Lake Superior College students along with about 100-300 thousand (numbers change depending on enrollment and what data is used to calculate) other two-year Minnesota State students are members of a non-profit, student association called Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA). This association is the voice for students at the state level. They also advocate for each campus’ student governments (SG) who are the voice for students at the campus level. They have been given this voice by creating a reputation and by being written into legislation. Students are considered a member even if they do not attend or participate in MSCSA activities because they pay (through tuition) .35 cents per credit but they can receive many benefits from the association such as internships, scholarships, and being advocated for.
MSCSA consists of a student elected cabinet, President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Public Relations Coordinator, who are governed by the nine Governing Council members and Presidents’ Group chair. The Governing Council (GC) oversees the cabinet and MSCSA employees. Each year, elections are held at the General Assembly in the spring where about 300 students come together to elect the cabinet and GC members. There is a GC member for each region in Minnesota, which is split into Northwest, Northeast, North Central (includes LSC), West Central, Metro West, Metro North, Metro South, Southwest and Southeast regions. All meetings through MSCSA including General Assemblies, Presidents’ Group, and Regional meetings are governed by a set of rules called the Working Document, which is edited and ratified by students at the General Assembly (Again, about 300 students).
Not only does MSCSA advocate for students, but they help students, usually Student Senators, build leadership skills. They offer several conferences each school year. At the conferences, students network and learn about self-development, leadership skills, Robert’s Rules, etc. There are workshops, keynote speakers, and fun evening activities. Students also get to create friendships throughout the state.
Each campus’ student governments have the opportunity to grow with MSCSA. They teach them about teamwork and how to work with the school’s faculty, staff, and administration. It is a requirement for a Minnesota State school’s Administration to present the campus budget and fiscal information to their student government, and it is the job of the Student Body President to write a letter informing Minnesota State that administration informed, explained, and did the budget consultation with them. MSCSA helps the SG’s become knowledgeable about some of the jargon that is used in a meeting with administration, and it helps the Student Body President with the letter that must be sent to Minnesota State and the Chancellor.
Three great opportunities for students who are a member of the association (remember, that includes you, LSC students). They offer two $500 scholarships called the Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award scholarship and the 100% American Award scholarship, and are always working on more scholarship opportunities. In January, the winners are invited to the Scholarship Gala where they are recognized for their achievements. MSCSA also offers internships. They currently have positions as the Equity and Inclusion Campaign Intern and the Get Out the Vote Intern. Once a student has graduated from a two-year Minnesota State school, they have the opportunity to become an Alumni member, which is organized like the association but also focuses on fundraising. MSCSA is a great resume builder for students!
Each year, MSCSA has new items added to their agenda and list of initiatives. This year, they are focusing on GOTV, equity and inclusion, and transfer pathways. Their agendas are based on students’ needs. Every year MSCSA takes students to both the state and national capitols where students advocate and give their stories to legislatures for college affordability, Pell Grants, Trio, Open Ended Resources (OER’s), and many other items.
To be involved with MSCSA, it is usually best to be a part of your school’s Students Government. As a Student Senator and former Student Body President at LSC, and Governing Council Alternate with MSCSA, I have had a lot of involvement with MSCSA. I’ve gone to many of their conferences (LSC even hosted a conference last year at the school). I’ve also been able to travel to Washington, D.C. two times to advocate for students. I , along with my region, was given a tour of the Capital by Rick Nolan and in our free time got to site see. It can sound hard for some people to picture themselves in a position advocating for students to a congressman, but MSCSA gives us the tools and
training to do that.
If you are interested in these great opportunities, you should think about joining your campus’ student government.
Check them out at MSCSA.org. Don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of the page for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr to see what they are currently up to.