Candidates for MSA president announced

Elections for student body president will be held April 8-10.

From left: Adam Motzko, Colter Heirigs,

From left: Adam Motzko, Colter Heirigs,

Tyler Gieseke

Five University of Minnesota students will run for president of the Minnesota Student Association for 2013-14.

Elections for MSA president and vice president, MSA at-large members, representatives to the Student Senate and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly will be held April 8-10.

To become a candidate for MSA president and be included on the all-campus election ballot, a student must file with the All Campus Elections Commission, collect 450 student signatures and attend an information session. Presidential and vice-presidential debates are held before the election.  

The Minnesota Daily spoke with each of the MSA presidential candidates — Mick Hedberg, Colter Heirigs, Lorenzo Lopez, Adam Motzko and Mike Schmit — about the ideas they have for the position.

 

MICK HEDBERG

Major

Philosophy, communication studies and political science

 

Year

Junior

 

Prior experience

Part of the Student Affairs Student Advisory Board, peer adviser for CLA Career Services, CLA student senator and co-director of MSA’s Facilities, Housing and Transit Committee

 

Running mate

Dionne Griffin

 

Why did you decide to run for MSA president?

In my three years on campus, I’ve been in countless conversations about the ways that the U of M could improve and actions that students could take to make the University stronger. Most recently, I’ve recognized the need for a stronger unity on campus. Stronger unity will allow us as students to leverage the full influence that a campus of 30,000 undergraduates, the leverage that that body ought to have. That influence can be applied then to everything from campus life to administrative spending to the cost of tuition and textbooks.

What issues are important to you?

One of the first steps to me is to build that unity and really bring in together different student groups and different culture centers in an effort to create a unified agenda and to find our common interests, and from there, that allows us to work with issues.

Another thing would be helping to create a student FAFSA service … and then also just expanding our outreach to students. … One way we can do that is by using online technology that’s already available to us in creating a place where any student anywhere on campus can send in an idea to MSA and then creating a sort of investment in those ideas.

What will you do to address these issues?

Really building that unity is to me the first step. Building unity allows us to extend our reach as student government, allows us to speak for more students and allows us to really channel a single voice. … That allows us to advance our outreach and to make our actions more strong and carry more weight at the University and the state level.

 

COLTER HEIRIGS

Major

Political science

 

Year

Junior

 

Prior experience

Served as MSA director of Legislative Affairs, director of Strategic Communication and on the Association of Big Ten Students, helped plan a Big Ten on the Hill policy conference last spring

 

Running mate

Sara Gottlieb

Why did you decide to run for MSA president?

Sara and I decided to run this year because we think there’s a lot the student government can be doing for students that it’s currently not. Right now we have a lot of fantastic efforts that are being pursued by MSA, such as medical amnesty, but there’s a greater opportunity to get [the] larger campus involved. We’re a campus of 35,000 people, and it’s a shame that only 400 students have really gotten activated into [the] medical amnesty process and getting that passed. … We need more engagement on campus, and we think that starts right at the top of MSA.

What issues are important to you?

No. 1 is definitely student rights. We need to make sure that medical amnesty passes through the state Legislature. … Another thing that we need is grief absence policy. Right now teachers have [a] defined period of leave that they get, and the policy defines what days they can take off, what benefits they get during that time period. We think that exact same policy should apply to students. While some teachers are very kind and very easy to work with, some others aren’t, and we think it’s absolutely important for us to be able to have the exact same rights as teachers.

What will you do to address these issues?

I think it’s really easy for us to create position statements and come out in favor of things on campus, but it’s another thing for the student government to actually get to work, and I think the student government can work to save students’ money, it can work to make students’ lives easier, and we’ve discovered this year that it can be a very strong advocate for students at the state Legislature and on campus. 

 

LORENZO LOPEZ

Major

Political science

 

Year

Freshman

 

Prior experience

Involved with student council in middle and high school and involved with MSA

 

Running mate

Tania Torres-Prieto

 

Why did you decide to run for MSA president?

I decided to run for MSA president at the University of Minnesota so that I could be a voice for the student body. This way I’d be able to address the concerns that are concerning maybe some of the students, and that way I can help to make a positive change.

What issues are important to you?

In the architect program … CAD (computer-aided design) actually isn’t a requirement for [the program], but it’s actually one of the main tools actually used in the work field, so if we could start maybe bringing in the CAD as something that counts … Making school affordable for everyone, working at the state level, working closely with the representatives in the state to see what we can do … working more on having an incentive program — more incentive programs — for students that graduate from the U and actually work in Minnesota.

What will you do to address these issues?

Being involved with the community, all the local communities, being involved with the school, the students and actually taking a step in the right direction. … What I mean by that is looking at what’s going on and trying to find the best, maybe the [best] outcome for everybody …

The residents who live in the dorms right now at the end of finals, the day right after finals they actually have to be out of the dormitories. So what I would like to do is I would like to work with the residence hall and extend those dates — just [by] a day actually. I was talking with some students, and they just said if they could have one extra day to pack up and leave, that would actually alleviate a lot of stress that they have around that time when they’re taking finals. What I’m hoping by actually in doing this, though, is that we can improve grades.

 

ADAM MOTZKO

Major

Finance and applied economics

 

Year

Junior

 

Prior experience
Involved with various student organizations and chaired a student group

 

Running mate

Mark Haakenstad

 

Why did you decide to run for MSA president?

I decided to run because I don’t think student government has been as relevant as it should be. I don’t think students on campus necessarily know who their MSA representatives are because they don’t do as much as they should, and I’d love to change that. I want to make student government more relevant so that students have a clear voice to the administration of the University.

What issues are important to you?

I would say my No. 1 issue is focusing on student tuition, and I would love to be the voice of the students sitting down with the administration and outlining the things that we’re spending money on that actually do help students and benefit students and the things that don’t help students at all and could be focused less on.

What will you do to address these issues?

I want to make it a point of sitting down with the administration. I think the administration is, thankfully, taking a serious look at its own administrative waste, and I think it’s very crucial that we have an active student voice in that process. … Obviously the student government doesn’t set those things, but they can be a relevant voice in the process, ensuring that students are benefiting however much is possible.

 

MIKE SCHMIT

Major

Finance and supply chain and operations management

 

Year

Sophomore

 

Prior experience

MSA member, Board of Regents alternate representative, helped with fees request for Student Unions and Activities

 

Running mate

Fiona Cumming

 

Why did you decide to run for MSA president?

I’ve been involved with MSA since fall of 2011 — that was my first semester here as a freshman — and since that time, I’ve kind of been compiling a list of things that I seem to hear over and over from students, things that they want to see changed on campus. … We have some pretty high-level support actually already for some of our initiatives that we’re looking at pursuing next year, and I think that the role of MSA president is a great place to make these things happen.

What issues are important to you?

We’re really addressing three different main, core tenants if you will. The first one is affordability … [the] second area is opportunity … and then our last one is community. … Really everything we’re working on is based around the idea of building a stronger community for the University student population, staff and faculty and alumni community as a whole.

What will you do to address these issues?

[W]e’re looking at revitalizing a textbook exchange program here at the University. … We’re looking into areas like men’s mental health, which is sometimes missed, as well as mental health resources for international students. … We want to really build a mental health portfolio for students to access, essentially to bring resources together and making it simpler for students. … We’re looking at creating a scholarship initiative that’s a student-driven, student-funded scholarship initiative. … We’re looking at putting a skating rink on Northrop Mall.