Gopher Greeter

Though Aumann has no experience with MSA, Halseth said her school spirit and outsider perspective will be important to bring fresh ideas to the position.

HalsethâÄôs back-to-basics campaign includes focusing on programs for students rather than policy. He said that more programming sponsored by MSA would help students become more aware of the organization. He said he is also committed to making sure operational budget grants for new and small student groups continue next year despite potential budget cuts from the fees committee.


MSA No. 3

Thomas Trehus

Current year:Sophomore

Major: Political science

Campus Involvement: MSA, Legislative Certificate Program, College of Liberal Arts Student Board, College Democrats

As political director for the Legislative Certificate Program, Trehus makes sure student concerns are voiced at the Capitol. He first became involved with MSA as a Bailey Hall representative and is now an at-large representative.

Lauren Himle

Current year:Junior

Major: Global studies and Chinese

Campus Involvement: MSA, a Chinese tutoring business, club sports

Himle, who first became involved in MSA this fall, is the Leadership Development Program director for MSA. She is also a representative and serves on the Legislative Affairs Committee.

Continuing with his political advocacy for students, TrehusâÄô campaign will focus on increased student involvement in the decision-making process on campus and off campus in the state Legislature. He said he would also like to see more transparency regarding the fees that students are assessed, including the University Fee, which costs full-time students $1,300 a year.


Head-to-head for GAPSA:

Abou Amara

Amara is a first-year public policy graduate student in the Hubert H. Humphrey School for Public Affairs. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied political science and sociology.

He was appointed acting president for GAPSA after the two top officers resigned in January. Before he took over as president, Amara was the political affairs vice president for GAPSA.

Paul Freeman

Freeman is currently in his third year pursuing a doctorate in aerospace engineering and mechanics. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland.

He also serves on the executive board for GAPSA as vice president for grants. He has served on the Student Services Fees Committee, of which he was chairman in 2010.