Student Senate Column: Advocating at the capitol

Pictured from left to right: Robert Ellis, Sheldon Fitwi, Estefania Navarro. (Photo: Submitted by Sheldon Fitwi)

By Sheldon Fitwi
Student Senate Director of Public Relations

Hello once again students and faculty of MCTC,

I hope that everyone has had an amazing semester so far. During the month of February we made some noticeable advancements within the Student Senate. Namely the proposal to the by-laws that would grant members within the student led initiative, AME, voting rights within the student government. The proposed amendment to the by-laws will be voted on during the Mar. 18 Senate meeting.

MCTC recently sent five students to the state capital to participate in Advocacy Day that was run by the Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA). I am fortunate to have been one of the lucky participants during this event. It was an event that MSCSA organized that allowed students the opportunity to talk with their state legislatures about issues that are important to their school lives. The participation from the many student leaders within MSCSA was phenomenal. Topics that we discussed with our state legislators included:

  1.     College affordability – The MnSCU Board of Trustees’ requested $142 million dollars in order to maintain a tuition freeze for a third year.
  2.     Financial Aid to help all students – There is a Living and Miscellaneous Expenses (LME) allowance portion of the Minnesota Pell Grant formula that is currently below the nine-month poverty level by about $263 dollars. The nine month poverty level is based off an old calculation that hasn’t kept up with students’ current economic needs. Having this allowance raised in order to keep up with the poverty level greatly increases a student’s chance at being successful.
  3.     Credit Transfer Improvements– Even though the MnSCU system has been slowly trudging towards MSCSA’s goal of clear and effective transfer within all institutions, we still need that little extra push from the legislature.

Recently, the elected officers and representatives of MCTC’s Student Senate released a resolution on the transfer plan, which you can find on MCTC’s intranet page. The resolution states that we, as student leaders, wish for clearer transfer pathways within MnSCU. The resolution for the transfer curriculum is part of the Charting the Future initiative.

I would like to mention that in April, all positions on the executive board of the senate will be open for elections. Stop by the Student Senate office in H-2903 for more details.

In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to honor Estefania Navarro (Nia), Vice President of the Student Senate. Nia is among those who qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and has recently been featured in the Star Tribune to talk about it. Nia, your ongoing hard work has been an inspiration to many. I know I wouldn’t be in my current position within the Student Senate if it wasn’t for your kind words and motivation. Thank you for being an awesome leader; working with you has been a real pleasure!

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