MSA discusses goals for the year at first meeting

MSA’s first forum on Tuesday welcomed students to learn about future plans.

Brianna Hanson, a ranking representative of the student senate, addresses At-Large Rep candidates at the first Minnesota Student Association forum of the semester on Sept. 12 in Frasier Hall on East Bank.

Carter Blochwitz

Brianna Hanson, a ranking representative of the student senate, addresses At-Large Rep candidates at the first Minnesota Student Association forum of the semester on Sept. 12 in Frasier Hall on East Bank.

Max Chao

The Minnesota Student Association held their first meeting Tuesday, which covered campus issues and plans to resolve them.

Affordable housing, quality food options and student body support were a few of the topics brought up during the forum, which was open to all University of Minnesota students. 

Around 150 student senators, representatives and students congregated for the meeting, where beginning-of-the-year items were announced.

“It was a good turnout for the first [forum]. … I’m excited to see our new at-larges, senators and voting members work for the rest of the year,” said Max Hurst, MSA’s director of government and legislative affairs.

MSA members spoke with Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis last month about legislative action to support affordable housing, and legislation is currently being drafted, Hurst said.

This is part of a larger MSA goal of expanding high-density, affordable housing around campus. MSA has already been active in advocating for affordable housing through lobbying plans for an apartment building on 300 University Ave., according to previous Minnesota Daily coverage. 

A new committee on the future of University Dining Services had their first meeting on Thursday. They hope to be involved in the selection of a new food supplier for the University. Current supplier Aramark’s contract expires at the end of the year, said James Farnsworth, MSA’s campus life committee director.

MSA Student Body President Trish Palermo spoke about MSA’s role on campus as potential repeals of DACA and Title IX are being discussed in the federal government. 

“It’s very important that we’re vocal in being supportive of the campus community,” Palermo said. 

Summer accomplishments were also discussed, such as the addition of kosher and halal options in campus dining halls, lowering nightly parking expenses and partnering with Boynton, UMPD and other campus groups to develop a student safety plan, she said.

At the meeting, three new at-large representatives were elected.

“The forum felt highly professional, yet welcoming to a freshman who had just landed here from halfway across the world,” said Alexander Djanin , a newly elected freshman from Malaysia. “I’m grateful that I’ve been granted this chance to represent the student body here at the U.”