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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/MSUSA_debates_gambling_proposal.html

MSUSA debates gambling proposal

Conference also featured workshops, budget talk

by Dannielle Higginbotham

Issue date: 02/10/09 Section: Senate News and Notes
Last weekend's Minnesota State University Student Association conference proved to be one of the most productive of the year, according to Minnesota State Student Association President Ryan Anderson.

"Everything went smoothly," Anderson said. "There were plenty of good speakers and workshops."

The conference, held at Minnesota State, kicked off with training from Wellstone Action, a non-partisan group that encourages grassroots action.

The day included workshops regarding textbook rental programs, such as MSU's Mav Textbook Reserve Project, as well as workshops on how to effectively meet with administration and run election campaigns on campus.

MSUSA debated a bill that would legalize gambling machines in bars with the profits going to support higher education.

"This idea was met with a lot of moral opposition," Anderson said, citing issues with Indian gaming laws and overall ethics regarding gambling as concerns.

State Chair Christopher Frederick called the bill interesting, however.

"It looks at thinking outside the box to provide funds to higher education," Frederick said. "However, with the bill as written, there are some underlying concerns that have to be addressed."

No stance was taken on the bill.

MSUSA also heard a legislative proposal from the president of the student government from the University of Minnesota.

"The proposal was that if a student attended university in Minnesota and then remained in the state to work after graduation, the state would pay off their remaining FAFSA balance," Anderson said.

The idea behind the proposal is to retain educated workers in the state.

Anderson said other universities are facing the same budget problems as MSU.

"All the directors from all the universities began their presentations with, 'times are hard because of the budget," Anderson said.

MSUSA decided its federal legislative platform, which included changing the procedure for students filing independently on the FAFSA. The association hopes to make it so students' personal income situation would be taken into account more than their parents' finances.

Frederick said he looks forward to traveling to Washington D.C. to represent the platform.

"Changes are needed," Frederick said. "There are some important issues that definitely need to be advocated for."

The student governments from all the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities agreed to endorse a policy encouraging the MnSCU system to look into becoming more environmentally friendly.

The association also began taking nominations for the position of chair, vice chair and treasurer. Current treasurer and MSU graduate student Harshdeep Bhasin will seek the chair position and MSSA Vice President Murtaza Rajabali will seek the position of treasurer.

Anderson said conferences are good for MSSA because they act as a place to share ideas and practices.

"There's always a lot of side conversation on elections, student daycare and fee allocations," he said.

Frederick said his favorite part of the conference was the officer nominations.

"I also like being able to provide campuses with the tools necessary to run," Frederick said.

The next MSUSA conference will be at the end of March.

"I'm very excited for the next conference," Anderson said. "The elections are always very exciting and by then we should have a better idea of the budget."

Dannie Higginbotham is a Reporter staff writer