October 2008 MSSA NewsletterPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/newsletter/2008-1/
MSSA is an organization that every student should be familiar with, however many don’t know what it is or everything it does to help them. MSSA stands for the Minnesota State Student Association and is also known as student government or senate. It serves as the voice of Minnesota State University, Mankato students, expressing their questions and concerns to both school administrators and legislatures at the local, state and federal levels. Senate meetings are held on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. in CSU 284. Anyone is welcome to attend.
Below is the link to the Fall MSSA Survey. Please help the Student Senate and participate by completing these questions regarding Academic and Student Life. The feedback will be used to help guide the organization on a variety of issues and will then be brought to top MSU administrators. Thank you for your help.
A new plan has been started to help cut Minnesota State University (MSU) students’ gripes of paying for expensive textbooks. The Maverick Textbook Reserve Program was put into action May 1 by MSSA, with help from the faculty, the Bookstore Advisory Committee and the on-campus Barnes and Noble Bookstore. When the plan was initiated MSSA requested a grant from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), which provided $5,000 to purchase select textbooks for courses taught at MSU. These books are available to check out for two hours at a time from the Memorial Library Reserve Desk and must remain in the building at all times. Sixteen courses, which mostly are general education, now have books available for rental through this program. An assessment of this trial run will be completed in October, March and April to evaluate the possibilities of further use of the program. For a complete list of the books available for rental, visit http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/mavtextbook.html.
MSSA will have a full plate in upcoming months while trying to deal with the issues of the College of Business (COB) laptop fee, student-parent concerns and disability accessibility. COB Senators Ryan Johnson and Brian Leonhardi both oppose the COB laptop policy, which requires COB majors and minors to purchase a Dell laptop from the Campus Computer Store and pay $125 per semester in fees. MSSA’s Academic Affairs Committee will review this policy and come up with a proposal for change.
Also on the agenda is an issue that was brought up last semester regarding MSU’s nontraditional students and their parents. There are concerns that these parent’s are not being given all the services that the University has advertised. The MSSA Student Affairs Committee plans to take a deeper look into why this is occurring and what can be done to help these students and parents get what they need. The committee will compare what services other area Universities are providing in order to help generate ideas of what programs can be offered within the limited budget. The nontraditional student office is located within Student Activities, so if anything is to be implemented it will go through them.
Within the last few years the accessibility of disabled students on campus at MSU hasn’t been looked into and MSSA plans to do just that. The matter will be discussed with Director of Disability Services Julie Snow and any students with disabilities willing to give their input. The student government wants to know if anyone has had any issues or concerns with getting to and from class, if professors have been accommodating and how many and what obstacles they have had to go through to receive what they need. The idea is to make sure that all students are able to access classrooms and activities on campus as easily as possible. The status will be reported at a November senate meeting.
MSSA members have taken a unanimous stand opposing MSU’s new school alcohol procedure. This summer, Student Affairs started planning a procedural change in the way it handles students who receive drinking violations. Under this new system, the University would work with the Mankato City Police Department, who would provide a list of any MSU students who violated drinking laws over Welcome Week and MSU homecoming. In addition to their punishment under the law, students would receive additional sanctions from the school such as completing an educational alcohol workshop on campus. MSSA believes that the University is overstepping its boundaries on the issue, but regretfully, the school has decided to go through with the procedure. The number of students who received tickets this year as opposed to previous years will be counted to analyze the new policy’s success.
The student senate wants to make sure MSU is doing everything in its power to help protect the environment in these changing times. In order to make this happen, the creation of an environmental committee has been proposed. This committee would generate innovative ways to make this campus more environmentally friendly. The idea is pending University approval.
There are a number of committees students can participate in to get more involved on campus. Being active in these groups can get students to help make decisions concerning the issues of the MSU community.
The Minnesota State University Student Association was established in 1967 as an independent, non-profit organization funded and operated by students. It represents students attending the seven Minnesota state universities, which includes Bemidji, Mankato, Metropolitan (St. Paul/Minneapolis), Moorhead, St. Cloud, Southwest (Marshall) and Winona.
The mission of MSUSA is to educate and inform the approximate 70,000 students in which it represents about higher education issues that affect their lives, while providing opportunities for them to use this knowledge to advocate on behalf of all Minnesota State University students.
MSUSA has served as a strong voice for state university students on the campus, system, state and federal levels for nearly 40 years. We are recognized by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees as the sole representative of state university students in Minnesota, and work on a variety of issues at several levels.
A poster campaign has been launched promoting awareness of MSSA. The posters, which inform students about helpful tips they ought to know, can be seen throughout the MSU campus.