February 2009 MSSA NewsletterPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/newsletter/2009-1/
Elections are just around the corner and the MSSA invites all students to join the race. Deadline for senator applications are March 31st and elections will be on held on April 7th (voting is open online from 8am to 6pm).
Please take a few minutes to complete the spring MSSA survey. These questions, dealing with tuition and fees, will provide valuable feedback to the Student Senate as we advocate on your behalf during these difficult times. The feedback you provide will be heard by top MSU administrators. Thank you for your help.
Click on the link below to complete the survey:
After surviving its test run last semester, the Mav Textbook Reserve has received an extra $2,000 to increase the number of textbooks available this semester. MSSA created the program in response to students' gripes of paying for expensive textbooks. The Bookstore Advisory Committee, faculty and the on-campus Barnes and Noble Bookstore also helped put the program into place. When 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. Sixteen courses, which are mostly general education courses, now have books available for rental through this program.
Complete List of Available Books
Minnesota State University (MSU) students have expressed problems in their abilities to pay for rising tuition costs. With the special help of Robert Dooley, MSSA held an open forum this month to discuss the issue. MSSA specifically wanted senators to know more about students' concerns so they could in turn help work to lower tuition costs. The presidents of MSU and Southwest Minnesota State University were present at the rally. Each discussed their recognition of amplified tuition costs and assured students efforts were being made to help.
MSSA is fighting to broaden the health insurance plans and payment options for domestic and international MSU students. Currently, international students have to purchase a plan with no options of what it consists of. More expensive insurance, which include some variations, are available to domestic students. To help ensure that all students are receiving insurance appropriate to their needs, MSSA decided to take action. Two representatives joined The MNSCU Health Committee, which meets once a year to choose the health insurance that will be available. These individuals fought and new plans resulted. Now, additional items have been added to the plans so students will receive more value for the same price. Next, representatives are fighting to split plans into two semesters. So far the insurance company has approved the notion but the school has yet to give in.
A university- wide Environmental Workgroup was put into place by MSSA this semester. The group is exploring the possibilities and taking the necessary steps to ensure our university is doing its part to stay environmentally responsible. Members are currently drafting a letter to that will be sent to all departments to let students and faculty know steps they can take to save energy. Another goal is getting the MSU president to sign the presidents climate commitment. This pledge would show the commitment of establishing environmentally friendly practices throughout campus. The group recognizes the limited funds available to the university to help implement energy management plans. Therefore, it is also researching external sources of money and grants that will help translate the plans into action.
For more information about the Environmental Workgroup
The determination of MSSA Executive Leadership and key senators has resulted in the MSU bus service being extended until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday on scheduled days of classes for the first time in decades. This new service applies to the Student Senate's Campus Express Route #1 bus, which is the 22 minute run that goes through campus to nearby apartment complexes. The partnership between the student senate and the Parking Advisory Committee, along with some creative financing, made this service possible. Data will be collected over spring semester to determine if the program will be repeated next year.
MSSA made a motion reaffirming its opposition to the new alcohol policy, in which students receive on-campus disciplinary action for off-campus violations. However, its members do believe acts that take place on-campus or at school events off-campus, felonies and repeated offenses are liable to punishment. Included in the motion were possible steps the university could take to help eliminate underage drinking. One option discussed was talking about the consequences of high risk and illegal drinking with students at Orientation and Welcome week. Many students develop drinking habits early in their college years, so taking a proactive approach to reach them may help eliminate the problem. Another possible step is putting a good Samaritan policy into place. This would encourage students to seek help in emergency situations occurring while underage drinking is taking place.
Minnesota State University had its chance to host the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) conference this month. Student leaders from every campus in the MnSCU 4 year system joined our student association for this event. These campus representatives get together to discuss concerns, sharpen campus advocacy skills and learn from one another. The main topics covered were voting issues, the legislative platform and video gambling. Participants also received training from grassroots organizers on how to reach out to students on campus more effectively. Around 82 students and eight staff members from around Minnesota attended the conference.