MSA and GAPSA look forward to the new school year

While change is on the political horizon nationally, student government associations at the University are doing their part to make changes happen on campus. Mark Nagel, Minnesota Student Association president, said he wants to be more representative of University students this year, but said he thought last year went well. âÄúI hope to build upon the successes of last year,âÄù said Nagel. MSA provides services and representation to the undergraduate student body. Representatives attend state legislative meetings, and Nagel said he would like to have as much impact as possible in the legislative realm. Nagel said student support can help minimize climbing tuition costs, since many University funds are approved by the Legislature. One service that many students took advantage of last year was the MSA Express , a free shuttle service that runs Friday and Saturday nights on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods. The service, previously operated by MSA, is now sponsored by Boynton Health Service , which has allowed the service to expand. âÄúThere was no room to expand under MSA because we did not have the resources to help it grow,âÄù said Mark Nagel , MSA president. NagelâÄôs predecessor, Emma Olson , said she thought MSA created a better bridge between student groups and student government that hadnâÄôt been there before. The Graduate and Professional Student Association , a similar organization for graduate and professional students, has grown in popularity, GAPSA President Kristi Kremers said. âÄú[Last year] we had the biggest turnout in GAPSA history. We even had more people turn out than MSA, which I donâÄôt think has ever been done before,âÄù Kremers said. Kremers said GAPSA hopes to accomplish three primary goals this year. One is to increase awareness about the organization itself and what it does to help students become successful; GAPSA uses grant programs to help students present research. Kremers said GAPSA is also looking to have more social events. âÄúLast year, the Council of Graduate Students booked a karaoke party that was very successful, so we want to collaborate with them more,âÄù she said. GAPSA only has one representative on the Board of Regents, but she said they would like to increase that number, since graduate students make up 40 percent of the UniversityâÄôs student population. Undergraduate students that want to help make changes are encouraged to join MSA, Nagel said. MSA Speaker of the Forum Mark Lewandowski said the easiest route is to become an at-large member. MSA is currently taking applications, and new members will be elected at the first forum meeting on Sept. 16 at Coffman Union.