Holistic Accessibility & Community Healing

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities to reckon with structural inequities that it has long refused to face. The pandemic has further exacerbated these inequities which have made higher education in the United States even more inaccessible. Students have been grappling with their academic pursuits and financial hardships due to the increased cost of living in the Twin Cities. Students are struggling with the physical, emotional, and mental burden of this perpetual pandemic. These struggles have coincided with repeated exposure to racial trauma due to systemic racism and police brutality. Brutality that resulted in the senseless murder of Philando Castile, Isak Aden, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Amir Locke, and countless other Black and Brown bodies. 

 

Thus, our platform is centralized on making our institution more holistically accessible for students, especially underrepresented students. Our platform consists of six pillars: health & wellness, academic affairs, diversity, equity, and inclusion, basic needs, campus safety and infrastructure, and environmental accountability. Through a variety of advocacy initiatives that address these six pillars, we strive to prioritize student success and their overall wellbeing to uphold the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities' commitment to its students. 

Along with our platform, we wanted to offer you a glimpse of the vision we have for changing your student organization for the better. Internal restructuring will benefit students by ensuring that what goes on behind the scenes is ethical and produces meaningful, impactful, and long-lasting change for students across our three campuses. 

Minnesota Student Association Internal Structure

  • Provide more structure for the existing First-Year internship and Representative to the Regents(R2R) and Government & Legislative Affairs (GLA) fellowship programs in order to ensure a positive and valuable student experience

  • Bridge the disconnect between Forum, staff, and the executive board by increasing all-staff activities and facilitating mixed collaboration opportunities and discussion between each entity

  • Construct and implement a more detailed structure for Student Group Representatives (SGRs) to communicate with each other about the advocacy priorities and experiences within their respective groups, 

  • Provide First-Year interns with broad and collaborative experiences so that they continue their meaningful work in our organization,

  • Reassess and reevaluate the staff structure, positions, accountability, and dynamics within the organization

However, this work cannot be done without the support of this institution's most valuable stakeholders: students. We acknowledge that the Minnesota Student Association (MSA) has not historically maintained positive relationships with various campus communities, leading to a lack of trust in the organization. Furthermore, COVID-19 has made it difficult for MSA to foster meaningful and long-lasting connections with other student organizations. We aim to heal and re-build these relationships by actively engaging in community-based outreach to underserved students. We seek to leverage our collective large platform to amplify and uplift the tremendous initiatives that student groups have already been tirelessly working on for years. We believe that it is through the restoration of these relationships that we will find our path forward.

 

The mission of the Minnesota Student Association is to represent, support, and advocate on the behalf of the undergraduate student body. We strive to collectively heal our campus community and make it more holistically accessible by collaborating with student organizations, University administrators, and legislators at all levels of governance to develop and implement tangible solutions to address students' concerns and dismantle the barriers to higher education. 

​Gophers, we are ready to give you our very best and break down barriers. You are worth the effort, time, and work to make our university a place that is safe and prosperous for all students.​

 

In advocacy, 

Flora and Zeke

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