Q & A with MSA President Lizzy Shay

by Jenna Wilcox

While the Minnesota Student Association âÄî the undergraduate student government organization âÄî has been active over the summer, the first public forum Sept. 20 means new President Lizzy Shay must present her initiatives for the academic year. Shay sat down with the Minnesota Daily to introduce some of her plans for the first forum of the semester.

Since it is more than a week away, there is still time for MSA committees and representatives to bring other initiatives forth. Forum meetings are typically held Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. in the Mississippi Room at Coffman Union.

What are some of your goals for this year?

One big goal of mine is to have one hundred percent budget efficiency âĦ I want us to really deploy the capital that weâÄôve been awarded by the Student Service Fees Committee.

I think itâÄôs really important to move past the idea that saving money is responsible, because really, responsibly spending money is what youâÄôre charged to do when youâÄôre given money by the SSFCâĦ YouâÄôre awarded an amount of money with the expectation that youâÄôll provide that amount as a value to the campus.

Also, within MSA, I would like to create a workplace where people are really excited about what they are doing, that they have a lot of Gopher pride and that they enjoy coming to the student government to get things done.

For the organization as a whole, I hope that we can do a better job this year connecting with students. I think thatâÄôs been one of our weakest points in the past. People donâÄôt know that MSA means student government. I think itâÄôs important that we take the time to really communicate that to people.

What are your plans for the budget this year?

IâÄôve basically broken it down between operational expenses and programming expenses. It was really important to me that operational expenses were way lower than programming expenses. For this year our operational expenses are one third of our total budget and then programming is two thirds of our budget. Operational breaks down to supplies used to put on events, salaries, room rental, insurance âĦ. Our programming expenses are what IâÄôm really excited about.

Examples of upcoming MSA programs include a new service project, âÄúHearts and HammersâÄù, promoting a GPS bus tracking program and lobbying with the recently formed Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition.

We also have grants programming and that includes event grants, and operational budget grants which totals to around $55,000. [That means] a little more than a quarter of our total budget goes towards grants for other student groups.

What is the number one priority for MSA this year?

My number one priority is making sure students know and administrators know that the Minnesota Student Association is the bridge between the students and the administration. If any group of students is out there, please come talk to us. We want to help you and donâÄôt have an agenda âĦ If the students can convince the forum what should be done then I will support that choice 100 percent, my own personal view aside. ItâÄôs not about what I think; itâÄôs about what the students think.

What can we expect at the forum meeting Sept. 20?

We have three undergraduate Student Senate Consultative Committee representatives that will be elected. We also will be electing our representative to the [Student Unions and Activities] Board of Governors, two fees selectors, as well as a new at-large representative to the executive board. Also, we will be approving our budget.