MSCSA’s Metro North region got involved by volunteering at Feed My Starving Children. By Phoua Kong
St. Paul College Student Senate President
“The more you know, the better you are and when you get involved, it opens up avenues you wouldn’t have known and you meet people that can help you,” says Clint Wilson, a student in the Electrician Program at Northwest Technical College – Bemidji.
Some students have a full schedule outside of school, which only leaves enough time to attend classes. However, other students are actively involved with extra-curricular activities or work-study from an hour to 10 hours or more per week. When you maximize your education, you are as involved as you can be without jeopardizing your education or financial responsibilities, and maintaining a balance with all your other commitments. Being able to display such capability demonstrates to employers and institutions that you care about your community and want to make the most of it, and can manage time.
Kyle Vanderflute, a political science major at Lake Superior College says that his participation on campus has “paid off quite a bit” detailing the benefits he’s gained from his involvement such as, “expanded leadership, friends, relationships with faculty and staff members and the opportunities to visit both the state Capitol and Washington, D.C. to speak with legislators.” Not only is Vanderflute the Student Senate President, but he is also MSCSA’s Steering Committee Chair, the North Central Region’s Platform Alternate, campus Ambassador, a part of the Mayor Circle Alliance Committee, and a member of the Lake Superior College’s AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program) Steering Committee. He’s also involved in financial literacy trainings and serves as a Student Life Committee member.
While Mr. Vanderflute is an active student, your level of participation depends on you. The point is to get involved, be informed and contribute to change.
“There are good programs to get involved with and it’s a break from school,” says Zachary Peterson, a Student Senator from MN West Community and Technical College-Granite Falls. “It’s a good way to meet people and network with good sources for job opportunities. And it looks good on a resume,” Peterson adds. This is a great way of saying that there are more reasons to being involved than leadership development.
Mike Lampson, Rochester Community and Technical College’s Student Senate Vice President, Phi Theta Kappa’s Vice President of Academics, and the student member of the Conduct Judicial Board states, “We are doing our best to implement change and improve experiences for students.” He encourages students to “stay up to date on matters and be as involved as possible.”
“Up until this point, I didn’t think my voice mattered,” shares Kerrie Maleski, a student senator at Anoka Technical College and also the Metro North Region’s Governing Council Alternate.
The learning that takes place outside of the classroom contributes to our success in life when we think in terms of the ability to work with differing group dynamics to achieve a goal, the leadership and interpersonal communication skills we acquire, which allows one to engage in discussions, critical thinking, and problem solving as a professional. The involvement in extra-curricular activities enhances our critical thinking and decision making skills. We are more active in our communities once we leave campus and go on to become responsible and participating citizens.
According to Benjamin Alexander from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, “I’ve learned more by getting involved beyond the classroom. I learned about people.” His advice: “Adapt and learn one thing from each person you meet. When you do, you become a more complete person.”
This semester, make it a goal to attend an activity, event, or student association meeting and learn about involvement opportunities. Check with your Student Life Office and meet your Student Senators to find out how you can contribute and develop skills to help you personally and professionally.