MSA Forum seeks representatives

JP Leider

More than 20 prospective, new and current Minnesota Student Association Forum members gathered Tuesday for an informational meeting at MSA headquarters in Coffman Union.

The MSA Forum consists of approximately 50 students who represent the undergraduate student body of the Twin Cities campus.

The mock Forum meeting introduced students to members of the MSA executive board, Forum parliamentary procedure and other aspects of student government participation.

Forum member Kevin Wendt described the Forum as the legislative arm of the undergraduate student government.

“This is the first time we’ve done (an informational meeting) so it was great to see that many people interested in advocating on behalf of students,” said MSA President Emily Serafy-Cox.

Attendees learned three ways students can become a Forum member.

The first, Wendt said, is to become an at-large representative. Though elections are in spring, six at-large positions – students who represent the entire Twin Cities undergraduate population – will open in upcoming weeks.

At MSA’s first official meeting Tuesday, Sept. 20, four at-large representatives will be voted into the Forum.

Wendt said anyone interested in filling those positions must receive a nomination from a voting Forum member to become eligible for the election.

At the Oct. 4 meeting, two more positions will be up for election.

If students are not elected directly to the Forum, they may try to join the Student Senate through their college.

The Student Senate is an organization that represents students for the entire University System before the administration on a wide range of issues.

On the Twin Cities campuses, almost every college has at least one opening for Student Senate, Wendt said.

The final way students can become Forum members is through student group representation.

Student groups with at least 50 members can petition the MSA for representation, and any undergraduate can be a member of an MSA committee, Wendt said.

Serafy-Cox said students who have some kind of time conflict with MSA meetings or aren’t elected can participate in government by serving on other boards or committees and working with the legislature.

For Serafy-Cox, communicating with students and getting them involved is a priority.

She said she wants to create transparency in MSA processes for both Forum members and the student body.

Also, Serafy-Cox said she wants to open up the process “in terms of getting more student voices in the University and the community.”

Biomedical engineering sophomore Jared Galligan said MSA and student communication are important.

“I’m adequately informed, but you only read about (MSA) in the Daily,” he said. “I’d like to see more of what they do – maybe an e-mail, newsletter or something.”