Why you should care about the ‘Wes and Michelle for MSA’ ticket

During our campaign to lead the Minnesota Student Association, Michelle and I have been asked by nearly every student, âÄúWhat is MSA?âÄù. Our goal is that by Fall 2011 every University of Minnesota student knows the answer to this question.
In order for students to know what MSA is, let alone care about what it does, MSA needs to have a strong voice on campus. We intend to give MSA that strong voice through shared governance; that is, giving all University students an official voice in the UniversityâÄôs decision-making process.
From day one, Michelle and I will work with incoming University President Eric Kaler to implement shared governance as quickly as possible. In addition to focusing on shared governance, we recognize the need to work with the administration to control the costs of education. It is imperative that students continue to receive the high-quality education the University is known for. The University will inevitably receive further state cuts, but we will work to ensure that students are represented as the administration manages its new budget.
Beyond giving students an official voice in the UniversityâÄôs decision-making process, we need to increase MSAâÄôs visibility with the general student body on campus. Michelle and I will continue the strong programs started this year that have reached out to student groups, including the Operational Budget Grant program, which brings funding to groups on campus that may not be eligible for Student Services Fees funding. As a member of the MSA Grants Committee, I have seen firsthand the importance of MSAâÄôs grants program, and we will double the size of the OBG budget to allow even more groups to benefit. We are committed to using MSA to strengthen all student groups, and the OBG program has proven to be an amazing success, bringing funding to student groups too small to receive Student Services Fees. We will also offer an increased number of programs and services for students, further increasing the visibility and value of MSA to the entire student body. To fund this increased programming, we will reduce the stipends of the executive staff, including our own salaries. These savings will be moved into the programming budget, ensuring that students are receiving the maximum value from MSA.
We also need to reach out to students who arenâÄôt yet involved with student organizations. To do this, we will work with Orientation & First-Year Programs to host a presentation during Welcome Week to let freshmen know about MSA and how to get involved. This presentation will also be hosted at the beginning of each spring semester.
MSA is the voice of students not only on campus but also off campus. While MSA currently actively lobbies the Legislature in St. Paul, we recognize the need for more connection with city governments. We will work with MSAâÄôs Legislative Affairs Committee and the Legislative Certificate Program to continue the work to gain a student seat on City Council, giving students a voice in city decisions, such as the social host ordinance. Before this goal is realized, we will also create a City Council liaison to MSA so that MSA members and the entire student body are kept aware of City Council issues.
We will also continue the excellent work done at the state Capitol. We will diligently advocate for students to ensure what the Legislature and the governor decide regarding the University is in the best interests of all students.
So what is MSA? With the Wes and Michelle ticket, itâÄôs a voice in both University and City Council decision-making, more student funding and increased involvement of MSA on campus âÄî a winning combination for both you and the U.
Vote Wes and Michelle on April 4-6.