By Steve Sabin
2012-13 MSCSA President
My what a journey this has been with MSCSA and student leadership. I still remember the first day I set foot in a student senate meeting at Central Lakes College like it was just yesterday. I had heard about student senate, but knew absolutely nothing of the role they played in setting tuition, fees, and other major decisions made at the college. After a few short months in Student Senate I attended my first MSCSA conference at the 2010 Spring General Assembly. It was at this conference that I saw even more involvement students have on a state level to impact higher education.
Throughout my tenure in MSCSA I have served many roles including North Central Region Platform Committee Representative, Presidents Group Chair, and even MSCSA President. In each of these roles I was honored to serve students in many different ways. However, the part of those experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life is the success of all the collective efforts of the students in the association in furthering our message each year. Throughout my time in MSCSA, students have successfully advocated for a tuition cap, saved the Pell Grant from cuts, and even kept Stafford Student Loan interest rates from doubling.
All of these successes have set up the students this past year to accomplish some major victories for students. As I stood at the podium last year as president-elect, I knew that this year had potential for student leaders to take this association to new heights with our advocacy and development work. We started off the year in the middle of the “Speak Up!” Get out the Vote campaign. Students from all around the state rallied together and more students were registered to vote than ever before in MSCSA.
Right after that, our efforts focused on the legislature and our advocacy work. Being the spokesperson for the association and our legislative agenda at the capitol has been quite the experience in many ways. First, it has been an honor to take our students’ message to legislators about part-time students and various initiatives in the MnSCU request. However, I think all of the students that have helped make this a team effort have been the best experience. Sitting in a committee hearing as a budget bill is being drafted and hearing virtually all the members committed to including one of our proposals was a very proud moment for myself and so many others that helped.
I have definitely spent the last few weeks reflecting on this past year and my time in the association and there are a few last things I want to leave everyone with. I first couldn’t close without saying thank you to a few individuals. To all the past presidents, you have been some of my best friends and mentors in MSCSA and I thank you for the unwavering support you provided me and the association this past year and more.
I would also like to thank Justin Klander and the rest of the MSCSA Staff. Justin, you have been a huge inspiration and mentor to countless students, including myself. Your dedication to the MSCSA mission and helping students drive change in higher education has impacted so many lives that we owe you a great deal of thanks. To the MSCSA staff, you all spend countless hours behind the scenes doing so much work to move this association forward. So many times this work goes unseen and unrecognized by our students. I want you all to know that you are rock stars and all of our students appreciate your work.
Of course I have to recognize a great team of leaders, my fellow cabinet members. I want to thank the cabinet that I have had the honor of working with this year. We all entered this year focused on two main goals. First, we all entered our terms with fresh ideas and initiatives to work on for this year. Second, we all were determined to work unified, as one team. I will be the first to say that we definitely have accomplished both of those goals. You all have done great work this year and I know that you will all go on in your careers to do fantastic things. Lastly, I want to thank all the student leaders that I have been able to serve alongside these last three years. You all have brought a passion to the association that has ensured public college students around Minnesota have had one powerful voice advocating for an affordable and accessible higher education.
I will always remember the friends, experiences, and growth I have enjoyed these past three years in the association. Moving forward, I won’t hesitate to say that I will stay engaged as an alumni with the MSCSA family and look forward to seeing all the great work the future MSCSA leaders of tomorrow have in store. Thank you MSCSA!