Student groups promote involvement

MSA and others are taking the week to remind students of ways to get involved.

Elizabeth Cook

Temperatures dipping below zero didn’t stop Minnesota Student Association members from giving out free coffee on the Washington Avenue Bridge Monday morning.

MSA Vice President Monica Heth said the coffee is part of the kickoff for MSA Week, six days of campus events designed to get the word out about MSA.

Where to Go

Free Coffee
When: 8 to 10 a.m. today
Where: Washington Avenue Bridge

Support the Troops Toiletry Drive
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: 326 Coffman Union Blood Drive
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Great Hall, Coffman Union

MSA Express Unveiling
What: Call (612) 388-6911 on Fridays and Saturdays between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and get a free ride home.
When: Beginning 10 p.m. Friday

The association is also promoting “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band,” a free concert for students who volunteer 10 hours between now and early April.

Guster will headline the April 14 show, along with The Format and local act Roster McCabe.

MSA Speaker Tom Meyer stood on the bridge pouring coffee and offering information about the MSA Express van operation beginning Friday.

Starting this weekend, students can call a phone number Friday and Saturday nights to get a free ride home if they live near the campus area.

Surveys about MSA sat on a nearby table, but most students only grabbed for the coffee.

“It’s just that it’s so cold we’re not even asking people to fill them out,” Meyer said.

Formerly called “Cabin Fever Week,” MSA returned to a week of campus events after Heth read about the past program.

She said there used to be Goldy the Gopher snow animal building competitions and pizza parties.

Heth said she liked the idea of getting students involved in a designated week hosted by MSA, but wanted it to have more of a volunteer focus.

“I wanted more of a service event week so people could start earning volunteer hours,” she said.

Comfort for Courage, a student group that supports University veterans, will partner with MSA for Wednesday’s Support the Troops Toiletry Drive.

Jeremiah Peterson, veteran and president of Comfort for Courage, said supplies from gum to toothbrushes can really boost a soldier’s spirits.

The chemistry junior said supplies were low during his tour in Iraq from November 2003 to March 2005 because the invasion was just getting underway.

“It shows that people are back there remembering you and caring about you,” Peterson said.

Students who bring in supplies will receive one hour of volunteer work, Heth said.

Students can also participate in a dance marathon, sponsored by Students Today, Leaders Forever.

Eric Larsen, co-president of Students Today, Leaders Forever, said the event will go from 2 p.m. Saturday until 2 a.m. Sunday and will benefit the St. Paul Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Students are encouraged to raise at least $65 beforehand through a pledge drive.

Larsen said the marathon gives students a chance to “contribute to a local charity and, at the same time, meet the families and feel a part of something bigger.”