UMN’s MSA elections should inspire political action by students

Campus politics mirror the real deal, and have the power to spark involvement

MSA candidates make their opening statements at the MSA Debate in Coffman Memorial Union Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

Meagan Lynch

MSA candidates make their opening statements at the MSA Debate in Coffman Memorial Union Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

Kate McCarthy

Editor’s Note: This column was written before the results of this year’s student government elections were announced Sunday afternoon.

I write this as the campus waits with bated breath for student government election results. Four options were on the ballot for president and vice president of the Minnesota Student Association (MSA). There were several months of campaigning, and it seems to be a tight race. I myself am only in my second year at the University of Minnesota, but from what I’ve been told — this one’s a doozy.

As second semester began and campaigns geared up, I was closely following every move, every minor scandal and rollercoaster moment. Students and campaign teams alike were discussing the merits of MSA insider-versus-outsider voices, campus policy issues ranging from water bottle fillers to overall campus climate and inclusivity.

The more I watched and with every move made by respective teams, the more I could see the parallels between politics on a local or national scale and our smaller campus microcosm. Similar tactics and tensions occurred that we had seen in the recent presidential election. And while it wasn’t always pretty, it made me want to educate myself and participate more.

What a petri dish of politics in which to learn from. Maybe there are students who didn’t pay much attention to the most recent round of federal elections but are interested in politics now. If you were absorbed by, sparked by, fascinated by this student body election — consider it a call to take action in your communities. Your passion matters.