Freshmen, be wary of answering unknown knocks at your door. Napping patrons of Coffman Union, don’t get too deep into your REM cycles. And for anyone offering you a free T-shirt, know that accepting that T-shirt is nothing short of a blood oath.
Yes, the campaign season has officially begun. Whether the happenings of student government interest you, this campaign season might. Vying for the top spot of Minnesota Student Association president and vice president are a mixture of personalities. With last year’s runner-up, candidates with no previous MSA experience and a freshman on the ballot, there’s potential for this to seem more like a reality TV show than an actual campaign. We as a campus must avoid being dazed by the jargon and the excitement. We must be looking to pick the candidate who will best represent our university. To me, the choice is clear.
Mick Hedberg and Dionne Griffin represent the change student government needs. As it stands, MSA is disconnected from its constituents. The group is not representative of the campus racially, culturally or across the seven colleges. Ask someone what MSA is or what they do and they are not likely to know. Hedberg and Griffin want to change this. They have spent the last month reaching out to groups that don’t typically involve themselves in student government. From the Minnesota International Student Association to the Asian-American Student Union, they have been asking them what they want to see, and the answer is simple. They want unity.
While the idea of uniting groups may seem trivial, it’s necessary. How can an organization hope to maximize its potential when it is bureaucratic and fragmented? How can it properly advocate for students? How can it make an impression at the state level? It simply can’t.
I won’t spew the laundry list of projects, ideas or stances in Hedberg and Griffin’s platform because that won’t differentiate them from the other candidates. All candidates will agree we could use more school spirit and lower tuition. They’ll all tell you MSA needs to reach out to more students and be more transparent. They will be well-spoken, organized and engaging. However, if you asked them how they hope to accomplish this, you may find them at a loss for words.
Hedberg and Griffin have already started to work to remedy the underlying problem in student government. They are working on it now, so they may be more efficient in the fall. And with only nine months to accomplish their goals, efficiency is crucial. A vote for Hedberg and Griffin is a vote for unity and a more effective student body government. Come April, I hope the student body feels the same way.
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