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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Record enrollment, new dorms among topics during first student senate meeting

by Brittney Hansen

Issue date: 8/30/07 Section: Senate Notes

It looks like it is going to be an exciting academic year here at Minnesota State, and that sentiment was echoed during the Minnesota State Student Association's first meeting Wednesday.

President Chris Frederick and Vice President Casey Carmody have been attending student orientations and meeting all summer in order to prepare for the new school year. Both said they were excited and eager to meet student needs to the best of their ability.

Presenter Dr. Patricia Swatfager-Haney, vice president for Student Affairs, said she was "very excited about the new leadership."

Swatfager said that this year MSU has a record number of incoming students, causing some students to be temporarily placed in expanded housing in the residence hall lounges. She hopes to have all of those students moved into permanent housing by the end of the semester. She added that in Gage's cafeteria there is a model for the new Julia A. Sears residence halls.

Laurie Woodward, director of the Centennial Student Union, also gave a presentation Wednesday and discussed some of the changes that have been made to the CSU:

• The student union will add new weekly Friday night programming and will have food available until 10 p.m. She hopes for more student involvement and more activities for students to do on campus.

•The Scheduling Office has also become a one-stop center for event planning, catering and reservation needs, making it more convenient for student organizations to plan events.

• CSU 238 has also been remodeled into the Nickerson Conference Room in honor of Dr. Jim Nickerson, a former MSU president. MSSA meetings will be held in this room from now on, and soon will have a new podium as well as a new table with smart boards for better voting.

A motion to require presentations on all Student Activity Fee-funded line items, including technology and facilities, giving a summary of their purpose, objectives, goals, programming plans and budget for the current fiscal year was also passed unanimously.

Presentations must also address where the funding is to be spent in order to better student life on and off campus and is to be given by the director of the line item or an appropriate designee. These presentations before the MSSA provide the opportunity for questions and answers to each line item. Frederick said that last year's presentations were very valuable and Carmody agreed that these presentations give everyone more information so that senate can be as informed as much as possible when making those budget decisions.

In his report, Frederick discussed a retreat held at Gustavus Adolphus College with MSU President Richard Davenport, where the influx of incoming students was addressed. Frederick said that enrollment management will be a main focus this year, making sure that staff and faculty are meeting the needs of the increasing number of students.

Frederick also mentioned the motion to make MSU a smoke-free campus, stating that many campuses across the nation are already smoke-free. He also said that one of his main objectives for the year was to bridge the communication gap between academic advisors and students, which was a concern voiced by students from last year's Got a Gripe? campaign.

The MSSA is also still looking for ten more senators to represent Crawford Complex, Gage A and Gage B complexes, College of Education, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Science, College of Engineering and Technology, Allied Health and Nursing, undeclared majors as well as two off-campus positions. Students are also urged to join a committee.

Committees include Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Student Allocations Committee (SAC), Ensuring Cultural Diversity, Elections Committee Student Union Board, Student Technology Roundtable , Legislative Affairs Committee, Constitution Commission, Ethics and Standards, Parking Advisory Board, Parking Appeals Board, Commission on the Status of Women, Budget Sub Meet and Confer., Planning Sub Meet and Confer.

Anyone interested can contact the MSSA office at 389-2611.

Brittney Hansen is a Reporter staff writer