Former MSA members enter real world of politics

Some of the students who decided to leave the Minnesota Student Association this semester have remained in politics.

Former Diversity Education Fund Grants chairwoman Julia Krieger started volunteering for Al Franken about a year ago. Nathan Olson, former student representative to the Board of Regents has been working for Franken since the summer.

Olson and Krieger are primarily responsible for spreading the word about Franken’s campaign for Senate. They work on a variety of tasks, ranging from making phone calls to participating in political rallies.

Olson and Krieger both said they decided to work for Franken because of his ability to cause change in Minnesota.

“He’s not your typical politician. He’s not a comedian and he’s not a politician, he’s just who he is,” Krieger said. “From day one when I walked into the office, I was completely star-struck.”

The duo, which left the Executive Board after an internal MSA conflict last semester, has moved on to someplace where they feel they can accomplish more, Olson said.

Krieger said she is excited to be doing something where she can actually make an impact.

“Although we love MSA, we have had to make that sacrifice because we can make a more direct impact,” she said.

Olson is still a ranking student representative to the Board of Regents, so he still has some connection to MSA.

“I’m still involved with what’s happening at the University, but I am not tied down by the bureaucracy that MSA has become,” he said.

The environment that Krieger and Olson find their selves in now is very different than that of MSA, she said.

“I love to see people excited about making a change and about being connected to other people,” she said. “It’s a treat.”

Krieger and Olson both said their time in MSA was worthwhile because it gave them the necessary skills to succeed on the campaign trail.

The skills that have proven beneficial are the ability to communicate with others and to listen to everyone’s side of the issues, Krieger said.

“That’s what campaigning is all about, being able to listen to the interests of others and incorporate everyone so that they feel like a team,” she said.

MSA president Emma Olson said that anyone who comes from MSA will naturally have that inclination to pursue other political careers.

“People who are naturally interested in student government would be interested in other types of campaigns,” she said. “There will always be a link.”

Lauren Beecham, intern coordinator for the Franken campaign, said Krieger and Nathan Olson’s experiences will prove beneficial.

“I think student government prepares students for real world work experiences,” she said. “Students are given the tools they need to go out and actually live what they’ve learned in the classroom or through on-campus involvement.”

Both Krieger and Nathan Olson will remain working on the Franken campaign until the elections in November.

“I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure we defeat Norm Coleman in November,” Nathan Olson said.