Candidates push student involvement

Shannon Fiecke

If elected Minnesota Student Association president and vice president, Jason Will and Andrea Bader said, they will keep their personal opinions out of student government.

“I don’t see it as coming to the position with my own ideas or objectives,” Will said. “(The president) should be nurturing others’ ideas.”

The team’s platform revolves around student participation, Will said.

As College of Liberal Arts Student Board members, they said, they have gotten students involved and want this to happen in MSA too.

They cited the board-sponsored CLA major fair and Food for Thought dinners as ways they helped students while publicizing the board.

Neither would hint on political affiliations because, they said, it should have no bearing on the election.

“It’s just a University thing,” said Will, a senior in the intercollege program. “We’re not controlling the world here.”

Bader said tuition is a top issue for most students, but they did not want to speculate on other student priorities.

MSA must have a better idea of student opinion before staking positions on issues, Bader said.

“Issues are blurred because (MSA members) don’t know what students want,” she said.

Will said he did not know anything about the Student Services Fees process – which MSA is involved with – and Bader said she knew a little. She said she would like to see a more detailed tuition bill, showing where various fees go.

Their Web site mentions two particular issues – the on-campus football stadium and dining services – but Bader said they are trying to focus more on student participation than issues.

He also said the MSA president’s job should be facilitation – not dictating how things should be done – and introducing new lines of communication among people.

While gathering the 450 signatures needed to get on the ballot, Will said, he met many students who did not know MSA operates as the student government.

“At the very least, every student should know what MSA is,” he said.

Will said he knew of a student who attended an MSA Forum meeting for the first time, and no one said a word to her.

For those interested, Bader said, MSA leaders must get them involved. They must find creative ways of reaching out to those who do not know MSA exists, she said.

Like Bader, Will is not in MSA, but he said being president of the CLA Student Board has prepared him for the role.

“I do know student government, just not MSA,” Will said.

Josh LaBau, a member and former president of the CLA Student Board, agreed.

“When they say that something is going to get done, it gets done, and in a hurry,” said LaBau, a history and English senior. “They don’t dilly-dally around.”