MSLC chairman expresses appreciation

Christopher Tastad — University student — Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition chairman

This has been a landmark year for student engagement. University of Minnesota students are now organized in a fashion that highlights our resolve and carries a mission that marks the importance of the student voice in the legislative process.

There have been several steps where many distinct interests have made an investment to move together in this concerted effort. With those contributions by students, administrators and staff, we have built a name behind the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition that now carries a new level of recognition in bringing important issues forward and achieving tangible results.

With what I feel we have accomplished this year, I wanted to take the time to offer gratitude to a few individuals that have given our efforts substance and provided the MSLC a means of growth at the capitol.

These people are Reps. Tom Rukavina, Phyllis Kahn, King Banaian, Terry Morrow, Joe Atkins, Thomas Huntley and John Lesch along with Sens. Sandra Pappas, Mary Jo McGuire and Katie Sieben.

This group of legislators has, in some way or another, taken objective action to support students that is worthy of praise. The unfortunate reality that I have observed while working in this capacity is that while all elected leaders will declare themselves a champion for the student constituency, very few will answer the call when given a tangible ask.

Those are not these individuals. This set of decision makers have welcomed us into their office, provided mentorship and guidance, led us through the legislative process and even gone to the extent of carrying student issues with their name. In this sense, they have truly been advocates for students. For those things I am grateful, and the student body should recognize these commitments, regardless of political affiliation.

Regardless of the success seen in the outcome of policy decisions, these are relationships that provide true value to the efforts of the MSLC and the University.

The promise of building these connections extends beyond one loss in committee or one poor capital request to establish a real, long-term bond that can guarantee an investment in students and higher education. It is my hope then as I close my term as chairman that the future work of the MSLC will see growth in relationships with legislators like these.

So once again, let me express my appreciation to not only the people listed above but to the many individuals that made significant contributions which define what the MSLC has become.

There is much work to be done in the current state of higher education as new issues rise and old issues reach an unfamiliar intensity. It is the lending hand of these many parties that have built this coalition and will continue to build a front to benefit students for years to come. Thank you.