Campus government will reach out with St. Paul offices

Jens Krogstad

University student government leaders hope that opening new offices on the St. Paul campus next semester will help their organizations be more inclusive.

For the first time, the Twin Cities Student Unions are offering office space in the St. Paul Student Center to student groups.

The union has already cleared the Minnesota Student Association’s lease application. The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, which applied later, is waiting for approval.

Each group would pay about $464 to rent the office space for one year. But members of both groups said it is important to reach out to students on the St. Paul campus because they are part of the University.

“Graduate and professional students pay their Student Services Fees, and they deserve to have comparable services,” GAPSA executive director Megan Thomas said.

MSA Forum members pointed to complaints about the late-night bus not circulating in the St. Paul campus as proof that MSA needs to work to include the campus.

Thomas said if GAPSA is approved for the St. Paul space, the group would use it as a gathering point for graduate students to socialize, have lunch and hold meetings. Its space in Coffman Union is already used similarly; graduate students can be found there eating lunch every day.

The new office spaces will be located across from the bookstore in the St. Paul Student Center, space the Center for Outdoor Adventure used to occupy. The offices became available because the program office moved after the center merged with the recreational sports department.

“We’re really excited because this is the first time we’ll have had space for student organizations in St. Paul,” TCSU director Maggie Towle said.

Between eight and 16 student groups will be approved for leases, depending on whether groups share office space, Towle said. Applications are still being accepted for the spaces.

TCSU said renting a space for one year will cost non-student-fees-receiving groups about $210, while fees-receiving groups will pay about $464. If two groups share offices, the cost will be halved.

Towle said fees-receiving groups pay more because they can pay the amount more easily.

Most students interviewed said student government presence in St. Paul is a good idea.

Lars Loberg, a natural resources and environmental studies junior, said though the office addition would not affect him, it seemed like a positive decision.

Others were more enthusiastic.

“It’s a good idea,” first-year student Da Dank said. “St. Paul students should have everything Minneapolis student have.”