UMN student government wraps up year; looks to fall semester

The Minnesota Student Association hopes to continue its initiatives into 2019.

MSA President Trish Palermo speaks during the final forum of the year at Tate Hall on April 24, 2018.

Image by Maddy Fox

MSA President Trish Palermo speaks during the final forum of the year at Tate Hall on April 24, 2018.

by Max Chao

The University of Minnesota student government is finishing up an active year and shifting its focus to the fall semester as new leadership moves in. 

The Minnesota Student Association began numerous campaigns and policy initiatives this year and hopes to continue pursuing them in the 2018-19 school year. 

At the beginning of the year, MSA President Trish Palermo and Vice President Erik Hillesheim laid out an agenda based on their campaign platform promises.

The agenda grew as the semester went on, eventually consisting of almost 100 items.

“Erik and I ran on an extremely ambitious platform, and to have watched all of those initiatives come to life has been truly powerful,” Palermo said of her and the vice president’s campaign. 

While many agenda items were completed, some platform items didn’t get completely enacted or have not been approved by administration or the Legislature. 

Among unimplemented items are attempts to expand medical amnesty legislation, increase lighting around campus and change the name of Coffman Union. 

Those items, among other ongoing goals, will be targeted by the incoming MSA leadership, Palermo said.

“Obviously, there’s still a long way to go … but I think this year we started a lot of conversations that needed to be started and were able to finish a lot of the initiatives that have been ongoing for quite a few years,” Palermo said. 

During fall semester, MSA got an early start through the implementation of several initiatives such as the “Break Up with Your Landlord” accountability campaign and the expansion of Gopher Chauffeur operation hours.

Palermo said this gave them momentum that carried through to the spring semester, helping them pass student housing legislation in the State legislature and launch a sexual assault awareness campaign that partnered with various campus groups, including Gopher Athletics. 

“MSA is lucky to be in a position where administrators take our efforts very seriously,” Palermo said.

In March, Simran Mishra and Mina Kian were elected the next president and vice president of MSA. 

Mishra said she hopes to build upon the foundation laid by this year’s MSA leadership.

“We’re very excited to be coming into a time when MSA has been doing so much and been so productive, and we’re excited to work on that,” she said. 

Mishra said she hopes to add new platform items, such as a focus on student worker rights and expanding the availability of emergency contraceptives. 

Officially taking over as president in mid-June, Mishra will begin major preparations for the upcoming school year in August.