MSA advocacy budget nearly quadruples

With so many politicians making campaign promises, Minnesota Student Association President Mark Nagel has made efforts to uphold his own. MSAâÄôs advocacy budget, which provides funding for Support the U Day , legislative affairs and a new legislative certificate program, was $1,637 last year. This year, it increased to $6,500. When Nagel campaigned to be MSA president with running mate Trisha Thompson , one of their campaign promises was to increase funding for advocacy efforts. âÄúWe thought that Support the U Day, being the biggest advocacy event that MSA participates in, that we should make more of a commitment to making that program outstanding,âÄù Nagel said. Support the U Day is an annual event where students bring issues to the state Legislature. âÄúItâÄôs like a wakeup call to legislators that the University is, in a lot of peopleâÄôs minds, the most important public institution in Minnesota,âÄù Alicia Smith , MSA legislative affairs chair, said. $1,000 of the advocacy funds includes a new legislative certificate program, which Smith said was put in place to get students trained and motivated to be effective lobbyists at Support the U day. Jordan Bronston , MSAâÄôs ranking representative to the Board of Regents, said the legislative certificate program is designed to give students an opportunity to learn more about the state Legislature and networking with administration, lawmakers and student leaders. âÄúPart of it is also about creating recognition in the state Legislature,âÄù Nagel said. âÄúNot just this year when we go down there, but next year when we go back again, theyâÄôll recognize people.âÄù Last year, MSAâÄôs budget included money not allocated for specific programs, which became a problem, Nagel said. MSA committees, he said, would ask for money out of the fund if they missed a grant deadline, for example, but still needed the money. For transparencyâÄôs sake, every cent of the budget has been planned to go toward specific programs this year. âÄúWe donâÄôt have an âÄòother eventâÄô fund this year,âÄù Thompson said. âÄúWe took that out because we want to streamline more toward the events that we need to do, or toward the committees because [they] would be the people dipping into that fund anyway.âÄù MSA Chief Financial Officer Camille Anderson said when the funds are all accounted for, the budget is being used in the most efficient way and lets students see that their student service fees are being used appropriately.