MSA hopefuls say they’re perfect mates

Emily Babcock

Moments after a mutual friend introduced her to Kevin Nicholson, Brook Anderson knew they had a spark that could make a difference as leaders of the Minnesota Student Association.
Nicholson, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore who is campaigning for president with fellow CLA sophomore Anderson, said he felt the spark, too. Nicholson said he never would have run without meeting the perfect running mate.
“You want to lead where you can make the most difference,” Nicholson said. “That is the bottom line. There is a desire to get out and do things.”
The pair wants to use their leadership skill to ensure that student’s voices are connected to issues such as transportation, student unions and computer services.
Nicholson has served as chairman for both the University Student Senate’s consultative committee and the Student Services Fees Committee. He is also active with metro area college Democrats and the University-DFL chapter.
Nicholson describes his leadership experience as having “been through the fire,” where he has learned to understand criticism and working with people on a professional level.
The experience in leadership roles is what separates the Nicholson and Anderson ticket from all other candidates, Nicholson said.
Anderson said most of her political experience comes from growing up as the youngest of 10 siblings. She had to learn the values of compromise and communication. As a member of Alpha Phi sorority, Anderson has served as director of campus activities and as recruitment chairwoman. She is currently the vice president of marketing for the Panhellenic Council and a health advocate for Boynton Health Service.
Nicholson said he was exposed to political discussions at a young age by his family, and that this piqued his interest.
“I started spending Saturday afternoons with my grandfather when I was about 5 years old,” he said. “Before we could go out and play baseball, we would sit down and watch ‘Meet the Press.’
“The best form of public relations is action,” Nicholson said. “Once they see results, they’ll be twice as interested.”
The twosome would like to organize public forums for public officials on campus where students would have the opportunity to talk with officials such as legislators or the mayor. Issues that concern students, such as neighborhood safety, cannot be solved at the University level, Nicholson said.
“I can’t claim to know every student’s issues,” Nicholson said. “But I can provide a forum for which they can express their issues.”
Working to increase bus service between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses as well as across the 10th Avenue Bridge is an issue Anderson said the duo would work on next year with the student association.
There is a general lack of understanding around campus about what MSA is and what it can do for the average student, Anderson said. The best way to resolve this is to simply go out and talk with students, she said.
“The problem now is that it is students working for students instead of students working with students,” Anderson said.
Students should also be more engaged in the planning of projects like the renovation of Coffman Union and creating reciprocity between Boynton Health Service and campus health services across the state, Nicholson said.
He added that he would like to see the formation of a judicial branch to the organization to alleviate some of the infighting by settling disputes outside the forum, and to help make MSA meetings more productive.
“It’s only as good as its voice,” Nicholson said. “And the voice is only as good as the leaders.”