Back to Basics

Student Body President Reauna Stiff and Vice President Kara Svercl go above and beyond what it means to be a leader and advocate for students at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “The ability to make a real difference on campus is something that I want to do as a person, a student, and as a social work major in preparing for my future career,” says Svercl.

Hardworking and determined leaders, Stiff and Svercl share a passion for student advocacy. Stiff fought social justice issues in high school and continues to do so as a senior here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In the future, Stiff wants to pursue a career as a civil rights attorney who represents society’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised. Svercl has been an advocate for students with food insecurities and was able to bring a program called Swipe Out Hunger, which provides donated dining hall meals to over 300 needy students. Svercl is a junior here at Minnesota State, Mankato working on her social work and child development degree in hopes to help as many people as she can.

Both Stiff and Svercl have been working tirelessly on a campaign called Back to Basics. As student government leaders, their mission is to ensure students have the basics such as food, water, clothing, and a safe place to live in order to succeed. They have identified three areas of focus this coming year.

The first project is creating an off-campus housing website that is student-centered and student-led. In addition to having a website with pictures, lists, of amenities, and other information to help make a rental decision. They hope to provide a rating system that allows students to rate the cleanliness, security, and responsiveness of off- campus housing rental properties.  

The second project Stiff and Svercl are working hard to finish is creating a student basic needs hub. Building off the momentum of the Maverick Food Pantry. Even though the Maverick Food Pantry has been a huge success in terms of feeding students, it is running out of space due to the max number of students who need food. Therefore, the idea behind this project is to expand it into a hub where students not only get food but also have access to case manager service.

“We know where there is food insecurity, there is strong correlations between lack of transportation, house insecurity, medical needs, or mental health needs,” Svercl stated. “Usually, food insecurity is a symptom to a much larger problem.”

Both Stiff and Svercl want to go into this idea with a holistic approach that will tackle every aspect of a student’s life in order to ensure their success on and off campus here at Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

The third and final project for this Back to Basics campaign is the Student Room and Board Support Fund. Which will establish scholarships for students with the highest need to cover a portion of the room and meal plan on campus. 

Stiff and Svercl’s passion for the students here at Minnesota State University, Mankato is impeccable. Their Back to Basics campaign offers real life ideas that have and will continue to impact many students lives in a very positive way.