Driving Change in Higher Education.

Student Leader Spotlight: Ambrosia Harkins-Governing Council Representative from St. Cloud Technical & Community College

In each issue of The Students’ View we will profile one of our fine student leaders. To find out more about how you can get involved in student government, attend a student senate meeting or reach out to one of the student leaders listed below in the MSCSA cabinet.

How Long Have You Been Involved with MSCSA?

Just a little over a year. It was a year in September. So, I’m pretty excited about that; I think I’ve seen a lot of growth this year.

What got you involved in Student Government in the first place? A lot of people usually have that moment when they’re like “Yes, this is for me.”

Yeah, I first got involved in high school and one of my best friends said, ‘I think I should run for president of class’ and I was like ‘No… I want to be president of our class!’ and we had a little competition thing between us, but I knew she would be better. So I gave her the presidency, I just wanted to get involved.

Then when I was done with high school, I thought it was fun, but I would never do it again… my very first day of college classes, I was super nervous and our senate president last year introduced himself, and I didn’t realize they had that in college. So, I approached him after class to ask how I could get involved… he gave me the application to join. 

I go in the next day and give this advisor this piece of paper…and he just seemed so strict at the time, asking if I would be dedicated and if I knew what we did. I didn’t, but I wanted to learn! He then said ‘Great! Show up at 7 AM, then!’ I thought I would hate him, but he just became an awesome advisor.

If you don’t mind me asking, this is the advisor who passed away this year?

Yes. It was tough for us, but I think we’re doing really well this year. We have everything in order… we’ve had to step up a little bit, but I think we’re doing good.

Tell me about your first conference experience.

At that first senate meeting they asked me what I was doing this weekend. I didn’t really have anything and they said “Good! You can go to this conference!” Nobody was from our campus, this was in September at Itasca. I drive up there, I’m walking around–with no idea where to be–just following the crowd, and I walk in and people were super friendly and started introducing themselves. I was like ‘wow, these people are really cool!’…and people wanted me to get involved in other things and pushed me onto Steering Committee—which I got elected to that conference, and I got elected as our regional alternate last year.

What are some opportunities you have gotten since joining MSCSA and being more active on your campus since joining CSG?

I would say the current main one that I’m most excited for is being on fiscal committee for MSCSA and having the opportunity to help make those important decisions that affect all college students here. It opens up a lot for me because I want to run my own non-profit one day. I’ve learned a lot about communicating with people.

What would you say is your “defining moment” for MSCSA and CSG?

I would say last fall GA was a really big thing for me… seeing everybody come together, and seeing all the workshops…I think that was when I realized this was bigger than what a lot of people think.

What would you say is a good way of breaking that sort of apathy?

I feel like word of mouth, but then I also have to see it go into action. I think that’s why in October when I saw the revisions to that platform document is when it really hit me. Really seeing the opportunities that are available, and getting people to just sit in and see what’s going on… I think people just get hooked.

What would you say is your biggest influence for being a part of MCSA?

For me personally, it’s my daughter. I want to show her the things she can do later. I want her to go ‘Wow! You made that difference!’ It pushes me to work that much harder so that not only does she see that I helped make a difference in her life and mine, but also for students statewide.

What would you say is the number one thing you want to tell the parents in MSCSA?

I think a lot of people focus on what we can do this year. But, as parents, we need to focus on how the changes we make today will affect people 18 years from now. Our kids could be enrolling in these schools, so what are we changing now that will affect them down the road. 

What is your favorite MSCSA moment?

I think the fire at Presidents’ Retreat. Just when everybody sat around the fire and told their story, I think that was not only an amazing bonding moment for us, but an overall great experience. You realize that those people who are there with you are not there to judge you or anything, they don’t care what your background is, but they’re all there to support you.

What is the thing you look most forward to this year?

The Charting the Future Committee. I am super pumped that I got appointed to that committee.

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