MSA elects new and old faces to serve on next year’s executive board

The pieces of the Minnesota Student Association puzzle have fallen into place.

At Tuesday’s forum, seven executive board members were elected to serve next year, some familiar faces and some new.


Current MSA Speaker Mark Lewandowski delivered his parting words to the forum and expressed disappointment in the forum’s passivity this year.

“I urge you to find issues you care about and bring them here to discuss,” he said. “If you think winter should be banned from the University of Minnesota campus, write something up and bring it here.”

To Lewandowski’s surprise, MSA wasn’t quite ready to let him go – he was re-elected for next year to that post, after losing the MSA presidential election earlier this month.

Lewandowski said he’ll make improvements next year to improve participation and order.

“This year the atmosphere in MSA has been kind of relaxed, and generally it shouldn’t be like that,” he said. “We’ll make some good improvements to operating as efficiently and as best as possible.”

Academics and Services Committee chair

Since current Academics and Services Committee Chairman Mark Nagel will serve as MSA president next year, his position is being taken up by Brendan O’Shea, a current member of the Academics and Services Committee.

O’Shea said he’ll continue with everything Nagel has accomplished this year, but wants to address teacher evaluations.

“I am most interested in teacher evaluations,” he said. “I think if we really focus with the administration in improving them we can make some sort of progress.”

Campus Relations Committee chair

After serving since the beginning of the semester, Campus Relations Committee Chairman Peter Hartman is passing the torch to Institute of Technology senator Missy Gettel.

Gettel said her tactics are for improving awareness and promotion of MSA.

“MSA is somewhat of a deceptive name; students don’t know that it’s by the students and for the students,” she said. “We need to advertise, advertise, advertise.”

DEF Grants Committee chair

Shana Conklin is going to try her hand at distributing money to student groups as the newly elected Diversity Education Fund Grants chairwoman.

Conklin said her conflict-resolution skills will help her facilitate agreement between groups and make the best decisions.

“I think I would be able to handle the problem fairly and make a compromise out of any problems that arise,” she said.

Conklin also said her ability to deal with money will also help her succeed in the position.

“I understand how to manage money,” she said. “I’m in macroeconomics.”

Facilities, Housing and Transportation Committee chair

Isaac Kesete came to the MSA forum hoping to become an at-large representative and ended up becoming the new Facilities, Housing and Transportation chairman.

Kesete won the position because the other nominees declined their nominations.

Legislative Affairs Committee chair

Lewandowski isn’t the only familiar face to MSA. His election running mate Alicia Smith will reclaim her position as the Legislative Affairs Committee chairwoman.

Smith said her main goal for next year is to focus less on advocacy and more on getting students engaged.

“I kind of devoted my entire college career trying to get people motivated and engaged in the political process,” she said. “This is actually my dream come true because I can focus on getting people involved in the civic process.”

Smith also said she wants to work with lobby firms to transition the Legislative Affairs Committee to function more like a lobby firm.

At-Large Representative to the Executive Board

The At-Large Representative to the Executive Board is the students’ and the forum’s direct link to the Executive Board. Next year, the responsibility will fall to Territorial Hall representative Ryan Kennedy.

Student Senate Consultative Committee representatives

Rounding out the new members are three student senate consultative committee representatives: current SSCC representative Kris Schwebler, Smith, and Kennedy.