April 6, 2006

Running for MSA

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (and I know there are a few of you) have doubtlessly noticed that I haven't posted in almost a month. It's been a busy month, and during that time, I've had some thoughts about the future of this site. I'll share them with you at a later date. I also promise that the Coloring Contest will get judged, and you will all get your well-deserved APS points-- don't worry.

Anyway, as the title of this post suggests, I am running for MSA as an At-Large candidate for Forum. I meant to post about this weeks ago, when I actually filed, but obviously that didn't happen. I completed the following candidate survey for the Daily, explaining why I'm running and some of my concerns. It should be posted on the Daily website sometime soon, but I figured I would share it here, as well.

Please, read through my statement, comment, let me know what you think, but above all, VOTE next Tuesday. I would appreciate your support.

Please provide any background you feel pertinent to your campaign:

I am a second-year student here at the U, hoping to double-major in English and Russian. In my two years here at the University, I have tried my best to get involved in the community, participating in groups such as Habitat for Humanity; Students Today, Leaders Forever; and U-DFL (College Democrats.) I am proud to be U-DFL-endorsed.

I have been interested and involved in local and campus politics throughout my time here, and this year I decided to run for office myself.

What should the student government’s role be at the University of Minnesota?

First and foremost, I believe that MSA needs to be a more effective, responsive, and visible voice for students. Talking to other students while campaigning, I’ve realized that few people have heard of MSA, and even fewer have any idea of what it does. That is a problem.

MSA needs to act on, not just discuss, the issues that matter to students—-otherwise, what’s the point of the organization? MSA can act constructively by:

*Communicating with and reaching out to students more effectively (see below.)

*Focusing on action rather than voting on ineffective position statements.

*More successfully communicating with the University administration to find solutions, and holding them accountable to the wishes of the students.

*Working with the diverse communities that surround campus, as well as state and local governments, to realize our goals.

For which issues should student government advocate?

Obviously, the first duty of student government is to react to the concerns of students and attempt to address those issues. But there are a few issues I am particularly concerned with:

*Finding a way to curb the huge increases in tuition, fees, and textbook costs that have become yearly occurrences.

*Combating widespread student disengagement from local and campus politics.

*Working out a feasible, responsible plan for an on-campus stadium, one that does not place an unnecessary burden on students and addresses community concerns.

How would you reach out to the student body?

Communication between the student government and the student body is important if MSA is to be an effective voice for students. A key factor in the effectiveness of MSA is the degree to which it is able to mobilize the student body to action on the issues that matter to students. We need to improve campus communications by working with all available media (campus publications like the Minnesota Daily; electronic options like e-mail and websites; and face-to-face interaction-- perhaps a regular “meet and greet? with student government) to spread information about what’s happening in MSA to the campus community. If students are more engaged in the political process, I believe MSA will be better able to accomplish its goals.

Should you be elected, what could students expect to see from you in your time on Forum?

If elected, I would be a dedicated, responsible, hard-working representative for students. I would be responsive to student concerns and well-informed about every decision that comes before MSA. Above all, I would push for action rather than debate. By the end of my time on MSA, I want to be able to honestly tell students that we’ve made real progress on the issues that matter.

Thanks for reading. Please also consider voting for Max and Monica.

Posted by smit2174 at April 6, 2006 12:58 AM