Thursday, May 31, 2012

A farwell from State Chair Bardonner

As I reflect on the last year, I am humbled to have had the privilege and honor to serve my fellow 70,000 students at the seven MN State Universities as State Chair of the Minnesota State University Student Association.  This was a busy year and the time flew by, but a lot was accomplished in advocating on behalf of students.  First semester included participation in events held by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Governor’s Job Summit, two federal lobby trips to discuss the importance of the Pell Grant, a successful Fall Delegates conference, many board meetings, the publication of the association’s first Annual Report and the successful hire of our Executive Director Elsbeth Howe.  Spring semester was equally as busy as the Minnesota House and Senate held many hearings in regards to legislation for higher education.  Testifying in favor of a bonding bill and support for HEAPR projects, supporting the Greater MN Internship Tax Credit bill and helping to draft newly enacted textbook legislation were the highlights from this year’s legislative session.  The spring also included three events with members of the MN Congressional Delegation.  A visit at MSU-Moorhead from Senator Amy Klobuchar, a press conference at the MN State Capitol with Senator Al Franken and a small, town hall meeting with Representative Betty McCollum.  Students were thrilled to have the opportunity to tell their stories to these members, all strong advocates of public higher education.  The semester concluded with the signing of a new office space lease and a success hire of a new office manager.
Though the association faced several challenges throughout the year, staff turnover and the absence of an executive director being one, I am proud to say that with the help of my fellow officers, staff and a supportive board we not only ‘survived’ the year, but have made this a year of relationship building and pushed the association forward.  Due to our work on the Pell Grant and other federal student grant and loan  conversations, our association developed relationships with federal associations who share a common goal, to maintain access and affordability to public higher education.  These new relationships will continue in the future and will only strengthen our advocating efforts.
As every student leader knows, goals which were set at the beginning of the year are not always completed by time ones term comes to an end, I am yet again finding this to be true.  However much has been accomplished, there is always a lot of work to be done within MSUSA.  As one of the strongest state students associations across the nation we need to continue to tell our students’ stores, fight for funding for higher education and increase awareness of our association and the issues affecting our students!

Student leaders also know that any position is what you make of it and that you are only as good as those around you.  I was blessed this year to have had seven board members truly committed to the success of their fellow students, the betterment of their universities and the strategic framework of MSUSA.  Thank you to the 2011-2012 MSUSA Board of Directors and my fellow officers, for trusting my vision for the association, for your innovative thinking and for helping me to challenge the status quo.  Through our idea sharing came many more challenges, goals and expectations for the association, things that have only made us stronger!
To the MSUSA staff, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me! We worked as such an effective team, trusting, challenging and questioning each other to reach the association’s full potential during my term.  You each play an important role in the association and I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with you.
As we move into a budget year, MSUSA is positioned to continue to fight for funding for the MnSCU system to help keep tuition down!  We need more students to choose to tell their story and have their voice heard as no one understands the real cost of college more than us as students! 
I am confident the 2012-2013 officer team, with State Chair-Elect Moriah Miles leading the charge, will continue to challenge the association to think and act in new ways to make our advocacy that much more successful.  With it being an election year, the last year of MSUSA’s strategic plan and a budget year for the next Biennium, officers, board members, campus committees and staff will be need your help! Continue to check out the MSUSA website for ways to get involved!
Thank you again for the opportunity to work with you and on your behalf throughout this past year.  It has truly been an honor to serve!

All the best!
Amanda Bardonner
2011-2012 State Chair

Friday, May 18, 2012

MnSCU Legislative Session Summary


Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
2012 Legislative Session Summary

Higher Education Omnibus Bill
The House and Senate higher education committees put together a bill that passed both bodies April 27, 2012. The higher education omnibus bill, while not large, includes provisions important to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. One of those is the continuing operations language that will allow colleges and universities access to their cash in order to continue serving students if a government shutdown were to happen again.

The bill also includes an increase in the revenue fund authority from $300 million to $405 million. This language will allow campuses the opportunity to evaluate and plan, in consultation with students, for the future of revenue generating facilities including, but not limited to: dorms, student unions, dining facilities, and parking.

The bill adds categories of students to the types of students who are not required, under current law, to have a statement of immunization on file with a college or university as a prerequisite to enrolling. The new language specifically excludes students attending only extension, online, or evening or weekend adult accelerated programs.

The textbook language in the bill includes the establishment of a work group to study methods that result in lower textbook costs for students. There is also language that requires the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institutions to publish course schedules and course material lists on the institution’s Web site.
The textbook language also makes the notification to the campus bookstore of selected course material mandatory for MnSCU academic departments or instructors, and requires the notice of selection to be provided to the bookstore and students 45 days, instead of 30 days, before the start of the term in which the selected material will be used. The bookstore is also required to make reasonable efforts to notify students at least 30 days, instead of 15 days, prior to the start of the term of the most recent copyright date of the printed course material and the copyright date of the most recent prior edition of the course material, if that prior edition is acceptable for class use.

Language regarding the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) student fee, a classroom-based, content-specific assessment that captures teacher candidates’ performance in planning and delivering instruction primarily taken during the student teaching phase of a student’s education, was included in the bill and requires the Minnesota Board of Teaching to report to the K-12 and higher education legislative committees by January 5, 2013 with recommendations for eliminating lower priority tests or assessments required of teacher education students to offset the additional fees charged to students for the TPA. Currently the student is not bearing any cost for completing the TPA because the assessment is in its pilot phase.
The governor signed the bill on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. The final bill is available at:

www.revisor.mn.gov/laws/?id=270&year=2012&type=0.

Bonding Bill

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) requested $278 million ($222 million in state funding) in higher education asset and preservation and bonding projects for the 2012 legislative session. Chancellor Steven Rosenstone and Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Brian Yolitz presented the request to the Senate and House higher education committees and capital investment committees explaining to members that the system’s request covers two main areas; asset preservation projects to protect the campus facilities keeping them safe, efficient, dry, warm and code compliant; and projects to provide the necessary facilities for graduates to learn the skills required to meet business and industry’s current and 

future needs. The request can be found at: 
http://www.mnscu.edu/media/publications/pdf/bonding2012book.pdf.

In mid-January, Gov. Mark Dayton released his bonding recommendation totaling $775 million, of which $112 million was recommended for MnSCU. The Legislature introduced legislation in the area of $500 million for bonding, but the two bodies structured their bills differently.

The House worked with two bonding bills; a statewide infrastructure bill that funded $280 million in projects, of which $56 million was earmarked for MnSCU. The second bonding bill included $221 million for State Capitol restoration. The State Capitol bill failed by one vote on the House floor, so House members added the $221 million restoration project in the statewide infrastructure bill and reduced other projects, including the amount set for MnSCU. Instead of $56 million for the system, the House bill scaled the system funding to $30 million for HEAPR only.

In the Senate, members worked with just one bonding bill totaling $496 million, of which $127 million was slated for MnSCU - $32 million in HEAPR and the remaining $95 million in projects. The Senate included $25 million for the State Capitol restoration project in the same bill.

Neither body took up their bonding bill on the floor in order to send it to conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate. However, in the final days of session, the Republican leadership brought forward a $496 million bill that included $44 million for the State Capitol restoration project. With the large drop in proposed funding for the State Capitol restoration, and the exclusion of local civic center projects, there was room in the bill for other projects.

The House passed the $496 million bonding bill May 7, and sent it to the Senate for final passage. The Senate passed the bill, but also amended it, so the bill had to be sent back to the House. On May 8 the House concurred with the Senate bonding bill, passed it and sent it to Gov. Dayton.

The final bill includes $132 million ($94.7 million in state funding) for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, of which $20 million is for HEAPR, higher education asset preservation and replacement.

The individual projects include:
  •         $13.389 million for the Minneapolis Community and Technical College workforce program renovation;
  •         $13.851 million for Ridgewater College, Willmar technical instruction lab renovation;
  •         $4.606 million for Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington renovation and addition;
  •         $13.315 million for South Central College, Faribault classroom renovation and addition;
  •         $0.980 million for Anoka Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids bioscience and allied health addition;
  •         $26.292 million for North Hennepin Community College bioscience and health careers center addition;
  •         $0.500 million for Southwest Minnesota State University science lab renovation;
  •         $1.5 million for Saint Paul College health and science center design;
  •         $5 million for Century College academic partners classroom design and construction;
  •         $7.230 million for Dakota County Technical College transportation and emerging technical lab renovation;
  •         $8.746 million for Rochester Community and Technical College workforce center;
  •         $2.5 million for the system wide STEM renovation;
  •         $2.065 million for Minnesota State University, Mankato clinical science building design;
  •         $3.303 million for Bemidji State University business building addition/renovation design and demolition;
  •         $4.549 million for Northeast Higher Education District Itasca Community College demolition, renovation and addition;
  •         $4 million for St. Cloud Technical and Community College medium heavy truck and auto body addition and renovation; and
  •         $0.300 million for Northland Community and Technical College aviation maintenance facility expansion.

The final bill is available at:
www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=ueh1752.1.html&session=ls87

In addition to the HEAPR funding and projects included in the bonding bill, there is also language related to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The scope of two projects funded in the 2011 bonding bill were modified to align with the intended project description; the Normandale Community College Academic Partnership Center and Student Services project, and the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College Iron Range Engineering Program Facilities project.

There is also language that expands the authorized use of state bond appropriations made in the 2008 bonding bill for the National Hockey Center at St. Cloud State University to include HEAPR uses on the St. Cloud State University campus.

Other bill highlights related to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system

Leveraged Equipment Funding
Chapter 292, the annual forecast bill, includes funding for several items totaling $2 million including $210,000 for the GI Bill and $457,000 in fiscal year 2013 for a leveraged equipment program for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The equipment is to be used for instructional purposes for programs that the Board of Trustees has determined would produce graduates with skills for which there is a high employer need within the state. This one-time appropriation must be matched by cash or in-kind contributions from non-state sources.

K-12 Education Bill Chapter 239 includes language regarding post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO). Currently, the PSEO program allows high school juniors and seniors to take post-secondary level courses while still completing high school. The bill expands PSEO to 10th grade students by permitting them to enroll in a career or technical education course at qualified postsecondary institutions.
Basic Skills Exam Bill

Chapter 122 requires teacher candidates to pass a basic skills exam in reading, writing and math prior to becoming a licensed teacher in Minnesota. Current law allows students who have completed a teacher preparation program to receive up to three one-year licenses without passing a basic skills exam.
Online / Digital Learning Bill

Chapter 273 requires all colleges and universities who prepare teacher preparation students to include in their teacher preparation programs the knowledge and skills teacher candidates need to deliver digital and blended learning and curriculum. Staff development of teachers must include the accommodation of delivery of digital and blended learning and curriculum and engage students with technology.
Student Transition Plan Bill

Chapter 207 strongly encourages school districts to assist students by ninth grade to explore their college and career interests and aspirations and develop a plan for a smooth and successful transition to postsecondary education or employment. The plans should, among other things, provide a comprehensive academic plan for completing a college and career-ready curriculum, help students identify personal learning styles that may affect their postsecondary education and employment choices, and help students succeed at gaining access to postsecondary education and career options.

Greater Minnesota Internship Program
The tax bill passed by the House and Senate and sent to Gov. Dayton includes language regarding the Greater Minnesota Internship Program. The Office of Higher Education is to administer a grant program for eligible employers who hire interns in greater Minnesota through eligible postsecondary institutions that provide academic credit. To participate, an eligible institution must enter into a written agreement with eligible employers to provide paid internships at least 12 weeks long, determine the work experience is closely related to the student’s course of study, and provide academic credit for successful completion of the internship.

A grant for an eligible employer equals 40 percent of the compensation paid to each qualifying intern, not to exceed $1,250. An employer may receive a grant for a maximum of five interns in a fiscal year. The total amount of grants is limited to $1 million per fiscal year.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 2012 MSUSA Update

MSUSA Elects 2012-2013 Officers

The Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) is pleased to announce the election of its 2012-2013 officers. Moriah Miles was elected as State Chair, Dea Price was elected Vice Chair, and Matt Lindquist was elected Treasurer.

State Chair Elect, Moriah Miles is from Sioux Falls, SD. She is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.

Vice Chair Elect, Dea Price is from Hopkins, MN. She is attending Metropolitan State University where she is pursuing a Masters of Public Administration.

Treasurer Elect, Matt Lindquist is from Mankato, Minnesota.  He is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance.

Elections took place the weekend of the April 13-15 in Brainerd, MN during the MSUSA Spring Delegates Assembly. The new officers will take office June 1st, 2012

Metropolitan State University Student Wins Textbook Survey Kindle Drawing

We are happy to announce that Metropolitan State University student, Zong Xiong won the textbook survey Kindle Fire drawing.

1,231 students responded to the survey, which collected information about textbook costs, buying/renting textbooks, the use of e-books, availability of textbook information and more.

In addition to responding to the questions, many students who completed the survey added comments.  MSUSA plans to compile a report of the data and information collected, and will release that report in the future. It's clear that the issue of textbook costs is a significant one for today's students, and MSUSA will use the survey information in our work to reduce the cost of textbooks. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey!

Legislative Update


Higher Ed Policies Signed into Law

The higher education omnibus bill, SF 1573, was passed and signed into law by Gov. Dayton. The bill includes many provisions that MSUSA worked hard to get passed and are important to student success and reducing costs.

The first major provision is the textbook language which includes the establishment of a work group to study methods that result in lower textbook costs for students. This was one of MSUSA’s key policy initiatives. MSUSA hopes that this work group will improve the delivery of textbooks to students to enhance the learning experience while also reducing the out-of-control costs.

The next major initiative MSUSA helped pass is the continuing operations language that will allow colleges and universities to continue serving students if a government shutdown were to happen again. Last year there was confusion about the possibility of summer courses ending early without credit awarded because of the state shutdown. This provision will clarify what happens in the event of a state shutdown in the future.

The bill also includes an increase in the revenue fund authority from $300 million to $405 million. This language will allow campuses the opportunity to evaluate and plan, in consultation with students, for the future of revenue generating facilities including, but not limited to: residence halls, student unions, dining facilities, and parking.

MnSCU Bonding Projects

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) was appropriated $132 million $94.7 million in bonding projects and asset preservation. The university projects are listed below:

  •   $20 million for HEAPR
  •   $500 thousand for Southwest Minnesota State University science lab renovation;
  •   $2.5 million for the system wide STEM renovation;
  •   $2.065 million for Minnesota State University, Mankato clinical science building design
  •   $3.303 million for Bemidji State University business building addition/renovation design and demolition
The remaining dollars were used for projects at the MnSCU college campuses.

Doubling of the Stafford Loan Interest Rate

The US House passed a bill that would extend the 3.4% interest rate one more year by cutting a controversial part of the healthcare reform law. The US Senate took action on a bill on May 8th that would have also extended the 3.4% for one year but the bill failed to reach the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster.

MSUSA is urging our congressional representatives to continue working together to find a solution to this problem. Student loan debt has recently grown to more than $1 trillion. On average, the doubling of the interest rate would add approximately $1,000 for every year a student takes out a loan, adding up to more than $4,000 over a four-year education. This rate hike could not come at a worse time.

The national recession has led to weak state economies, which in turn have squeezed college budgets. The result is higher tuition costs being passed on to students and families throughout the country. In 2011, 46 states dealt with budget shortfalls, resulting in double-digit tuition increases. In Minnesota we had historic cuts our higher education systems and our universities all saw a tuition increase.

We must continue our work to keep a college education within reach by stopping interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling this July.

For more weekly updates on the legislative activity of the Minnesota State University Student Association check out our blog every Friday.

MSUSA Participates in Events with U.S. Representative McCollum and Senator Franken


Rep. Betty McCollum Listening Session

On the morning of Monday, April 30th students from MSUSA and the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) were able to sit down with U.S. Congresswoman, Betty McCollum at Century College in White Bear Lake to share their stories. The main focus on the listening session was on the proposed increase to the Federal Stafford loan interest rate, but stories were shared regarding many other issues students face while trying to pay for college.

Sen. Al Franken Press Conference

Later in the morning on Monday, April 30th student leaders from MSUSA and MSCSA participated in a press conference with U.S. Senator, Al Franken to address the doubling of student loan interest rates and to introduce the Senator's bill aimed at simplifying the financial aid awards process by creating standardized student financial aid letters.


2012 Spring Penny Program Fellows

The MSUSA and the Penny Program Board would like to congratulate its 2012 Penny Fellowship and Scholarship winners.

Ryan Newbloom is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship, and is pursuing an internship with a Congressional office in Washington, D.C.  Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ryan is attending Normandale Community College and eventually plans to obtain a degree in political science.

Alexandra Griffin is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship to intern with Wisconsin Congressman Senator Ron Kind in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hillsboro, Wisconsin; Alexandra is attending Winona State University where she is pursuing a degree in public administration and political science.

Margaret Pence is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship to intern with The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C. Originally from Westport, South Dakota, Margaret is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a degree in international relations and communication studies.

Kayla Winstrom is being awarded a $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship for her lifelong dedication to volunteerism, including her current work with Student Ambassadors and Health Peers Reaching Out. Originally from Osceola, Wisconsin, Kayla is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a degree in dental hygiene.

Kao Xing is being awarded a $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship for his leadership in community service including his mentorship work with the AmeriCorps and Picture My Neighborhood Program. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Kao is attending Winona State University, where he is pursuing a degree in mathematics and math education.

For more information on the Penny Program click here.

Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship 2012 Spring Recipient

The Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) and the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship Board are pleased to honor Francis Ray Cristobal for his commitment to student leadership at Metropolitan State University. Francis has been chosen to receive the $2,000 Spring 2012 award.

Francis, originally from Iligan, Phillippines, has a Bachelor of Arts in Management Information Systems and International Business from Augsburg College and a Masters in Management Information Systems from Metropolitan State University where he is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Aviation Management to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Francis is active in student organizations at Metropolitan State, and currently serves as President of the International Student Organization (ISO), and is Co-Founder and Vice President of The Walkabout Group. In addition, he was recently re-elected to Student Senate for the 2012-2013 school year. 


For more information about the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship click here.


Graduating?
Join the Alumni Association!  

Have you been actively involved with the work of MSUSA during your college career? Are you graduating this spring, but still want to stay involved advocating for the interests of state university students in Minnesota? Well you're in luck. By joining the MSUSA Alumni Association you can stay involved with our advocacy efforts, network with other alumni and mentor current students.

Contact MSUSA Director of Communications, Jered Weber at jweber@msusa.org or 651.224.1518 to sign up for our monthly alumni updates and to learn how you can continue your work on behalf of state university students well beyond graduation.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Legislative Update


Higher Ed Policies Signed into Law

The higher education omnibus bill, SF 1573, was passed and signed into law by Gov. Dayton. The bill includes many provisions that MSUSA worked hard to get passed and are important to student success and reducing costs.

The first major provision is the textbook language which includes the establishment of a work group to study methods that result in lower textbook costs for students. This was one of MSUSA’s key policy initiatives. MSUSA hopes that this work group will allow the delivery of textbooks to students can be used to enhance the learning experience while also reducing the out-of-control costs. There is also language that requires MnSCU institutions to publish course schedules and course material lists on the institution’s Web site. 
The textbook language also makes the notification to the campus bookstore of selected course material mandatory for MnSCU academic departments or instructors, and requires the notice of selection to be provided to the bookstore and students 45 days, instead of 30 days, before the start of the term. The bookstore is also required to make reasonable efforts to notify students at least 30 days, instead of 15 days, prior to the start of the term of the most recent copyright date of the printed course material and the copyright date of the most recent prior edition of the course material, if that prior edition is acceptable for class use. By moving these dates sooner we hope students have access to the information they need to shop at various sources for the lowest price textbooks instead of being forced to buy from the bookstore because of inadequate notification.

The next major initiative MSUSA helped pass is the continuing operations language that will allow colleges and universities to continue serving students if a government shutdown were to happen again. Last year there was confusion about the prospect that our summer courses would end early without credit awarded because of the state shutdown. This provision will clarify what happens in the event of a state shutdown in the future.
The bill also includes an increase in the revenue fund authority from $300 million to $405 million. This language will allow campuses the opportunity to evaluate and plan, in consultation with students, for the future of revenue generating facilities including, but not limited to: dorms, student unions, dining facilities, and parking.

In conjunction with the Inter-Faculty Organization (IFO-the university professors union, MSUSA advocated for language regarding the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) student fee, a classroom-based, content-specific assessment that captures teacher candidates’ performance in planning and delivering instruction primarily taken during the student teaching phase of a student’s education, was included in the bill and requires the Minnesota Board of Teaching to report to the K-12 and higher education legislative committees by January 5, 2013 with recommendations for eliminating lower priority tests or assessments required of teacher education students to offset the additional fees charged to students for the TPA. Currently the student is not bearing any cost for completing the TPA because the assessment is in its pilot phase.

Other Policy Provisions that Did Not:

The Omnibus Tax bill that was sent to Gov. Dayton included $1 million for a higher ed internship grant program that would grant money to businesses in greater Minnesota for hiring paid interns. Unfortunately this provision was included in a highly controversial bill that was vetoed by the Governor. 

MnSCU Bonding Projects

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) was appropriated $132 million $94.7 million in bonding projects and asset preservation. The university projects are listed below:
·               $20 million for HEAPR
·               $500 thousand for Southwest Minnesota State University science lab renovation;
·               $2.5 million for the system wide STEM renovation;
·               $2.065 million for Minnesota State University, Mankato clinical science building design
·               $3.303 million for Bemidji State University business building addition/renovation design and demolition
The remaining dollars were used for projects at the MnSCU college campuses.

Doubling of the Stafford Loan Interest Rate

The US House passed a bill that would extend the 3.4% interest rate one more year but is paid for by cutting a controversial part of the healthcare reform law. The US Senate took action on a bill on May 8th that would have also extended the 3.4% for one year but the bill failed to reach the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster so the debate was stalled.

MSUSA is urging our congressional representatives to continue working together to find a solution to this problem. Student loan debt has recently grown to more than $1 trillion. On average, the doubling of the interest rate would add approximately $1,000 for every year a student takes out a loan, adding up to more than $4,000 over a four-year education. The rate hike could not come at a worse time.

The national recession has led to weak state economies, which in turn have squeezed college budgets. The result is higher tuition costs being passed on to students and families throughout the country. In 2011, 46 states dealt with budget shortfalls, resulting in double-digit tuition increases. In Minnesota we had historic cuts our higher education systems and our universities all saw a tuition increase.

We must continue our work to keep a college education within reach by stopping interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans from doubling this July.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Penny Program Announces Spring 2012 Recipients


The Minnesota State University Student Association and the Penny Program Board would like to congratulate its 2012 Penny Fellowship and Scholarship winners:

Ryan Newbloom is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship, and is pursuing an internship with a Congressional office in Washington, D.C.  Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ryan is attending Normandale Community College and eventually plans to obtain a degree in political science.

Alexandra Griffin is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship to intern with Wisconsin Congressman Senator Ron Kind in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hillsboro, Wisconsin; Alexandra is attending Winona State University where she is pursuing a degree in public administration and political science.

Margaret Pence is being awarded a $5,000 Timothy J. Penny Federal Public Service Fellowship to intern with The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C. Originally from Westport, South Dakota, Margaret is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a degree in international relations and communication studies.

Kayla Winstrom is being awarded a $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship for her lifelong dedication to volunteerism, including her current work with Student Ambassadors and Health Peers Reaching Out. Originally from Osceola, Wisconsin, Kayla is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a degree in dental hygiene.

Kao Xing is being awarded a $1,500 Barbara J. Penny Community Service Scholarship for his leadership in community service including his mentorship work with the AmeriCorps and Picture My Neighborhood Program. Originally from Rochester, Minnesota, Kao is attending Winona State University, where he is pursuing a degree in mathematics and math education.

Nikki Sabby, MSUSA Vice-Chair and Co-Chair of the Penny Program Board, believes “The Penny Program awarded exceptional students this spring who will be taking part in great internships.  Each of them has already been really active on campus and within their communities where they've made positive changes.”

The Penny Program is named in honor of former Congressman and member of MSUSA, Tim Penny, and in memory of his wife, Barb Penny.  The program awards Minnesota state college and university students who participate in public service internships and show a commitment to community service. Since 1987, The Penny Program has awarded approximately $200,000 to students.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

JPS Spring 2012 Recipient: Francis Ray Cristobal


The Minnesota State University Student Association (MSUSA) and the Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship Board are pleased to award Francis Ray Cristobal for his commitment to student leadership at Metropolitan State University. Francis has been chosen to receive the $2,000 Spring 2012 award.

Francis Ray Cristobal was born in the urban-industrial city of Iligan, Philippines, also locally known as the City of Waterfalls. He currently resides in Woodbury, Minnesota. He is the oldest of four siblings. He came to United States for college education and attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Management Information Systems and International Business. He went on to complete a Master in Management Information Systems from Metropolitan State University, College of Management, in St. Paul. He is now back at Metropolitan State University to complete a third BA in Aviation Management to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Francis is active in student organizations at Metropolitan State, and currently serves as President of the International Student Organization (ISO), and is Co-Founder and Vice President of The Walkabout Group. He was recently re-elected to the Student Senate for 2012-2013, placing first in the popular vote out of twenty candidates.

Francis has visited 24 countries and 202 cities. He enjoys backpacking around the world and meeting and interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures. His favorite trip was an 8400-mile road trip from Minnesota to the West Coast then north to Alaska and back through Banff National Park.

Francis actively seeks new experiences and adventures which will better his understanding of himself and the world. He enjoys making new friends and believes that every person has a story worth sharing. He is also a strong believer in making a difference, through simple actions with unwavering dedication.

In November of 2007, MSUSA lost a highly valued student leader.  Jared Stene led his peers in advocacy for public higher education and was able to make a real and lasting impact during the all too short time he had here with us.  Jared was a student at Winona State University.  He served as the Student Body President and on the MSUSA Board of Directors.



In an effort to recognize his leadership, the MSUSA Board of Directors chose to honor Jared's hard work and commitment by creating a scholarship in his name.  The Jared P. Stene Student Leadership Scholarship is a way to honor the phenomenal accomplishments Jared had, and to carry forward Jared's belief in opportunity for all who wished to pursue higher education.  This scholarship will be awarded to students who share Jared's leadership and passion for student advocacy.  The financial support will assist students in continuing to lead others at a time when tuition continues to rise.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Alumni Association Update: May 2012


Annual Meeting and Picnic June 9th, 2012
The MSUSA Alumni Association Annual Meeting will take place on June 9, 2012 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm at Memorial Park in Shakopee, Minnesota (1801 County Road 101 E).  The Annual Meeting will be held in conjunction with the annual picnic.

This meeting is open to all Minnesota State University Student Association alumni and elections for the Secretary/Treasurer, Metropolitan, and Moorhead board members will take place at the meeting. If you are interested in serving on the Alumni Association Board, please click here to review the election information.

Following the Annual Meeting and picnic, those interested should also join us for an afternoon of horse racing fun at nearby Canterbury Park.

Candidates Sought for Alumni Association Board
On June 9, 2012 the MSUSA Alumni Association will hold its Annual Meeting.  At the meeting, the following members of the Board will be elected for two-year terms:
  • Secretary/Treasurer of the Board
  • Campus-Specific Board Members from:
    • Metropolitan State University
    • Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Click here to download an Application for Election.  Please send completed applications to MSUSA Director of Communications, Jered Weber at jweber@msusa.org no later than noon on May 24, 2012. 

Alumni Association By-laws allow for electronic votes to be tallied in addition to the votes at the Annual Meeting.  If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, please look for information related to the Applicants in a future email.

Click here for the procedures which are followed during the Alumni Association Board elections.

If you have any questions about the election, or about serving on the Alumni Association Board, please contact any of the current Officers or Board Members. 
MSUSA Alumni Association Board of Directors Meeting Thursday, May 3rd
The MSUSA Alumni Association Board of Directors will be meeting this upcoming Thursday to discuss potential bylaw changes, last minute details for the Annual Meeting and Picnic, and other important topics. Interested in learning more, contact Josh Martin at jcmartin7872@gmail.com.

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Schwingler
Click here to read the May alumni spotlight featuring Ryan Schwingler. Ryan is a Bemidji State University graduate. He served on the MSUSA Board of Directors from 2008-2009. Ryan served as the Student Senate Advisor at Minneapolis Community and Technical college from 2009-2011 and is currently teaching at Amnuayyidhya School in Thailand.
Alumni Sponsored Internships
Are you a successful alumnus looking to help current state university students? The Minnesota State University Student Association Alumni Association has created a new section on the MSUSA website for internships provided by MSUSA alumni. Please contact MSUSA Director of Communications, Jered Weber at jweber@msusa.org if you have any internships you would like to see posted to the website.
Alumni Happy Hour, Grumpy's in Roseville Tuesday, April 24
The MSUSA Alumni Association held a Happy Hour at Grumpy's in Roseville on Tuesday, April 24. Alumni from all many of the state universities attended to enjoy networking and reminiscing about their MSUSA experiences. Stay tuned to these e-mail to recieve updates on future socials.

Legislative Update

Higher Education Omnibus Bills

The higher education omnibus conference committee came to an agreement Wednesday, April 25 on the higher education bill, SF 1573. Conferees accepted the continuing operations language that was in the Senate bill but not the House bill. This language will allow colleges and universities access to their cash in order to continue serving students if a government shutdown were to happen again. Also included in the final bill is the increase in the revenue fund authority from $300 million to $405 million. This language will allow campuses the opportunity to evaluate and plan, in consultation with students, for the future of revenue generating facilities including, but not limited to: dorms, student unions, dining facilities, and parking.

The final textbook language is a hybrid of the House and Senate bills. Textbook language includes the establishment of a work group to study methods that result in lower textbook costs for students.

The Higher Ed bill now heads back to both bodies for final approval and is then sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.
Bonding Bill

On Friday, April 20, the House Ways and Means Committee took up the bonding bill that originally included $280 million of statewide infrastructure projects, of which $56 million was slated for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. Committee Chair Larry Howes, R-Walker, introduced a delete-all amendment totaling $443.9 million, including $221 million for the State Capitol restoration.

The amended bill includes $30 million in repair and restoration (HEAPR) for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. The projects originally included in the House bonding bill have been removed.

As a reminder the Senate bonding bill is a $496 million bonding bill, which includes $127.028 million for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Included in the bill is $32 million for higher education asset preservation and replacement (HEAPR). The college and university projects include:
  • $13.389 million for the Minneapolis Community and Technical College workforce program renovation;
  • $13.851 million for Ridgewater College, Willmar technical instruction lab renovation;
  • $4.606 million for Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington renovation and addition;
  • $13.315 million for South Central College, Faribault classroom renovation and addition;
  • $0.980 million for Anoka Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids bioscience and allied health addition;
  • $26.292 million for North Hennepin Community College bioscience and health careers center addition;
  • $0.500 million for Southwest Minnesota State University science lab renovation;
  • $1.5 million for Saint Paul College health and science center design;
  • $5 million for Century College academic partners classroom design and construction;
  • $7.230 million for Dakota County Technical College transportation and emerging technical lab renovation;
  • $2 million for the system wide STEM renovation;
  • $2.065 million for Minnesota State University, Mankato clinical science building design;
  • $4 million for St. Cloud Technical and Community College medium heavy truck and auto body addition and renovation; and
  • $0.300 million for Northland Community and Technical College aviation maintenance facility expansion
Special thanks to our Director of Government Relations, Jonathan Bohn for providing this update. For legislative updates every Friday afternoon, check out our blog.

MSUSA Elects 2012-2013 Officers
MSUSA is pleased to announce the election of its 2012-2013 officers:
Moriah Miles was elected to the position of State Chair. She is from Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.
Dea Price was elected to the position of Vice Chair. She is from Hopkins, Minnesota and is attending Metropolitan State University where she is pursuing a Masters of Public Administration.
Matt Lindquist was elected to the position of Treasurer. He is from Mankato, Minnesota and is attending Minnesota State University, Mankato where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance.