MSA needs student input

When a Minnesota Daily reporter came into the Minnesota Student Association office to speak with me about why I was running for student body vice president, I felt that my answer, which was basically to build on past success and to make sure that the student voice gets heard, was a moderately good answer. Then the question came âÄî why do you think you and Paul Strain are the only candidates running? I stopped for a second. I had no idea. Well, maybe students would rather not endure the grueling election process and time commitment. Maybe students simply feel confident in the abilities of Paul and I to do an alright job. Later, a Minnesota Daily editorial came out that claimed that it is not because people are necessarily intimidated by the job, or even confident in Paul and I. Instead, student government lacks efficacy, so why, as it stands, waste the time participating in it? At first, I was miffed, the crybaby! Nonetheless, after I stepped out of my student government-loving shoes, I came to understand that the editorialist had a point. Perhaps if more students cared, MSA could actually hold some sway at the University. LetâÄôs be forthright, fellow students: Student government is not going to be able to single-handedly overhaul the University, to right each and every one of the perceived wrongs or to lay the end-all-be-all smack-down on campus injustice. We know that in a big way. However, with your input, we can at least make a dent. We have plenty of our own ideas, but we need yours. We need to hear your concerns, your most somber of gripes. Give us your petitions, e-mails and phone calls, and we can put your words directly into the ears of the administration. We need you to walk confidently into our office (235 Coffman Union) and ask how you can get involved. All undergraduates required to pay student fees gave MSA $2.75 this year, and that figure will be about the same for next year. It is not a large amount, and you are not exactly putting your life on the line for MSA, but each and every one of you is a stakeholder, and combined, weâÄôre talking about a serious figure. To put it bluntly, tell us what you would like to see us do with your money. We will continue grinding away at the state Legislature on your behalf, and MSA will more than fiercely curtail how much we fall in line with the administration. We will continue putting on and improving upon events and programs like Lend-a-Hand, Hear-the-Band, the Student Concern Forum, Support the U Day, the Tax Program and the RenterâÄôs Guide. However, we need to know that we are doing the right thing by our peers. Tell us. Drop us a line âÄî before we draft up next yearâÄôs budget. Alicia Smith MSA vice president