MSA recognizes students’ service

Volunteers received tickets to Lend a Hand, Hear the Band.

Will Hutchinson plays the opening act of MSA’s Lens-a-hand, Hear-the-band concert Monday evening at Coffman Union.

Mark Vancleave

Will Hutchinson plays the opening act of MSA’s Lens-a-hand, Hear-the-band concert Monday evening at Coffman Union.

Carly Schramm

Singer-songwriter Will Hutchinson opened for Mat Kearney at a private concert Monday night in the Great Hall of Coffman Union for about 600 students who logged an estimated 6,000 hours of community service this year. The Minnesota Student AssociationâÄôs fourth annual Lend a Hand, Hear the Band concert is reserved only for students who volunteer at least 10 hours during the school year. Every 10 hours of volunteer work recorded is equivalent to one ticket to the show. âÄúStudents already put a lot of work into school, whether itâÄôs volunteer work, homework or paid work, MSA Vice President Alicia Smith said. âÄúWeâÄôre just trying to reward students for the work that they do on campus.âÄù To receive tickets, students are required to log their hours on a spreadsheet, and MSA members will confirm that the activity is legitimate. Some of the checking relies on the honor system, Smith said. Students are encouraged to participate in any type of volunteer work, whether itâÄôs with a student group or an off-campus organization. âÄúItâÄôs good to have a reward for people that volunteered,âÄù sophomore Kaylee Kurth, who was at the concert, said. âÄúIt gives an incentive for people to get involved.âÄù Kurth, 20, volunteered more than 40 hours at a local YMCA. MSA and event coordinators spent an estimated 300 hours planning for the concert. Smith and Lend a Hand coordinator Alissa Maier began planning back in September. The Lend a Hand, Hear the Band planning committee compiles a list of bands that are known to play small shows at colleges and lets MSA members give their input before making a decision based on budget and popularity, Maier said. In the past, the concert has brought bands like Augustana, Guster and The Hold Steady to the stage. MSA uses the concert as a way to promote campus and community spirit, Smith said. âÄúIt also helps the student government build bridges across campus.âÄù Last year MSA partnered with volunteer organization Greater Twin Cities United Way, which gave a donation to help fund the concert and helped find different volunteer opportunities for students, Maier said. However, this year Greater Twin Cities United Way only lent MSA their services instead of monetary donations, Maier said. âÄúEven though we asked [for sponsorship] really early this year, about four months ahead of last year, they didnâÄôt have money in their budget to help this year,âÄù Smith said. This yearâÄôs event budget was reduced to $40,000 from last yearâÄôs $63,000, in part because of their change in venue, Smith said. Northrop Auditorium costs almost $20,000 to rent, Smith said. Funding for the concert came from MSA and sponsorship from the office of the president. Each contributed $20,000 for the event. The concert has previously been held in Northrop Auditorium and has drawn as many as 3,000 students in past years. But, due to budget constraints, Monday nightâÄôs event had to be downsized to the Great Hall, Smith said. âÄúThatâÄôs how we were able to keep the program going this year,âÄù Smith said. âÄúWith the economy the way it is, people havenâÄôt been able to sponsor us.âÄù âÄúMSA continues to hold this concert every year because it is a good way to give back to the student body and show our appreciation for students who actually do volunteer work,âÄù Smith said.