Wednesday, August 31, 2011

24th Annual Penny Program Fundraising Reception & Silent Auction

You are cordially invited to attend the 24th Annual Penny Program Reception. All proceeds benefit the Penny Program.

Friday, November 11, 2011
6:00-9:00pm; Program begins at 8:00pm
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park

$35 per person advance payment
$40 per person at the door
$180 for the Penny Perennials - 6 tickets

Sponsorship Opportunities
Penny Plumes - $600
Includes 10 tickets, recognition at the event and on website, and jazz band sponsorship

Penny Petals - $400
Includes 6 tickets, recognition at the event and on the website, and program sponsorship

Penny Pods - $250
Includes 4 tickets, recognition at the event and on website, and games sponsorship

Please RSVP by November 1st by registering and paying online, returning the printed form, or calling the MSUSA office at 651-224-1518.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Welcome Back to Another Exciting Academic Year

As we reach the middle of the first week of fall semester, let me take the time to welcome you all to another academic year.  Whether you are new or returning, consider yourself traditional or non-traditional, or are an undergrad or a graduate student, I congratulate you on your decision to obtain a higher education degree from one of our seven state universities!  Your unique educational journey will help you to become a more dynamic thinker and provide you an opportunity for success in the future. 

I challenge each of you to make the most of your college experience.  Get involved in your campus community and take advantage of the many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom.

One way you can do this is to get involved with MSUSA. Check out this video to learn more:

MSUSA is always looking for dedicated students to help in our advocacy efforts! If you are interested in getting involved please contact me at or Director of Campus Organizing, Matt Smriga at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Donating to a Good Cause One Search at a Time.

Whether you use the internet to search for information or shop for the good deals, you can help a student pay for his or her higher education when you use GoodSearch ( as your search engine and shopping destination.

Enter “MSUSA” in the search box select the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship as your cause. One cent is raised for every search, and a percentage of every purchase made is donated to the cause. As you're preparing to head back to school by buying your textbooks and supplies, shopping done online through Amazon, Apple, Ebay, Target, and many other stores, can benefit the JPS Scholarship, if you select our cause. Use GoodSearch and help our future leaders.

Searching made even easier! Download the GoodSearch toolbar today to search/shop for the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

JPS Scholarship Intern Spotlight: Justin Hiniker

Alma Mater: Winona State University
Graduation Year: Spring 2010
Major & Minor: BA-English, BA-Psychology
Hometown: Truman, MN

Involvement in MSUSA: Delegates Conferences, Student Leadership Conference (in assoc. with MSCSA) and a Diversity Conference

Involvement on campus: I was involved in two student clubs, held both senator and committee chair positions in student government, and represented students in three all-university committees.

Graduate school plans: I'm excited to start my first year at the University of St. Thomas in the Leadership in Student Affairs master's program.

Future goals: My primary goal is student development in higher education. Ideally, I'd like to work with student conduct, citizenship, and activities, combining the three to create a process of development for students to become stewards of their community.

Hobbies: I'm an avid bibliophile, so you'll find me nose-deep in the book section of any store or thrift shop. I also enjoy spelunking through Wikipedia; collecting rocks; and watching, reading, or listening to anything in which Joss Whedon has been involved.

Fun fact!: My selective movie collection includes "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "The Addam's Family Values," and the entire Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle collection.

Why do you want to be the JPS Intern?: I want to help student leaders by promoting the scholarship. Higher education is difficult enough to afford, and students' effort in improving their campus community is something that should be recognized and awarded.

Favorite story or memory about Jared?: I was fortunate enough to have been one of the regular attending members of the Price Is Right Club, which was founded by Jared!

Anything else you'd like to include?: I'm really excited to get involved in supporting such a fantastic organization and a terrific award.

You can contact Justin about the JPS Scholarship by emailing him here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Board Retreat Synopsis

The MSUSA Board of Directors and Campus Coordinators met this weekend in Bemidji to learn about our association and plan for the upcoming academic year.  Friday night began with an intensive overview of legislative and MnSCU updates.  Director of Government Relations, Jonathan Bohn, provided a review of the 2011 State Legislative Session and introduced the role of the campus lobby core and the potential "hot topics" for the 2012 State Legislative Session.  Conference attendees also received an overview of the Federal Lobby Trip and had a discussion about Pell Grants and future funding conversations.

Jon and I also presented on student consultation and stressed the importance of this process at every level of decision making.  Our student association is unique in that the state of Minnesota and the MnSCU system recognize the importance of consultation as part of the decision making process.  Our board members have the opportunity on their respective campuses to participate in conversations with campus administration discussing items not many students are privy to; but for those conversations to be productive our Student Association Presidents must work with their administration to set expectations for consultation and do their part to stay included.  I am confident each board member will continue to remain active in University conversations and feel consulted in all major decisions.

On Saturday the other staff members present had the opportunity to explain different aspects of MSUSA including, our three affiliate boards representing our two scholarships and the alumni association, our Contact Management System and overall communication to students. 

The second half of the day Saturday was filled with conversations about campus and association priorities.  The MSUSA Board met and set expectations for the year and brainstormed priorities for the upcoming year.  In another breakout session the Campus Coordinators met with Director of Campus Organizing Matt Smriga and Vice Chair Nikki Sabby to outline advocacy goals and expectations of the campus committees.  These breakout sessions provided clear expectations and will help our association accomplish our goals for this upcoming year!

The MSUSA Board of Directors officialy met Sunday to conduct business.  The Board confirmed appointments to the Jared P. Stene Leadership Scholarship Board and passed the new MSUSA Accountability Policy.  The accountability policy sets clear expectations for behavior at MSUSA events and will serve to ensure our conferences are as beneficial as possible.

The Board discussed several items they will take action on in September.  As our association works to increase visibility and sets the direction we wish to go, we must decide how to structure diversity programming and advocacy and develop a plan to maintain the structure.  Our association has a commitment to including all students no matter their background and needs to build a model of advocacy that supports this commitment.   Look for more to come regarding this topic after the Board meets again in September.

This August retreat served as a great opportunity for campuses to come together and discuss student issues.  Many board members found the issues they are dealing with on their campuses or in their communities are issues other schools have experienced.  Through brainstorming and information sharing our board members left the conference excited to return to their respective campuses ready to advocate for student centered change!

I look forward to more opportunities for our student leaders to come together and discuss these campus specific issues.  Each leader has a passion for the work they do and will truly work to implement change on their campuses.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Countdown to the August Board/Campus Coordinator Retreat

Tomorrow, Friday, August 5, 2011 Board members and MSUSA Campus Coordinators will come from accross the state to meet at beautiful Bemidji State University for the August Board and Campus Coordinator Retreat.  The MSUSA staff and officers have been hard at work planning and preparing materials for what is sure to be another successful conference.

This retreat will serve as an opportunity for our MSUSA Board and Campus Coordinators to learn more about our association, strategic plan, work plans and most importantly to bond with our staff and officers.  After this weekend of planning and workshops the board members and campus coordinators will be prepared to spread the word about MSUSA and help represent all of our stakeholders; the 75,000+ students who attend the seven universities in the MnSCU System. 

Our campus student leaders will discuss potential policy and legislative changes, funding challenges, cuts to campuses and other issues facing the students of Minnesota.

Look for a blog next week to recap the conference and any decisions made by the MSUSA Board of Directors!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alumni Update: July 2011

Nine Alumni Attend Summer Picnic
Thank you to everyone who attended the summer picnic on Sunday, July 17th in Mendota Heights. Nine alumni attended and took a quiz about the Alumni Association, discussed current MSUSA happenings and flipped through the MSUSA scrapbook. Hopefully we'll see you at a future event!

FY11 Successes
Congratulations Alumni Association! You've had many successes over the last year. Over 45 alumni attended events, served as mentors, spoke at conferences and completed Alumni Spotlights. Help us to continue to grow this year!

Hiring: Executive Director

The Minnesota State University Student Association is hiring an executive director. Those interested in applying should click here for more information. Deadline for applicants is August 12th, 2011.

Accepting Board Applications
The MSUSA Alumni Association Board is currently accepting applications for two positions representing Metropolitan State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Please contact Josh Martin, Board Chair, if you are interested.

Chancellor Rosenstone Begins, McCormick Retires

Monday, August 1st marks the first day of Chancellor Rosenstone's service to the MnSCU system as it's fourth chancellor. Click here to read a Star Tribune Editorial about Chancellor McCormick's successful service to the MnSCU system over the last 10 years.

Federal Debt Ceiling Deal

Congress and the President reached a deal late Sunday evening to increase the United States debt limit and cut $2.4 trillion in projected spending over 10 years. The deal includes a $20 billion INCREASE in Pell Grant funding. However, it ends the subsidized stafford loan program for graduate students. The increase in the Pell is great news but we must remain active to stop any possible cuts as Congress and the President move forward on a budget when the current continuing resolution expires on September 30th. Click here for more information.

Hiring: Penny Program Development Intern
Apply now to be the Fall 2011 Penny Program Development Intern. Current and recent students from Minnesota state colleges and universities may apply. The intern will work out of the MSUSA office up to 530 hours and receive up to $4,000.
In order to acquire a high quality pool of applicants, the person who informs the hired student of this open position will receive a $25 reward.

$500 Reward! Penny Program 25th Anniversary Logo Contest

Please help us to spread the word about this opportunity to students you know!
The Penny Program will be celebrating it's 25th Anniversary in 2012 and would like to have an eye-catching logo to use on special items for the occasion and on communications about the program. The logo contest winner will receive $500! Only current MnSCU students may submit proposals. Proposals must be submitted by September 1st, 2011. Please send the entry from your school email account and include your name, school and phone number when applying. Submit proposals to Kari Winter. Proposals must be submitted as an EPS or JPEG file. Our goal is to choose an award winner by Friday, September 16th.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Debt Ceiling Deal

Congress and the President reached a deal late Sunday evening to increase the United States debt limit and cut $2.4 in projected spending.

The deal includes a $20 billion INCREASE in Pell Grant funding. However, it ends the subsidized stafford loan program for graduate students.

The increase in Pell is great news but we must remain active to stop any possible cuts as Congress and the President move forward on a budget when the current continuing resolution expires on September 30th.

Please see more details of the debt limit deal here.