Students Encouraged To Vote In April 10 Election
by BRETT MARSHALL, CSU Public Relations Intern
The Minnesota State Student Association is more than just a student government – it’s students helping shape Minnesota State Mankato’s future.
Joshua Atencio, MSSA election commission chairperson, says the organization passes and reviews policies that are “changing and evolving” the University in many ways. From small things like increasing the number of printers available on campus to big projects like working with the City of Mankato to get street lights installed on Stadium Road passed Kwik Trip, MSSA enhances students’ college experience.
Because of that far-reaching impact, Atencio says students should make sure they vote during the April 10 MSSA elections.
“The importance of voting is to have your voice be heard. As in any election, there is no change unless you express it through voting,” he said.
In addition to selecting a new president, vice president and senators, this year’s ballot is set to include some significant policy changes, including a budget referendum.
‘The importance of voting is to have your voice be heard. As in any election, there is no change unless you express it through voting.’
– Joshua Atencio
In 2017, the Minnesota Legislature passed Minn. Stat. § 135A.0434 Mandatory Student Activity Fees Referendum, which says if a student activity fee budget increases by more than 2 percent from the previous academic year, the increase must be approved by a majority vote of students who vote in a campus referendum. The previous percentage was 3 percent.
According to Wallace Pope, off-campus senator for MSSA, this year’s budget has an increase of 2.96 percent, which means there has to be a referendum.
Pope said after much deliberation, MSSA was able to cut back the percentage significantly, particularly in the green line bus route.
“The federal government reimburses the school buses, so based on the reimbursement last year and the one we’re gonna get this year, and also based on the money they’ve saved over these years, we were able to lower that by about $30,000,” he said. “This went a long way in giving other groups money as well.”
Pope said one budget line discussed was The Reporter.
“We had a very good talk with them,” he said. “The big reason we ended up not cutting them as substantially as some wanted is because of student jobs.”
Pope said it was important that MSSA helps students and retaining student jobs made keeping The Reporter’s funding an easier decision. Other cutback considerations included eight gold parking passes for Reporter student staff which MSSA members felt wasn’t a necessity to the paper’s operation.
Aside from those major discussions, Pope said this was one of the “smoothest meetings for the budget” MSSA has had in the last 6 years.
Pope and Antencio both stressed the importance of students not only voting during the MSSA elections, but also getting involved — whether through running as a part of one the election’s parties or becoming a part of committee.
Atencio said MSSA gives students ample chance at networking not only with one another, but also with department heads and provides opportunity to make real change. Pope said it’s really exciting and a great experience.
“It gives you a lot of leadership opportunities, gives you the opportunity to branch out and do things you never thought you could,” he said.
MSSA is the student government of MSU and they represent the interests of the student body at university, community, state and federal levels. It’s made up of a President, Vice President, a Senate Speaker and 30 senators. They are also responsible for organizing several committees that all work on different areas of the university such as Student Allocations, Campus Recreation, Diversity and Athletics.
MSSA Elections take place Tuesday, April 10 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and students can cast their votes by visiting mnsu.edu/voting/. A valid STAR ID and password is required to vote. Questions about MSSA or the election can be directed to Joshua Atencio at firstname.lastname@example.org.