Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MSUSA Alumni Association Update - September 2009

Join us!! Saturday, November 14th! MSUSA Alumni Association Annual Meeting!
MSUSA Alums from every generation will come together to reconnect and celebrate as the Alumni Association builds everlasting foundations to support today's students! Click here for more information.

22nd Annual Penny Program Reception & Silent Auction
The 22nd Annual Penny Program Reception & Silent Auction will be held on Friday, November 13th, 2009, 6:00 p.m. at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Click here for more information, and to download the invitation and RSVP form.

You can help by donating a unique item or service for the silent auction. Are you an amazing cook? Would you give a great golf lesson? Do you create your own jewelery? All of these things would be great at our silent auction! Please contact Kari Winter at to make a donation.

MN House Internship Opportunities
The Minnesota House of Representatives Educational Programs Office is pleased to announce that preparations for the 2010 Internship Program are underway, and are ready to begin accepting applications. Intern placement will begin on a rolling basis in mid-November. Interns can expect to start in early February.

MnSCU students participating in these internships will be eligible to receive a $2,500 Penny Fellowship. Students with no more than one elapsed semester between the time of graduation and the beginning of the internship are eligible. Please apply for the fellowship by November 1st!

September Conference a Success!
The MSUSA September Conference was held September 18-20th at Winona State University. Students approved the MnSCU Work Plan, agreed to distribute the MPIRG Gender & Sexual Violence Survey on their campuses, and approved funding for a Contact Management System.

Several alums also joined the students for the Friday night social event. Ryan Flynn, the WSU Alumni Association Board Member said, "On Friday night I had the pleasure to speak with several current students about MSUSA and the Alumni Association. It was so enjoyable to connect with these young leaders over our common experiences with MSUSA. These student leaders are funny, intelligent, and dedicated. They made the other Alumni and I feel welcomed and wanted. I'm very excited about future networking opportunities and encourage all alumni to attend social events like the one held at the Winona conference."

Minnesota Student Leadership Summit
MSUSA will be partnering with the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) to host the Minnesota Student Leadership Summit, October 15-18th in Bloomington. The Minnesota Student Leadership Summit will offer student leaders the chance to talk about the big issues facing higher education and to train on how to become tomorrow's leaders. Some of the dozens of workshop topics include: Running an Effective Meeting, Conflict Resolution, Time Management and Marketing your Student Government. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Penny Program Applications Due November 1st!

Hello! The Penny Program Advisory Board and the Minnesota State University Student Association are pleased to announce that the next application due date for the Penny Program awards is November 1st! Please help to spread the word by passing this on to students you know.

Federal Public Service Fellowship

The purpose of the Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship is to provide MnSCU students with the financial opportunity to grow as public servants through participation in federal government internships in the Washington, DC area.

Two fellowships of $5,000 each will be given out to students for internships in Washington D.C.

State Public Service Fellowship

The purpose of the Timothy J. Penny State Public Service Fellowship is to provide MnSCU students with the financial opportunity to grow as public servants through participation in state or local government internships.

Two fellowships of $2,500 each will be given out to students for legislative internships or an internship in Minnesota at a state agency.

Once a fellowship is granted, the successful applicant has up to one year to implement an internship activity. The Board will require confirmation from the supervisor of the internship before funds will be released. Each successful applicant will be assigned a mentor from the Board, who will assist the student in finding an appropriate internship site.

Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship

The purpose of the Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship is to recognize MnSCU students who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, and to promote their growth as community leaders.

The Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship monetarily awards two students a year with up to $1,500 each.

Additional information, including the applications, a list of possible internship sites, photos and quotes from previous Penny award recipients, and applicant guidelines can be found here.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Alumni Association Update - August 2009

September Social & Networking Event
In conjunction with the MSUSA September Conference, a networking and social event will be held 7:00-8:30 p.m., Friday, September 18th, 2009 at Winona State University. Students, MSUSA Alums, MSUSA Staff, community members, campus faculty, staff, and administration will all be in attendance! This will be a great opportunity to learn more about MSUSA, expand your network, and catch up with old friends. Please RSVP by Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 if you'll be attending.

Alums can receive the MSUSA discounted group rate at the Days Inn, 420 Cottonwood Drive in Winona, the weekend of the September Conference. There is a $25 non-refundable deposit. The single rate is $69.99 and the double is $89.99, plus tax. Call 507-454-6930 and say that you're with MSUSA to reserve a room.

2nd Annual Alumni Association November Meeting
Join us on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at the Country Inn & Suites in Woodbury for the 2nd Annual MSUSA Alumni Association meeting. All alums of MSUSA are invited to participate. At the meeting you'll hear the Boards proposal for the future, learn more about where MSUSA is currently, find new ways to become involved, participate in elections, and have some fun!

Alumni Spotlight - Yorgun Marcel
MSUSA Alum Yorgun Marcel was featured in this month's Alumni Spotlight. He served as the MSUSA State Chair from 2002-2003 and currently works as the Director of Intercultural Programs for Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Click here to read more about Yorgun.

Alumni Association Board Vacancy: MSU Moorhead
The Alumni Association is seeking a graduate of MSU Moorhead to serve on the Alumni Association Board. Please contact us if you are interested, or know of someone who would be a good fit.

22nd Annual Penny Program Reception & Silent Auction
Save the date! The 22nd Annual Penny Program Reception and Silent Auction will be held on Friday, November 13th, 2009, 6:00 p.m. at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

We're currently seeking volunteers who would like to help us plan this fun event to benefit students participating in unpaid public service internships and who have a lifelong commitment to community service. We'd love to have you involved in any stage of the planning process. Please contact Kari Winter at if you're interested.

Another way you can help is by donating a unique item or service for the silent auction. Are you an amazing cook? Would you give a great golf lesson? Do you create your own jewelery? All of these things would be great at our silent auction!

Back to School

Students began classes again this week! Please contact student leaders from your campus to offer your assistance and advice. When our alums become involved, our student advocacy efforts will become even stronger and Minnesota's public higher education will rise to the top!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Helping Veterans Get Textbooks

After hearing that there is a long wait for our students who are veterans to get their educational benefits from the federal government, we decided to evaluate whether there was anything we coul do to help, at least in the short term for now. Our colleges and universities already allow veterans attending school to defer their tuition payments until after they receive their check for educational benefits. However, there is also a living allowance that is a part of those benefits as well, and we want to make sure that the long wait for a check is not keeping veterans from being able to attend school.

Obviously textbooks are an integral part of learning in the classroom, and they are expensive to buy, especially if you are still waiting for financial aid, or in the case of veterans, for educational benefits you've earned. There is a system guideline that instructs campuses to allow students who are awaiting federal aid to also have their textbook costs deferred. However, when we asked about whether the cost of textbooks was being deferred for veterans on campuses, it seemed that very few campuses were doing so. We contacted the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of the Chancellor about this issue, and pointed out our belief that veterans with tuition deferments should be covered under this policy, and they agreed.

Information should be going out to all campuses instructing them to defer textbook costs for veterans until they receive their educational benefits and are able to pay for their books. While this is certainly far from solving the larger issue, which is the length of time it takes for veterans to receive their educational benefits, we hope that it does help those attending school this fall and in the future by ensuring access to the textbooks they need.

MSUSA plans to continue to evaluate other steps that can be taken to assist veterans attending our colleges and universities. If you or someone you know is a veteran and can help us identify problems and barriers to your education, please contact us. You can call 651.224.1518 or email

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Survey on Student Financial Aid Trends

We are currently assisting Ronald A. Wirtz, editor of the fedgazette with research on student financial aid trends for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Given the current recession, tight state budgets and rapidly rising tuition, they are trying to gauge college affordability from the students' perspective, and would like feedback from Minnesota college students like yourself.

He has posted a 10-question survey on college affordability and financial aid on SurveyMonkey. He is trying to get this into the hands of as many college students as possible.

We would like as many of our students to take this survey as possible. This has the benefit of not only creating more reliable data regarding financial aid trends, but will also help to foster a strong relationship with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

To take the survey click on this link.

If for some reason the link does not work, you can find the survey at:

After you've taken the survey be sure to forward this along to any of your friends at the seven Minnesota State universities.

Survey feedback is needed by no later than Tuesday, September 8th. This research will culminate in a cover article in the November issue of the fedgazette, a Minneapolis Fed research publication.

For more information, contact MSUSA vice chair Josh Toney at