MSA committee makes life smoother for students

by Tracy Ellingson

While members of the Minnesota Student Association usually address large policy issues at their biweekly forum meetings, one of the group’s committees prefers to focus its attention on making the little things better for students.
Issues that affect a student’s day-to-day life at the University and fall outside the realm of academics and legislative affairs are tackled by MSA’s Student Life Committee. The committee, which is chaired by College of Liberal Arts sophomore Julia Johnsen, helps students in everything from making Food Services more convenient to improving the bus system’s efficiency.
“(We change) a lot of little things,” Johnsen said. “But there are bigger (issues) too, like busing.”
Johnsen said MSA members and administrators all have the same goal when it comes to the University’s bus system: Make it more cost-effective and convenient.
Johnsen said she hopes this year the bus system will be more efficient by winter quarter so students don’t have to freeze while waiting for their ride. Last year, at the urging of the committee, the University implemented a shuttle service across the 10th Avenue bridge during winter quarter.
In addition to smoother transportation, the committee members hope to help students receive more money back on their used books at the University bookstores.
The committee members also want to convince Coffman Food Service to let students buy food from Coffman Memorial Union’s restaurants on their dorm meal plans.
In order to stay in touch with what students on campus want, Johnsen said she hopes to maintain a good relationship with the Residence Hall Association this year. Johnsen plans to attend house and floor kick-off meetings at all of the residence halls.
Although Johnsen can only speculate what issues her committee will face in the upcoming year, she said that its first meeting this Friday will give the members a good indication of what issues students feel are important. The meeting is open to any students who want to bring an issue to MSA’s attention.
“We’re trying to get students involved to find out what the issues are,” Johnsen said. “By the end of this week we’ll have a good idea of where we’ll be headed for the year.”