MSA candidatesstress teamwork

Tracy Ellingson

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-day series highlighting the candidates for the presidency of the Minnesota Student Association. Elections for all MSA positions will take place April 23-24.

When MSA presidential candidate Corey Donovan and his running mate Kiaora Bohlool talk about being a team, they take it to the extreme.
“We finish our sentences for each other,” Donovan joked as Bohlool laughed in agreement.
The pair agrees that filling the top spots of one of the undergraduate student body’s largest advocacy groups means working as a team, not only with one another, but with all the students they represent.
“We want to be more than a team of two,” Donovan said. “We want to be a team of young leaders that are going to make a difference next year and are going to change MSA.”
Donovan and Bohlool said that the biggest change they would like to see in the organization is that it become more accessible and welcoming to all students. Each of this year’s candidates in the three-ticket race have noted that a large number of students don’t care — or know — about MSA and what it can do for students.
“Probably the number one problem with MSA is that it’s unknown and unaccessible,” Donovan said.
The pair plans to encourage more students to use the group as a resource for making changes on campus. The two have said they are waiting to set any specific goals until next year’s student body brings forward issues it wants to pursue.
“We’re not going to define the issues for the students,” Bohlool said. “We’re going to have the students help us define the issues with them. We believe in (the students), and we want to include everyone in our vision, not meaning Corey and my vision, but everyone’s vision for the University.”
If elected, Donovan said next year he and Bohlool will ask that other campus groups participate in the MSA Forums, which are generally held every other week in the same room in Coffman Memorial Union, by helping host the meetings in locations all over campus.
Location will not be the only difference in the forum format if Donovan and Bohlool have anything to say about it. Donovan said that he and Bohlool will work together in every aspect of the job, unlike this year’s MSA president, Helen Phin, and Vice President Eric Hanson, who he said have maintained their positions as two distinctly different roles.
“We both want to motivate people, and we both want to keep up those positive attitudes,” Bohlool said. “But then we also want to get the work done together.”
To that end, Donovan said that when the two decided to run as one ticket, they agreed that they needed to feel confident that they could each cover both the presidential and vice presidential duties.
“The most difficult decision was deciding who was going to be president and vice president, so we decided to run together,” Donovan said.
Both Donovan and Bohlool are senators in MSA. Bohlool, who is a junior in the College of Liberal Arts and a double major in broadcast journalism and theatre, joined the organization as an at-large representative during her freshman year. Donovan, a CLA junior and a political science major, joined MSA this year as a senator and the chairman of the group’s academic affairs committee.
Bohlool, who was born and grew up in Hawaii, said she came to the University because her parents had spoken highly of their time on campus — her mother received her master’s degree and her father earned his doctorate here.
“I really wanted to get people involved in a big school, to get to know a bunch of people,” Bohlool said. “And that’s what this place has given me. It’s one of the best choices I’ve made.”
Donovan, who grew up in nearby Cottage Grove, said that he always knew he would go to the University.
“I just knew I was going to come here; it didn’t matter. It was the only place I applied,” he said.
The two have developed their sense of leadership in several campus organizations. Donovan was in the University’s first Residential College groups and went on to become a junior mentor in the program. He is also a New Student Weekend counselor, a member of the Coffman Board of Governors and a student recruiter for the Gophers football team.
Bohlool has been featured in several University radio advertisements with prominent alumni, such as Kevin McHale. She also belongs to several organizations, including Alpha Chi Omega sorority, Crisis Point Theatre and the University Office of Admission’s ambassadors program.