Promises of commitment and change were abounding as the new executive officers of the Minnesota Student Association were sworn in Friday afternoon.
Outside Coffman Union, president-elect Ben Bowman and vice president-elect Matt Clark were sworn in as heads of the student organization, along with MSA speaker Patrick Peterson. About 20 onlookers, mainly friends and family of the officers, witnessed the short ceremony.
In a speech focused on keeping their campaign promises to students, Bowman said he wanted to head an MSA that would “rid the University of naysayers and doomsdayers.”
“The day students can’t produce positive change on this campus is the day they should close the doors,” he said. “I promise that Matt and I will wake up every morning and work hard for the University.”
He said they have begun working on their goals, such as forming a student-run board of governors for University Bookstores.
Clark reflected on the April election and voter turnout — including the fact that a ticket vowing to dissolve the student organization garnered enough votes for a third-place finish.
“We’ve been given a command to get something done — or else,” Clark said.
Student apathy on campus was another hot topic at the inauguration. Peterson spoke about MSA’s responsibility to the students.
“We’re not reaching out to the University community and not succeeding with a large spectrum of people,” Peterson said. “That should be job number one for us.”
He added that University administration will take the student organization more seriously when MSA makes the effort to reach out to students and address their needs.
Clark also chimed in for improved communication between MSA and the University.
“Students want to know what’s in it for them — obviously, we haven’t answered that,” he said.
Although the audience was sprinkled with only a handful of people, some University administrators did turn out for the event.
McKinley Boston, vice president of student development and athletics, attended Friday’s inauguration, as he said he had in past years, to welcome MSA’s new leadership.
“We’re excited to be supportive of Ben and Matt,” Boston said. “We hope to work with them to enhance the University experience.”