Driving Change in Higher Education.

Association News

Be part of the MSCSA team! We are hiring and looking for volunteers to join us at Bridging on 1/20.

Association Update 11-23-15

MSCSA Association Update - December 2015
MSCSA Association Update - December 2015
 

January Student Leadership Conference

Dates: January 7-9, 2016
Location: Normandale Community College & Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
View event details.

2016 Scholarship Gala

Date: Friday, January 8, 2016
Location: Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
View event details.

February Student Leadership Conference

Dates: February 26-28, 2016
Location: Minnesota State Community and Technical College & Best Western -
Fergus Falls, MN
Register by Friday, February 12.

FREE Hungry for Equity Partner Forum


Date: January 23, 2016
Location: Schulze Hall Auditorium, University of St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus
MSCSA is proud to be partnering with Growth & Justice and several other organizations to present the Hungry for Equity Partner Forum. The goal of the forum is to craft an education and workforce agenda, starting with a deep dive into the facts of disparities in higher education and our workforce. The forum will explore solutions, policies, and practices that drive equitable college and job opportunities in Minnesota. Our ultimate goal is to create an education and workforce equity agenda that will, once and for all, move us all forward.
We are currently hiring for these positions:

Come Volunteer With MSCSA at Bridging on January 20!

Bridging logo
We are looking for 10-15 volunteers to join the MSCSA staff and cabinet in an afternoon of giving back to the community.
 
WHAT IS BRIDGING?
Through the effective reuse of donated items, Bridging improves lives by providing quality furniture and household goods to those transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Bridging serves over 80 households each week who are given a sense of dignity and stability as they rebuild their lives.
Listen to the Bridging story, meet the clients who benefit from this program, and see the place in action: Watch the 2-minute video.
 
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE PROJECT?
Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Time: 1:00-4:00 PM.
Location: Bridging-Roseville, 1633 Terrace Drive, Roseville, MN 55113.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
You will be providing general warehouse assistance: loading and unloading trucks, sorting through donated goods, rolling linens and restocking shelves. Specific projects will be determined on the day of our event based on final group size, inventory and warehouse priorities. All volunteers must be 14 or older.
 
Sign up to volunteer with us!

New Scholarship Application and Webpage Unveiled!

Apply by May 1 for Fall 2016 Scholarships!
Exciting news! The MSCSA scholarship webpage and our online application have been revised. It is now easier than ever to see if you are qualified and to apply for these amazing scholarships.
What are those scholarships?
  • MSCSA Leadership Scholarship
    A scholarship that rewards emerging student leaders for their community services for both two-year college and four-year university students.
  • McCormick Leadership Scholarship
    This scholarship is for students pursuing a certificate, undergraduate degree, or an advanced degree who demonstrate leadership in academics, extracurricular activities and community service.
  • Dr. Steve and Darla Frantz Leadership Endowed Scholarship
    A new scholarship recently created in honor of Dr. Steve Frantz for students who demonstrate leadership in academics, extracurricular activities and community or national service with a priority given to those who are serving or have served in good standing in any branch of the United States Military or other U.S. national service and have exhausted federal and state service related education benefits excluding the Minnesota GI Bill. The first scholarship will be dispersed for the 2016 fall semester.
  • Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship
    This scholarship was created to provide scholarship support to students enrolled in a technical program at one of the technical or consolidated colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund
    This scholarship will provide funds for tool purchases required for completing a technical course of student for students attending one of the technical colleges or technical programs within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, with preference given to students enrolled in the area of Technology/Management/Trades.
  • Irja Sundgren Pratt Endowed Scholarship
    A scholarship that will be given annually to a student enrolled at any college within the Northeast Higher Education District and have completed at least one semester of course-work at the college.
For more details, please visit www.mscsa.org/about-mscsa/scholarship.
Designed by Freepik

Office Closure Notice

The MSCSA office will be closed from December 24, 2015 through January 3, 2016 in observance of the holiday season. The MSCSA staff and cabinet would like to wish you all the warmest of holiday cheer!
 
 

Power in Diversity Leadership Conference, Starting a Food Pantry on Campus, Scholarship Deadlines, and More!

Association Update 10-26-15

 
 
 
December Student Leadership Conference
Dates: December 4-6, 2015
Location: Lake Superior College and Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark - Duluth, MN
 
Register by Friday, November 20.
 

January Student Leadership Conference

Dates: January 7-9, 2016
Location: Normandale Community College & Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
 
Register by Friday, December 18.
 

SAVE THE DATE:
2016 Scholarship Gala

Date: Friday, January 8, 2016
Location: Radisson Blu - Bloomington, MN
 
The Scholarship Gala is held in conjunction with the January Student Leadership Conference. If you register for the SLC you are also registed for the Gala. If you will not be attending the Gala, please mark the coorespondiong box on your January SLC registration form.
 

Now accepting Wall of Wine donations!

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to help raise money for student scholarships? If you are over 21, purchase your favorite bottle of wine and drop it off at the MSCSA office as a tax- deductible donation. We will add it to our Wall of Wine, where Scholarship Gala attendees pay $10 to draw a numbered wine bottle cork from a fishbowl and they win the cooresponding numbered bottle of wine. The Wall of Wine is a favorite among Gala attendees and is always sure to sell out fast.
 
If you have questions about Wall of Wine donations or the Scholarship Gala, please contact Director of Program & Events Eric Highers at 651-203-9452 or Program Assistant Gabriella Feldt at 651-203-9463.

In the News

MSCSA President Kevin Parker is pictured below with Minnesota State Board of Trustees Chair Michael Vekich, MSUSA State Chair Cara Luebke, and Chancellor Steven Rosenstone to announce that MnSCU's scholarship drive nearly doubled it's goal, raising $39.5 million for student scholarships in just two years.
 
Which Minnesota State campuses will earn the title of 2015-16 MSCSA Star Campus?
 
The Star Campus program is approaching it's third month and we already have 50% of all Minnesota State campuses participating. A few campuses have already earned at least five (5) of the ten (10) required stars. Winning campuses of the Star Campus program will be awarded prizes that will give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates!
 
For more information, please contact Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport at (651) 203-9457 orprc@mscsa.org.

Resource: Running a Food Pantry on Campus

One in ten households in Minnesota are affected by hunger and it is a problem that impacts college students. With the cost of college tuition continuing to rise exponentially, students are increasing having to choose between paying tuition and buying food, according to a survey by Feeding America.
 
Over the last decade, 121 college campuses have opened a food bank on campus to help students with food insecurity. The Student Government Resource Center recently released a toolkit for Student Governments to use in starting their own food bank on campus.

23 Scholarships Available to Attend the Power in Diversity Leadership Conference

 
Power in Diversity
Leadership Conference

January 28-31, 2016

St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN
In today’s world, understanding the complexity of issues facing underrepresented students and developing skills for engaging in action and conversation around those issues is essential for student leadership. That's why MSCSA is excited to announce that we are partnering with St. Cloud State University to host their annual Power in Diversity Leadership Conference: Intersectionality in Action.
 
As part of our partnership, MSCSA is offering 23 scholarships that will cover meals and registration costs for our student leaders to attend the conference! Visit the conference homepage and learn more information about this exciting opportunity! ALL students that are interested are encouraged to apply.
 
Complete the application form by Tuesday, December 1, at 11:59 p.m.
 
Scholarship recipients will be announced the week of December 7, 2015.
If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact Director of Programs and Events Eric Highers at ehighers@mscsa.org.

Request for Workshop Proposals for the
Power in Diversity Leadership Conference

Students, faculty, staff, and professionals are encouraged to develop workshops for college students in the spirit of the conference theme: Intersectionality in Action, in which workshops may explore the topics of power, privilege, discrimination, and systems of oppression as they relate to the numerous identities an individual or group may claim or relate to.
 
Workshops are selected based on their integration of the conference theme, relevance to the tracts identified below, and how the workshop connects to college students from across the region. Please allow for 60 minutes followed by 15 minutes for questions. Please note that workshop presenters are not compensated.
 
Workshop proposals should be developed to address the following tracts: 
 
Defining Your Future: Internships, the value and benefits of having a mentor, career planning, professional development, choosing a graduate school and program, financing your education, budgeting and building your personal financial portfolio.
 
Leadership Development: Learning to motivate others, helping others to be successful, how to be a solution manager.
 
Navigating College: Stress and time management, health and wellness/self-care, utilizing resources, healthy relationships.
 
Social Justice and Activism: Addressing topics across the spectrum of diversity including multicultural issues, LGBTQ issues, community building, and political issues.
 
Target audience: College students of diverse backgrounds.
 
Deadline for proposals: November 8, 2015. Submit your proposal here. 

Saving with Scholarships

Apply by Nov 1 for Spring 2016 Scholarships!
 
There is just ONE WEEK LEFT to apply for a 2016 spring semester MSCSA scholarship!
 
We are now taking applications for the:
 
McCormick Leadership Scholarship: Students pursuing a certificate, undergraduate or advanced degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and demonstrate leadership in academic, extracurricular activities and community service are eligible. PSEO students are not eligible.
 
MSCSA Leadership Scholarship: Students attending a two-year college or four-year university who demonstrate strong leadership skills and a commitment to service others are eligible. PSEO students are not eligible.
 
Morrie Anderson Scholarship*: Students enrolled in a technical program at one of MnSCU’s technical or consolidated colleges and be in good academic standing are eligible.
 
John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool*: Students enrolled in a MnSCU technical program who are required to purchase tools for completion of their technical program, with preference given to students in the area of Technology/Management/Trades and be in good academic standing are eligible.
 
Irja Sundgren Pratt Memorial Scholarship*: Students who have completed at least one semester of course-work at one of the five colleges within the Northeast Higher Education District and be in good academic standing are eligible.
 

*Please indicate if you are applying for one of these three scholarships in your application letter.

The application deadline is Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Time is running out! Any applications received online after that time will be held for the 2016 fall semester. All the information is available online at www.mscsa.org/scholarship. You can complete the application and submit all materials requested online.

Thank You & Farewell to Director of Development Amanda Skorich

 
Amanda's journey started at MSCSA when she was a full-time PSEO student who served as vice president of the student senate at Mesabi Range College. She was also the Governing Council representative for MSCSA's northeast region during that time. Always wanting to further her education, Amanda then attended Saint Catherine University and served as the parliamentarian on the student senate and president of the Minnesota Association of Private College Students. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, Amanda was hired at MSCSA as the program coordinator and quickly advanced to director of development.
 
Over the last 3 years, Amanda Skorich has been an integral factor in our MSCSA fundraising events. Her efforts and passion furthered the development of events like the Scholarship Gala, our annual iGave fund drive, and the Scholarship Golf Classic to make them what they are today. She also was our chief party planner when it came to The Great MSCSA Get-Together, an annual family-friendly event held at our office that brings past and current staff, students from around the state, our alumni, and the community together.
 
Amanda's work also helped launch the Alumni Association (MSCAA) and she helped plan and host countless networking events and meetings for students who have graduated from MnSCU schools but still want to give back to the association that gave so much to them.
 
Amanda announced her resignation so that she can expedite the completion of her MBA graduate program. We wish her the best of luck in advancing her academic studies and thank her for everything that she has done for the association over the last several years.

MSCSA Hires Three Student Leaders as Interns for 2015-16 School Year

In an effort to further leadership development in the students that attend Minnesota State 2-year colleges, the Minnesota State College Student Association has hired three student leaders to focus on our annual campaigns. These internships will provide students with real-world learning opportunities and help to further the mission of the MSCSA. 
 
We want to welcome to our team, 
 
Equity and Inclusion Campaign Intern LyLy Vang-Yang. LyLy is a student at Inver Hills Community College.
 
Video and Media Intern Chris Juhn. Chris is a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
 
Debt Free Campaign Intern Dylan Kelly. Dylan is a student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.
 
 
 
 

FAFSA Reform, New Scholarship Awards, Alumni MN Twins Game, and More!

Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month!
Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month!
 
Association Update 9-25-15
 
 
 
Minnesota Student
Leadership Summit
Dates: October 15-18, 2015
Location:Mall of America / Airport Hilton - Bloomington, MN
Don't miss out on this amazing 4-day leadership summit! There are so many thought-provoking workshops and activities planned for you. Take the next step in becoming a more effective student leader and register by Friday, October 2!
December Student Leadership Conference
Dates: December 4-6, 2015
Location: Lake Superior College and Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark - Duluth, MN
Register by Friday, November 20.
More MSCSA events...
We are looking forward to an exciting and educational year! Download a copy of our rates, dates and deadlines and register for all of the 2015-16 conferences on the MSCSA website.
Will your campus become a Star Campus this year?
The Star Campus program is well underway with a few campuses already reaching 4 stars! You must complete 10 of the 12 criteria to be awarded the honor. Winning campuses of the Star Campus program will be awarded prizes that will give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates!
For more information, please contact Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport at (651) 203-9457 orprc@mscsa.org.

A Small, but Important, Step Towards FAFSA Reform

FAFSA infographic
The #FAFSA is too complex, redundant & poorly timed. #FixFAFSA to help more students start & finish college. FixFAFSA.org
No one likes filling out the FAFSA, but recent changes by the Obama administration will make the financial aid application process less painful for students. On September 14, President Obama announced changes to existing policy that will allow students to access and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form in October rather than January of the year in which they enter college. In addition, several questions about family income will be removed and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will provide income data to determine eligibility. These seemingly small changes will help students make wise financial decisions regarding their higher education and lessen the burden of applying for aid.
The federal government and colleges use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for a variety of need-based aid programs, including Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and federally subsidized student loans. Previous policy only permitted students to access the FAFSA application in January, limiting the amount of time available to students to weigh their grant and aid eligibility against the costs of attending college. Beginning in October 2016, students will have early access to the FAFSA form and many questions about family income will no longer be necessary – rather than rely on colleges to verify financial information provided by students, the FAFSA will use the financial and tax data provided by the IRS to determine aid eligibility.
These changes will benefit students nation-wide. Student and higher education advocacy organizations have pushed for FAFSA reform for years, noting that the complicated application is burdensome to students and can be a barrier to first generation and low-income students that may not have access to any services to help fill out the form. These barriers translate into available grants going unclaimed. According to the U.S. Department of Education, during the 2011-12 academic year, 2 million students who would have qualified for Pell Grants received no funding – simply because they did not fill out the FAFSA form. A streamlined, simplified process will make the FAFSA more accessible and mean that more students will have access to need-based funding in the future.
To learn more about efforts to reform the FAFSA application, visit the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Post Secondary Success Initiative.

Saving with Scholarships

Apply by Nov 1 for Spring 2016 Scholarships!
 MSCSA is pleased to introduce you to an award opportunity that was announced at the end of August to the Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officers and Deans. It is the 2015 Fall Mark M. Welter World Citizen Award. This award is outside of the normal scholarships that MSCSA distributes.
Thanks to a generous donation, up to 20 - $500 awards will be given this fall. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ faculty and staff will nominate students who share the following beliefs:
  • All people are of a common species who share a common adventure in a common home.
  • The world shares common problems (pollution, terrorism, challenges) but views them through differing cultural and religious value perspectives.
  • All citizens of planet Earth mutually share an interconnected, fragile biosphere.
  • All people-All cultures, all creeds, all colors, and all countries-have been “depositors and with drawers at the world bank of knowledge.”
  • Our world is increasingly, inexorably, and undeniably interdependent.
  • No one nation, people, religion, or creed can unilaterally deal with contemporary challenges of pollution, population, poverty, pandemics, and peace.
No more than one recipient per college or university, and when twenty nominations are received, no additional nominations will be accepted. Each award will be available to students who exemplify an understanding of the interconnected nature of the world, its nations and all people; who are in good academic standing; and who demonstrate financial need.
Check with your college or university to find out how your campus is selecting its nominee. They may ask for a student essay or set up an interview or the nomination may be by a staff recommendation. The nomination due date is October 15, contact your college or university for details!

Thank you Dr. Mark M. Welter for this scholarship opportunity!

NOTE: The 2016 Spring Semester scholarship application for all other MSÇSA scholarships can be found at: http://mscsa.org/about-mscsa/scholarship, which will be open through November 1, 2015. The scholarships available are: MSCSA Leadership Scholarship, McCormick Leadership Scholarship, Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship, plus a couple more that will soon be announced!

Alumni Gather to Cheer on the Minnesota Twins!

On Thursday, September 24, over 20 MSCSA alum braved the rainy weather to come together at the ball field for an evening of networking and catching up with old friends. The Minnesota State College Alumni Association (MSCAA) hosts several activities throughout the year for any student that attended a Minnesota State community and/or technical college. Watch the alumni section of the MSCSA website for more upcoming events.
There will be an Alumni Association meeting at the October Minnesota Student Leadership Summit on Saturday, October 17 from 1-3 pm at the Hilton MSP Airport/Mall of America. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here.
 
 
 

Announcing 2015-16 leadership opportunities, MSCSA internships, new scholarships, and more!

 

 
September Student Leadership Conference
Dates: September 11-13, 2015
Location: Itasca Community College - Grand Rapids, MN and Sugar Lake Lodge - Cohasset, MN
Register by Friday, August 28.
Minnesota Student
Leadership Summit
Dates: October 15-18, 2015
Location:Mall of America / Airport Hilton - Bloomington, MN
Register by Friday, October 2.
More MSCSA events...
The MSCSA conference calendar for 2015-16 is finalized and we are looking forward to an exciting and educational year! Download a copy of our rates, dates and deadlines.
For the first time, we have opened registration for all of the 2015-16 conferences on the MSCSA website and you can begin to register immediately.
Internships Available
Click on the links below to find out more details on these available MSCSA internships.
Saving with Scholarships
As many of you heard, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation dissolved this past March. When this happened, several of the scholarships specifically created to support the students enrolled in a technical program or degree were transferred to MSCSA. Are you one of these students? Are you enrolled in a technical program or degree? If so, read on as this newly transferred scholarship may be for you.
The Morrie Anderson Endowed Scholarship.
Upon Morris J. Anderson’s retirement as Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in 2001, Mr. Anderson’s colleagues and friends established an endowed fund to recognize his outstanding contribution to education in Minnesota, especially his support of technical education. Therefore, this scholarship was created to support the students seeking a technical program or degree. The specific criteria for applying for this scholarship include: a) be enrolled in a technical program at one of the technical or consolidated colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; are in good academic standing as determined by the campus where they are enrolled; and c) have a financial need and who show great promise. Also, this scholarship may be renewed provided the recipient meets the minimum academic standards as determined by the college president.
Students applying for this scholarship will use the application for the MSCSA Leadership Scholarship and the accompanying process for submission.
Stay tuned to hear more next month on another new scholarship given to MSCSA from the MnSCU Foundation and updates on the scholarship application process.
Will your campus become a Star Campus this year?
You may be asking yourself, “What is Star Campus?” Star Campus is a program that rewards the most active campuses for striving to best represent their constituencies. The Star Campus program has a set of 12 criteria that you must complete 10 of to become awarded the honor. Winning campuses of the Star Campus program will be awarded prizes that will give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates!
For more information, please contact Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport at (651) 203-9457 orprc@mscsa.org.
 

2015-16 MSCSA/MnSCU Leadership Opportunities

We are looking for students to serve and take the next step in their leadership journey. There are opportunities on both MSCSA internal committees and Minnesota State system-wide committee. If you are interested in representing students on any of the following committees, please write a letter of intent and email it to President Kevin Parker at pres@mscsa.org by Saturday, September 12, 2015 by 8:00 pm. Letters will not be accepted after this time. Letters of intent should include why you wish to serve on that particular committee and any skills or experience you have that will qualify you for the position. President Kevin Parker will announce who has been selected at the Governing Council meeting on Sunday, September 13.
Internal MSCSA committees are:
  • Diversity Committee
  • Penny Fellowship Board
  • Steering Committee
  • Fiscal Committee
  • Communications Advisory Team (CAT)

MnSCU system-wide committees are:

  • Student Diversity Task Force
  • Technology Council
  • Textbook Affordability Workgroup
  • Coordination Committee
Download the 2015-16 Leadership Opportunities packet for committee descriptions, time commitments, number of seats available, and more!
Don't forget, your campus can earn a Star Campus point just for applying to serve on a MSCSA internal committee.
If you have any questions about these leadership opportunities, please contact President Kevin Parker at (651) 203-9460 or pres@mscsa.org

PRC Austin Ruport speaks on PSEO with Senator
Al Franken

AustinRuport AlFranken PressConference
On July 20th, 2015 Public Relations Coordinator Austin Ruport was one of three individuals invited to speak at a press conference with Senator Al Franken. Austin Ruport spoke about his amazing opportunity as a PSEO student, and how he gained a substantial education at Rainy River Community College as a high school senior. He is honored that he was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of PSEO students in Minnesota for the No Child Left Behind Act, and thanks Senator Al Franken for all his dedicated work to better education for all.

Charting our Future in MnSCU's Charting the Future

CTF is moving to a campus-based process. That means that campuses will begin meeting soon to hammer out details of how they implement CTF recommendations on their campus.
In the 200-page recommendation packet, six areas jumped out as areas that MSCSA can get excited about: advising, affordability, diversity, workplace solutions, and technology. Summaries of the major recommendations in these five areas are in the CTF presentation that was shown at the 2015 Presidents' Retreat on August 12-14.

Making an Impact on Hunger

This month, the entire MSCSA staff and cabinet dedicated an afternoon to volunteer at the leading hunger relief organization in the Upper Midwest, Second Harvest Heartland. According to Second Harvest Heartland, approximately 1 in 10 households in our region are affected by hunger. That’s why their staff work each day, and rely on volunteers like us, to repackage and distribute food for those in need.

MSCSA was one of three organizations who donated their time that afternoon to package food. The staff and cabinet were divided into different groups and were tasked with packaging as much food as they could in a two and a half hour shift. In the end, we were able to package 11,692 pounds of donated Kellogg's Mini Fudge Stripes cookies.
If you have interest in volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland, please visit www.2harvest.org/get-involved/volunteer and stay tuned for more MSCSA volunteer events.

Get to know our new staff

BeccaBranumDirector of Policy Becca Branum
Q: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
A: I graduated from Boston University with a BA in economics and earned my JD from the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to joining MSCSA, I worked as a Research Associate at the Consortium on Law & Values at the University of Minnesota, focusing on policy analysis and development with regard to law, privacy, and ethics in medical research. I have prior history working in legislative policy and politics – first as an Intern for former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and most recently as a Judiciary Committee Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Al Franken. I wear my “policy nerd” badge with pride and I am thrilled to be pursuing my passion here at MSCSA.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: Higher education faces extraordinary policy challenges. As Director of Policy with MSCSA, I have the opportunity to work with students and empower them to meaningfully address these challenges while utilizing my legal and policy analysis skills. Applying my experience and skills on issues about which I care deeply – you couldn’t ask for a better job!
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: To date, I have focused on Charting the Future and working with staff and students to identify policy priorities to serve the best interests of two-year college students state-wide. I am looking forward to the October Leadership Summit and to meeting more students so I can hear their concerns.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: Most of my time is spent with my software engineer husband and our sizable “furmily” – Coconut the Pomeranian, Jaws the Corgi, and our cats Fizz & Ruby. When I’m not pet wrangling, I am an avid reader, political gossip hound, and Green Bay Packer enthusiast.
EricHighers
Director of Programs and Events Eric Highers
Q: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
A: I come to MSCSA after working as an Office Manager for Grassroots Solutions, an awesome consulting firm that specialized in grassroots organizing and engagement. Prior to that I was working with PFund Foundation as the Regional Fellow and Public Ally (as part of the AmeriCorp funded program, Public Allies) to implement a field assessment of the Upper Midwest Region's LGBTQ movement infrastructure, with the aim to help PFund become more responsive as a small community foundation and to energize the movement during the process. Before moving to Minneapolis I was working in Chicago, IL for an educational nonprofit called the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture as their LearnCHICAGO Program Coordinator, where I helped plan, coordinate, and execute short-term programs that connected students to resources in the city to expand their own understanding of their academic interests. I graduated from Albion College, in 2012 with a BA in Sociology, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. While there I was heavily involved with community organizing around issues pertaining to students of color, LGBTQ students and around the Ethnic Studies department. During my undergrad, I also worked for the Office of Intercultural Affairs and completed an internship for an HIV/STI prevention clinic in Chicago called Vida/SIDA, that focused primarily on supporting LGBTQ Latin@s. Throughout all of these experiences I developed important skills around event planning, educational programs, and community organizing.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: I was deeply captured by the mission of the organization, which is ultimately to advocate for the collective interests of students in higher education at 2-year institutions. Thus, the idea of galvanizing student leaders to advance progress on key issues and to support them in building upon their leadership skills in the process sounded exciting! Through the history of key wins at MSCSA, its been clear that students can affect the change they want to see, and I'm looking forward to this unique professional experience.
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: I'm excited to work on our conferences for the year and not only provide students with quality programming and workshops, but to create spaces for students to feel empowered! It seems the conferences are key places for students to begin considering the impact and issues they face as growing student leaders so I look forward to working with students to explore new ideas and concepts and to introduce new ideas of what leadership can look like! Its also been made very clear that diversity and inclusion are major issues that students want to address in their conference programming. I look forward to thinking through and brining in workshops that help students navigate those tough questions they'll have to consider.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I have so many interests! I write and perform as a spoken word artist, I ride my bike everywhere in the cities, I enjoy gardening, and I love, love, love reading- which includes everything from awesome blogs, creative literature, and dense academic texts. I'm a giant nerd and I don't think that will ever change! I also love to exercise- it's the best way to keep myself mentally sane and still feel physically balanced. I enjoy exploring new vegan meals with my friends and I love to dance. Most importantly I spend my time with my friends and community in South Minneapolis thinking, planning and implementing new ways of trying to make our world a better place. The best change we can make is often at the local level, so most of my time is spent thinking about that, or trying to find that inspiration in the art around me.
 
 
 
 

President Schoonmaker's farewell, adventures in Charting the Future, new scholarships, and more...

Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month in the Association Update!
Check out what MSCSA has been up to this last month!
 
 
Join us at the 16th annual Scholarship Golf Classic!
Date: June 25, 2015
Location: The Refuge Golf Club, Oak Grove, MN
Don’t miss out on the 16th annual Scholarship Golf Classic! Registration has been extended to Monday, June 22. Join us at the Refuge Golf Club on Thursday, June 25 and spend the afternoon swinging for scholarships! 

We did it!
Check out the video below to learn about the triumphs and victories that were made during the 2015 legislative session and what that means for Minnesota's community and technical college students.
 
Special Session Update
Legislators met in a one-day special session to finalize portions of the state budget that were not agreed upon at the end of the regular session, as well as a bonding bill. This special session was historic as it is believed to be one of the only times that the legislature has met outside the Capitol chambers. The meetings were held in the State Office Building due to Capitol construction that has the entire building closed.
During the daylong session that lasted into the early morning hours, budget bills for E-12 education, Jobs and Economic Development, and Agriculture and the Environment were passed. There was also agreement on a bonding bill that spent a total of $373 million on project across the state. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities received a total of $31.9 million in projects with $21.2 being funded by the state.
The special session agreement has a full breakdown of the projects included in the bill.

 
Saving with Scholarships
Three of the MnSCU Foundation's endowed scholarships have been transferred to MSCSA.
John Kenneth Niemi Memorial Tool Fund: Provides funds for tool purchases required to complete a technical course of study
Morrie Anderson Award: Provides scholarship support to students enrolled in a technical program at one of the MnSCU technical or other consolidated colleges
Irja Pratt Sundgren Scholarship: Provides scholarship opportunities for students attending one of the five colleges within the Northeast Higher Education District
Stay tuned next month to learn more about each of these scholarships and how the transfer to MSCSA occurred.

A Final Farewell from President Schoonmaker

About three years ago, I found myself mystified by the Itasca Community College Student Senate, where it all started. As I led our campus to success in Get Out The Vote, MSCSA Rally Day, and many campus initiatives, something awoke in me that had been sleeping for quite some time. I was hungry for more. Which brings me to today, as I type my last article for the association as it’s President, it feels immensely bittersweet. I have become part of a loving and supportive family, and I have learned and grown more than I ever could have imagined I would. I know that some of you reading this may be making a transition in your lives as well, and I want to share some parting words about change. When I walked into the Student Senate office for the first time, I was skeptical. When I ran for Vice President of MSCSA, I was scared, but I did it anyway. I stepped out of my comfort zone, out of my “routine,” and I was rewarded with the best years of my life. (So far!) As I make my transition to Bemidji State University, while sad to be leaving, I am so thrilled to see what comes next, because change really is a beautiful thing. It keeps us going. It brings us even higher. It makes life fun. And yes, it can be terrifying. But if I had never faced my fears of public speaking and ran for Vice President, how different my life would have been. Three years ago, back at Itasca, I never would have predicted myself here now. As I look back, however, it all makes sense. I want to express my gratitude to the students of Minnesota for taking a chance on me, and to the staff of MSCSA for supporting me, mentoring me, and inspiring me.
I leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs that has helped me embrace life’s constant changes. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”
This is President Schoonmaker, signing off.
Read Kayley's farewell to the MnSCU Board of Tustees.

3rd Annual Great MSCSA Get-Together a Success!

Despite the rainy weather, over 100 people from our MSCSA family joined us and attended the 2015 Great MSCSA Get-Together. It was a spectacular celebration with students, alumni, friends, and family at the MSCSA office to celebrate our year and enjoy the afternoon together. Mini golf, dodge ball, and water balloons contributed to the success of this awesome event. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and we hope to see you all at the next Great MSCSA Get-Together! Tentatively mark your calendars for Saturday, June 4, 2016!
 
 

 

MSCSA Sponsors the MSUSA Penny Golf Scramble

 
MSCSA recently had the exciting opportunity to help sponsor the 2015 Penny Golf Scramble, hosted by the Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA). The day was filled with sunshine, laughter, and folks excited to help students succeed. Our own Director of Government Relations, Jason Fossum, was a member of the winning team! 
Although Mr. Fossum is an awesome golfer, the real winners are the MnSCU students who receive the opportunity to be recognized with either the Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship or the Timothy J. Penny Federal Fellowship. Events and opportunities like the Penny Program remind us how important it is to be grateful for what we have and willing to give back when we can.

Get to know Development Assistant Joyce Petsch

JoycePetsch HeadshotQ: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
 
A: I worked for the state of Minnesota from 1971 until 2011 - 40 years, working in the Department of Agriculture, Public Utilities Commission, and Telecommunications before beginning the last 21 years in higher education. During those years, I worked at Metropolitan State University, Minnesota State University System, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. My positions included working with several commissioners, but mainly in advancement and development areas.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: While working at MnSCU, one of my responsibilities was the administrative assistant to the MnSCU Foundation. Its purpose was to raise funds for student scholarships and programs. When the MnSCU Foundation dissolved this year, it had transferred several of the scholarships to MSCSA which were designated specifically for the two-year college students. I love being given the opportunity to roll out these funds and to once again work with students.
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: I have been working with the donors of the scholarship funds to maintain our relationship with them to ensure their scholarships will be distributed. I'm excited to meet more students, distribute more scholarships, and attend the annual Scholarship Gala in January.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I love running, biking, swimming, and have participated in several sprint triathlons. I also love gardening and traveling.

The Adventure of Charting a Better Future for Students

Come one, come all as we tell you the tale, of the long awaited adventure called Charting the Future. Together we set sail three years ago to chart our future, and we have come a long way since that first day. What started out as an idea with a lot of unknowns, transformed into six recommendations for us to consider.
Eight teams were formed, and over the last two years, we have charted unknown territories to create initiatives that will lead to the glorious buried treasure that is a better higher education system for students. As with all adventures, we sailed through some rough seas, but each crew came together to create a map to the treasure. As the crews worked tirelessly towards finding the prize, a common theme came to light: collaboration. Each crewmember on each team had their voices, thoughts, and concerns heard. Now each crew is about to complete their plan and dock their ship for the last time.
The future of Charting the Future is in our hands, as it leaves the crews and travels to campuses and regions across the state. Each of the plans from the eight teams will be published during the month of July and will start to be discussed between the different constituents. Each campus will have a crew of their own that will assist the president with starting to implement the different initiatives. These changes may take a bit of time, however the outcomes will be significant. As the new crews are formed and the plans implemented, the treasure of a better higher education system for students is within our reach!
While each story must ultimately come to an end, this one is not quite done yet. The crews gathered together for one final swashbuckling party to recognize and thank all members and the work that has been completed. There was even a Charting the Future recognition video at the event that featured several MSCSA students. With this final send off, it was time to head back to work and continue seeking that treasure!

 

What can we expect for Star Campus in 2015-16? 

Logo StarCampusStar Campus was an initiative created five years ago and has since become a unifying force at many of our campuses. The idea was that student senates who’ve demonstrated their commitment to the organization would easily be able to achieve Star Campus status and thus be rewarded with prizes that would give them resources to become even more effective as student advocates.
We anticipate that next year’s Star Campus program will experience the highest level of campus participation. The last two years have seen blockbuster numbers of Star Campus recipients andd we expect this trend to continue as campuses start to build upon years of prior success. New ways for students to monitor their progress and submit criteria will make Star Campus easier to participate in than ever before! This, coupled with a revamped marketing strategy, will help to keep our campuses motivated and engaged throughout the year. Students like to know what to expect and this will be reflected in a more consistent and clarified list of Star Campus criteria. You should begin to see some of the changes as the 2015-16 Star Campus program is rolled out in the coming months-so stay tuned!
Please feel free to send questions about the Star Campus program to prc@mscsa.org.
 
 
 

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