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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.
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.

Q&A with 2015-16 Treasurer Richard Barnier

Richard BarnierWhat college do you go to and what is your major?

I attend Minneapolis Community and Technical College and I'm studying accounting.

To whom to you feel you owe your success and why?

I feel like I owe my success mostly to the students who have continued to support me, my family, and in some cases just plain luck. I'm told that people like my direct and sometimes sensible nature. I believe I'm successful because of my intelligence, drive, and commitment to others.

What was your first thought after finding out you received your position?

Disbelief; in a lot of respects it's still sinking in. Gratitude would be other feeling or thought I had. To work on behalf of students for another year as their treasurer is pretty neat. I was and am very excited to serve with such a unique and talented team of individuals.

What do you look forward to the most in the next year?

I'm looking forward to the potential of this upcoming year. Advocating for and working with students is my dream job. In addition, I have been working on Charting the Future with students for more than two years. To see some of that work implemented is pretty big stuff. When I started working on behalf of students there were a number of things I was told. “Tuition will always go up, it’s inevitable. Administration isn’t really interested in what the students think. Some things never change.” I have seen these statements proven false and I’m excited to tackle more of the un-changeable.

Q&A with 2015-16 PRC Austin Ruport

Austin RuportWhat college do you go to and what is your major?

I will be attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and my major is Psychology. 

To whom do you feel you owe your success and why?

I owe my success to many people. I owe my success to my grandmother because of all that she has taught me, and because I get a lot of my bubbly quirks from her! I also owe my success to the Rainy River Community College Student Senate for all of the support during the process of campaigning and to the students of MSCSA for electing me. 

What was your first thought after finding out you received your position?

I instantly had a deer in the headlights look as I felt relief, and a sense of unbelief. My first thought was "I can't believe I won." I was just consumed in happiness and felt so honored that the students of MSCSA elected me as the incoming public relations coordinator. 

What do you look forward to the most in the next year?

I look forward to meeting new students! I absolutely adore talking to new students, and learning about their different paths of life. I plan to make new students a top priority as public relations coordinator.  

Q&A with 2015-16 Vice President Timothy St. Claire

Tim St. ClaireWhat college do you go to and what is your major?

I currently go to Century College located in White Bear Lake. I am taking my generals there so I can pursue a major in physics. Most people think I’m crazy when I mention my major is physics, and I would agree with them, but what can I say, I love the challenge!

To whom to you feel you owe your success and why?

There are so many people who have helped me grow and become a better person, both personally and professionally. My family has always provided the drive and emotional support I needed to push myself to do bigger and greater things. For that, I owe them more then I can ever repay. The TRiO and Student Support Services (SSS) staff at Century College has been my guardians. They have helped me create a foundation to grow from by providing many resources to me, from counseling and advising, financial aid information and advice, academic tutoring, and a space I can call my own. I owe them for helping me begin my journey of change. My advisor Jenn Rassett has been a mentor and friend to me for the last 2 years. She has picked me up when I felt so down I couldn’t look forward, she has guided me in making good choices and reflecting on my past action to improve myself. She has pushed me to become a wiser and more compassionate leader. I cannot express my thanks to her in words. My success has never been only my own. It has been the combination of all those around me supporting me in my journey. You can say I have been really spoiled to have such amazing people all around me!

What was your first thought after finding out you received your position?

The first thing I thought was that I needed to prepare myself mentally and emotionally so I can shoulder the wishes, expectations, and dreams of all of the hundred thousand plus students in the two year college system in Minnesota. I take my position incredibly seriously because it grants the power to bring wide reaching and significant change to the lives, dreams, wellbeing, and futures of our students! I will be fighting against unfair, frustrating, and sometimes ethically challenging situations so my first priority was to harden my resolve and commit my life to MSCSA for the next couple of years. I am prepared to make the personal sacrifices necessary to complete the mission given to me by students in our system, just like the cabinet members that have come before me and the ones who will succeed me.

What do you look forward to the most in the next year?

I can honestly say I am really looking forward to jumping right to work! I want to get to work filling up my schedule with committee meetings, working out a vision for the upcoming year with my fellow MSCSA members, meeting and building positive work relationships within and outside of our organization, and starting my responsibilities as the vice president of MSCSA. One thing I found to be really unpleasant is having long periods of time without anything meaningful to do. It really drives me nuts when lull periods happen when we could be using that time to be productive and move forwards! MSCSA will keep me busy, and I am looking forward to that!

Q&A with 2015-16 President Kevin Parker

Kevin ParkerWhat college do you go to and what is your major?

I currently attend Anoka-Ramsey Community College-Coon Rapids and will be finishing up my AA next year. After that, I will be moving on to pursue a bachelor’s in health and human services. I want to focus on psychology so that I can begin working while pursuing my master’s degree.

To whom do you feel you owe your success and why?

I don’t think any single individual nor singular group of people can take credit for that. There have been many who’ve entered my life and changed it drastically for the better. From our student leaders and the students I’ve served, to my family, and all of the mentors along the way, each have added something special to my life that kept me moving forward. However, there are two mentors that stand out above the rest, and they are Thomas and Kelly Charpentier-Berg. They took me in during my first year in Minnesota and have never quit on me, even when I’ve been half ready to quit on myself. I will always be forever grateful for them.

What was your first thought after finding out you received your position?

That my year’s schedule was going to drastically change and there goes my sleep! In all seriousness, I was excited yet oddly calm, my mind already running and planning what was next and how to accomplish the goals I’d set. It was leaping a chasm and hitting the other side, ready to keep running to the next one. I knew I was in for an amazing year.

What do you look forward to the most in the next year?

Meeting new students. I love to see not only the flame begin for advocacy, but also helping to develop the strength of their voice and watching that fire blaze. Working together in leadership development is integral and reminds us that we are never alone. I also look forward to carrying those voices to the MnSCU office and legislature to ensure what is best for students is implemented, particularly through Charting the Future.


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