New MSA president

by Rebecca Czaplewski

and Sean Madigan
Moving boxes of files and papers turned out to be the first duty for the new president and vice president of the Minnesota Student Association.
Ben Bowman and Matt Clark hope they can move next year’s agenda through the student association’s forum just as easily.
And as they sift through the last remnants of former MSA executives Nikki Kubista and Erin Ferguson, Bowman and Clark see their goals yielding more tangible results than the past administration.
The pair have already started work on their two major initiatives for the next academic year: assembling a student-run board of governors for University Bookstores; and gaining a University bus route across the 10th Avenue Bridge.
Development in forming a board of governors for University Bookstores has already begun. Bowman recently met with the director of the bookstores in what he called an “encouraging” meeting. He cited increased communication and student involvement in other University programs as a necessity for the board.
“We do it for the residence halls, Coffman Union and other things that involve the students — that includes the bookstores,” Bowman said.
He also offered some possibilities for the University Bookstores, which include developing a Web site similar to, where students could purchase textbooks.
So far, Clark has taken on busing issues. He said the student organization plans to gauge student interest in a 10th Avenue connector route by renting a bus for a trial period during the first few weeks of fall semester.
Bowman and Clark say they are confident about accomplishing their goals within their term. Yet past administrations have faced difficulties in achieving their initiatives within a year’s time.
Kubista and Ferguson declined an interview for this article.
“We’re kind of done and don’t really want to do anything about it,” said Ferguson, 1998-99 vice president.
Kubista and Ferguson had three major objectives for their term. The duo vowed to keep tuition increases to no more than 2.5 percent, champion student housing issues and develop coalitions among student organizations. Yet they accomplished only one of their three goals.
Regardless of the MSA lobby, the Board of Regents voted to raise tuition by 3 percent. The pair also promised to work with the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group to develop a renter’s rights handbook. However, the handbook never materialized.
Kubista and Ferguson did achieve considerable success in their coalition-building initiative. MSA, along with several other student organizations, held a “Meet the Candidates Week” prior to the November elections. They also helped sponsor a networking dinner for student organizations and various diversity events throughout the year.
Although Bowman and Clark also have goals in place for their term, they feel they have some considerable differences from the leadership of years past.
Clark said their administration appeals to the entire undergraduate body, as opposed to catering to specific student groups.
“We don’t have to adhere to allegiances,” he said.
Bowman added that his initiatives are not designed to appeal to the needs of specific student organizations, but rather the general student population.
“I consider myself the definition of the average student on campus,” Bowman said.