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Association News

Thank you to the 2013-14 MSCSA Cabinet

One of the best parts about MSCSA is the constant influx of passionate and dedicated student leaders. But the other side of that is the continual departure of student leaders when they graduate and leave office. June 30 marks the end of the term for the 2013-14 MSCSA Cabinet. 

We thank each cabinet member for the hard work they put in at our Student Leadership Conferences, at the MSCSA office, on MnSCU committees and at the Minnesota Capitol.

We appreciate Treasurer Matt Rubel's willingness to take on any task, no matter how unglamorous; Public Relations Coordinator Brayden Mann's easygoing demeanor that fit in with every group (for proof of this, look no further than his green hair in the photo above that he dyed for the "I Gave" annual giving campaign); Vice President Kayley Schoonmaker's humble inquisitiveness that was the glue that kept this cabinet focused; and finally President Kelly Charpentier-Berg's dogged tenaciousness that drove our work with MnSCU and at the Capitol this year.

Each of the cabinet members is saying their farewell and giving advice to his or her successor on the MSCSA Facebook Page. Click here to view their good byes and share your thanks for their work.

Hali Kolkind is MSCSA's new Director of Policy

MSCSA is pleased to welcome Hali Kolkind as our new Director of Policy. Hali just started on June 13, but she has already immersed herself in preliminary Minnesota State Colleges and Universites (MnSCU) Charting the Future meetings and other policy-related research. Below is a brief Q&A with her. Join us in welcoming Hali to MSCSA!

Tell us about your work experience and educational background.

I have my bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder where I attended for two years after completing my Associate of Arts degree from Anoka Ramsey Community College. Throughout college I worked with two internships. My first internship was with Mental Health America of Colorado where I worked on grassroots efforts, public policy and advocacy in the 2012 legislative session at the Colorado State Capitol. This is where I fell in love with the work that nonprofits do. My second internship was with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota as a Summer Research Intern, where I drafted policy briefs and proposals on legislation passed in the 2013 legislative session. After graduation I had a paid internship where I was the Legislative Intern for the Minnesota Fire Chief’s Association. In this position I assisted their lobbyist on controversial issues at the Minnesota State Capitol throughout the 2014 legislative session.

What interested you in working for MSCSA?
Throughout my past work experience I have come to have a great appreciation and respect for the great work that nonprofits provide for the members of the communities they work to serve. MSCSA fits that description. I was very excited to be a part of an organization that works on behalf of the students, keeping their concerns and best interests in mind.

What are some of the first projects that you are taking on as the Director of Policy?
My first priority as Director of Policy is to work with the student leadership on MnSCU’s Charting the Future issues and committees. I plan to work hard to guide and help student leadership shape a better future for themselves and the students that they represent. I will focus on important topics within the Charting the Future program such as program alignment and transfer legislation implementation. I look forward to representing and advocating on behalf of MSCSA.

What interests do you have outside of work?
In my time outside of work I love coaching gymnastics. I have been a Junior Olympic USA Gymnastics coach for over five years and really enjoy my time spent coaching a sport that has meant so much to me in my life.  

Students, alumni and friends brave the elements for the Great MSCSA Get Together

MSCSA students, alumni and friends don’t let a little rain ruin their party! Over 100 participants still showed up for the Great MSCSA Get Together. The bouncy house doubled as a slip ‘n’ slide, the hamster ball races were even more difficult and the shuttle that Rochester Community and Technical College provided was quite busy, but that only added to the fun. We’d like to thank Toppers Pizza for sponsoring our event and thank everyone who attended and has helped continue to grow our association. There were many faces around that we haven’t seen in quite some time and we hope this event continues to grow and reach alumni from this year to all the way back before MSCSA was created in 1998. See you next year! 

MSCSA’s 2014 state legislative agenda

By Matt Rubel

MSCSA Treasurer

Greetings fellow student leaders and welcome to the spring edition of the MSCSA Students’ View. As many of you are already aware, our Platform Committee passed this year’s policy agenda on January 11, 2014, at our January Leadership Conference hosted by Inver Hills Community College. The motion to approve this year’s policy agenda passed unanimously.

The policy agenda contained our federal legislative agenda, state legislative agenda, and MnSCU system-wide agenda. For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on our state legislative agenda, which encompasses four major topics: credit transfer, the creation of a workgroup to discuss access and affordability at our community and technical colleges, widening advertisement of the states Postsecondary Enrollment Option (PSEO), and the MnSCU System’s bonding request.

Our first priority concerns creating more seamless pathways for credit transfer and the creation of a data gathering system that would house information around the numbers of students transferring, why they are transferring, and where they are transferring. This data would be used to improve transfer experiences for our many transferring students. The data gathering system would inevitably lead to better strategies and communication for students who are attempting to navigate the dense world of articulation agreements. It would also improve students experience transferring into our community and technical colleges, as well as out of our colleges to universities and other institutions.


The effects of our harsh winter

HEAPR projects throughout MN

By Becca Larson

Hennepin Technical College-Brooklyn Park

I don’t need to tell you this, but this was a tough, cold and long winter in Minnesota with more snow than we have seen in many years. With all of that snow comes roof leaks and some of the Minnesota two-year colleges have developed roof problems. Both Hennepin Technical College campuses have Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) projects that involve their roofs and both are in need of serious repair. 

Just this fall before the semester started, the dental and nursing labs on the Hennepin Technical College-Eden Prairie campus had a major roof leak that destroyed machines and other classroom materials. A few years ago, on the Hennepin Technical College-Brooklyn Park campus, there was a roof leak in the graphic design Mac lab that destroyed several computers that students use daily.

Now that spring is upon us, the weather is warming up and the birds are singing, the snow is starting to melt. Generally, that is a positive thing, but the melting snow will cause more problems with a roof that is already ineffective. 

This is just one of the many problems on each of our campuses and why we need our Minnesota legislature to fully fund the Minnesota State Colleges and University system’s HEAPR request. HEAPR helps keep our buildings safe, warm, and dry and is necessary so that our students can get a quality education. For more information on contacting your legislator, visit the MSCSA website at www.mscsa.org.


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