The BEST Board’s Back Story

In 2014, the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities conducted its ongoing student survey. The results of that assessment showed a segment of students did not feel the Student Union and Student Activities promoted leadership, learning and personal growth. Many of these students were not highly engaged on campus nor frequently used the Student Union.

On the other hand, those students highly engaged did view the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities as a place for leadership, learning, and growth. To address this disconnect with lesser engaged students, the Student Union and Activities initiated a program spotlighting exemplary leadership for other students to emulate. What evolved was the BEST Board. BEST is an acronym for Boasting Exceptional Student Talent.

BEST Board Goals

  • Communicate what the Centennial Student Union and Student Activities does for students and their leadership development.
  • Highlight how the CSU and the overall student life experience creates involvement and leadership opportunities that help students learn and grow.
  • Spotlight students who have made the most of leadership and involvement opportunities.

BEST Board Selection

Each semester since Spring 2015, the display features eight students selected for leadership and CSU student staff excellence. Students selected come from diverse backgrounds and academic interests. The common denominator is leadership and involvement that advances the campus community experience.

The CSU’s BEST Board program solicits nominations for outstanding student leaders from CSU staff and student advisors. Students nominated each semester must be currently enrolled at Minnesota State Mankato and and can either be undergraduate or graduate students. Selected students complete an involvement questionnaire and craft a quotation that expresses their leadership through involvement. Theses quotations and their photo – along with their hometown, major and campus achievements - are featured on a highly-visible, 56-foot-by-36-foot Best Board graphic in the Hearth Lounge of the Centennial Student Union.

BEST Board Reaction

The reaction to the BEST Board has been swift and substantial. Students featured on the board have become the most recognizable faces on campus. One BEST Board honoree, Sarah Galaszewski, stated, “As the President of the programming board, I never thought people would know who I am. Now I get that look everywhere. I know what they are going to say so I preempt them. ‘Yup, I am that person on the wall in the CSU.’” Selfies with their picture on the wall are common and have gone viral on social media.

The 2016 EBI results indicate a 19 percent increase in the intended area from 2014: The Student Union and Activities promote student leadership, learning, and growth.