Top Fifteen Accomplishments for the 2016-2017 Students United Board of Directors

Top Ten Fifteen Accomplishments for the 2016-2017 Students United Board of Directors

I started this article planning to title it “The Top 10 Greatest Things the Students United Board Did This Year!” or maybe the “Ten Signs that Your Students United Board Accomplished a Ton!” or even “10 Reasons to Love Your Students United Board of Directors Even More!”

But there are more than ten items. As I started writing I had at least 15 major items that this Board accomplished for the students of Minnesota’s state universities. Each item on this list took perseverance, teamwork, compromise and critical thinking and therefore I am very proud to present you with a top 15 list of major Students United Board accomplishments by area:

In Governance and Organizational Planning:

1. Passed a budget that provides for a new staff position, a permanent, full-time Director of Equity and Inclusion and funds dynamic student advocacy and organizing at each of the seven state universities

2. Wrote new mission, vision and values statements for Students United and passed a comprehensive Strategic Plan for Students United that will take us to the year 2020

3. Served as responsible and transparent leaders in all legal, financial, governing documents and human resource areas, adding needed policies and updating existing documents

4. Held eleven board meetings between August 2016 and May 2017 to provide leadership for the organization

In Public Policy and Civic Engagement:

5. Passed three campus grassroots advocacy campaigns for 2017-2018 in the areas of: Affordability, including tuition, textbooks and sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion, including campus climate improvements and retention and Student Success and Wellness including gender-based violence prevention, which builds on the February PACTivist training which certified almost 80 students as active bystanders and leaders on campus in the areas of gender-based violence, consent, rape culture and bystander intervention.

6. Established a Natural Campus Environmental Ad Hoc Committee to promote environmental awareness on each campus

7. Lead a successful civic engagement and Get Out the Vote campaign which included 15 campus events for students and over 5,000 students pledged to vote

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8. Took almost 40 specific legislative and Minnesota State policy positions, many recommended by the delegate assembly, intended to improve student success, safety, retention, and access

9. Lead federal advocacy efforts by lobbying in Washington D.C.  during Spring Break for increased Pell Grant funding and low interest student loan options, controlling textbook costs, and simplifying the FAFSA

10. Lead state advocacy efforts by passing a state legislative agenda which focused on state funding for affordable tuition, state grants, retention and supporting Minnesota State’s Capital Budget request. This resulted in almost 50 students participating in Advocacy Day in St. Paul, 10 campus legislative events and four members of this Board testifying at House and Senate legislative committees

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11. Provided an alumni award to Brent Glass, a partner award to Toyia Younger, and established a Joseph Wolf Award for Leadership, Service and Courage to be awarded to future students

12. Conducted an interview process which resulted in recommending two students to Governor Dayton to serve the next two-year Minnesota State Student Trustee term

13. Two Board Members walked 100 miles for the #fundthefuture walk from MSU Mankato to the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul to support funding for Minnesota State universities


In Scholarship and Fundraising:

14. Fundraised for scholarships and awarded $54,600 to 30 students from our seven scholarship programs

15. Combined two scholarship advisory boards and one alumni advisory board into one more efficient scholarship and advisory board

Thank you to all who served on the Board of Directors this year! I am confident that the 2017-2018 Board of Directors will build on your progress and continue your excellent leadership.


2016-2017 Board of Directors: Joe Wolf, State Chair, Dylan Green, Vice Chair, Sean Duckworth, Treasurer, 7 University Voting Members: Kayley Schoonmaker and Eshfaq Ullah, Bemidji State University, Dhibo Hussein, Metropolitan State University, Charles Bergman, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Faical Rayani and Adbdulrahmane Abdul-Aziz, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mikaela Johnson and Kayla Shelley, St. Cloud State University, Ashanti Payne, Southwest Minnesota State University and Nicole Zimmerman, Winona State University