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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Q & A With MSSA

Chris Frederick, president, and Casey Carmody, vice president, dish the dirt on student senate

by Bronson Pettitt

Issue date: 8/28/07 Section: News

MSU Reporter: What made you decide to run for these positions as president and vice president?

Chris Frederick: The opportunity to make a difference. It's a great feeling to get involved and meet so many new people. The knowledge you're working so hard to make students' lives that much better or that much more aware. Everything that we do affects students in some way.

Casey Carmody: For myself I served as a senator last year and I really enjoyed doing that kind of work. I just felt that I'd like to step up into a bigger role, and hopefully - rather than just work for arts and humanities students - work for all students across the board at MSU.

CF: I started as a CSET (College of Science, Engineering and Technology) senator. ..Being vice president last year we saw such a positive impact that running for president just kind of felt natural.

R: You kind of mentioned how you want to make lives better for students - what else do you hope to accomplish this year?

CF: We're going to work primarily on advising. We've seen a lot of disconnect between colleges and getting information to students about advising. This year we're looking at how we can bridge that gap between students and their college to help students get on the right course as far as their academics - so they know which classes to take, when to take them - so we can get students to graduate in four or five years.

CC: These are some of the things that last year MSSA did - Got a Gripe? Campaign, which allowed students - we had a bunch of different topics and allowed students to write what their thoughts were on these giant white boards … advising was really one of those things that, 'hey we want something to be done about this.'"

R: What's the biggest challenge of being a student senator - the hardest part of your job?

CF: Knowing and understanding the fact that you'll never always please everyone. We do our best to try to work on all issues, but I think the biggest challenge I always face is the fact that no matter how hard you try, you're not going to please every single person.

CC: or me one of our biggest challenges is making sure everyone knows what we're doing. I mean, we have limited resources obviously - in trying to get about 14,000 people to understand and realize what we're doing in student government…it's really difficult and we're going to have to invest a lot of time into that in making sure everyone knows what direction we're going in - making sure it's the right direction.

CF: We definitely try with our posters and our newsletters.

R: Are there any misconceptions about student senate?

CC: I kinda get the feeling some people think we're an over-glorified student council. We're not out here planning dances and setting up homecomings, things like that. We are actually doing a lot of work in representing students on a lot of very important issues. We make a lot of very important decisions.

CF: We don't just sit up in the office and spend students' money frivolously… we do work really hard for all students on-campus. We make sure their interests and views are represented.

CC: I quit my job so I could do this.

(Both laugh)

CF: I did too, I quit three weeks early. In the summer I was at my other job two days a week and I was up here three.

R: What kind of stuff did you do during the summer?

CF: Planning. Going to meetings. A lot of students don't realize that over the summer this university doesn't stop functioning. There are countless meetings to go to, lots of different search committees for new hires, things like that. A lot of meetings with the administration, to give them a student perspective over the summer when decisions are being made. Laying out the groundwork, building those relationships.

R: Who is the most influential person that inspires you or has had an impact?

CF: My dad. He raised three kids by himself the last 22 years. He never stopped, he never quit. He held a 60-hour-a-week-job and raised three children by himself with no support, except for family now and again.

CC: I would say on the flip side my mom. My mom's been through a lot of tough things in her life and she's really kept her head up a lot. That's nice to know that I can look to that and say, 'hey, that's a good example…' with my mom she's really kept a good sense of humor. I guess I'm pretty jovial and I get my sense of humor from my mom.

R: So… this doesn't have much to do with what we've been talking about; it's just sort of a way to end it. I've got two different things. What's your favorite Chuck Norris quote? Also, fast-forward 511 days. Bush's last day in the office. How are you feeling and who do you see as our next president?

(All laugh)

CC: Can we answer both?

R: Yeah, go ahead.

CC: It's not so much a Chuck Norris quote as a scene from a movie. In Lone Wolf McQuaid. He's playing just this hard-core Texas ranger guy beating up these drug dealers left and right and he's in this huge Bronco. He gets buried in it and he takes an alcoholic beverage, pours it all over himself, yells, he's like, "Arghhhh!" and then drives the Bronco out of the ground. (Both laugh) It's amazing. Yes, I do take Chuck Norris to the next level.

R: And the other question?

CF: I don't know. This country needs a change. A different direction. Who's gonna be in there? I don't know. That's a tough call right now. It could go either way. I think there's some really strong Democrats that have a good chance of getting it and I think the Dems will have a good year this year.

CC: My answer to that would be -

CF: - Obama -

CC: Well not even that. Just anybody but Bush.

(All laugh)

CC: This country's seen a lot and we're struggling right now.

CF: Oh, we're big time struggling right now. This country needs a different direction, opposite of Bush.

CC: Anybody but Bush at this point, really, is what it comes down to.

CF: He's got 511 days left? Jeez…

R: Is there anything else you guys want to add or talk about?

CF: be sure to check your email and be sure to check out our new MSSA Mavlife 101 campaign that's starting. We've got posters that are up in the CSU.

CC: Just get involved. It'd make our job easier.

CF: We spend a lot of time doing this and it'd be great to get students to shoot us an e-mail or get involved, voice a concern.

Bronson Pettitt is the Reporter Editor in Chief