We are about to embark on our second and final half of our terms as State Chair and Vice Chair of Students United. It’s difficult to fathom how quickly the past six months have flown by. It was our goal to make this the best year for Students United so far. We focused on relationship building.
One of our biggest goals was to visit all seven universities, which we’re happy to say we accomplished! We thoroughly enjoyed being able to see and spend time at each university. Early on, we knew we wanted to utilize our time on each campus to the best of our ability. Each of our board members helped plan a full day of meetings that included: university presidents, Title IX coordinators, bookstore managers, chief diversity officers, Students United campus committees, and each university’s student association (student senate).
Apart from our campus visits, we’ve also worked tirelessly on our three board objectives: carbon commitment, affirmative consent, and textbook affordability. It was important for us to be action-oriented. The diligent work of prior boards, who worked hard to strengthen our platform, opened the door for us to get to work. For the first time ever, our board agreed upon these three objectives to focus all our energy on.
This new process is working. Students United has been advocating for an Affirmative Consent policy at MN State for years. With our focused approach this year, we’ve taken huge strides towards making this goal a reality. After meeting with several University Presidents, the topic was brought to Leadership Council (all MN State university and college presidents). We also met with IFO leadership, who then brought Affirmative Consent and our other objectives up at their meeting with MN State leadership. By building relationships and both informing and educating MN State administrators, faculty, and staff on Affirmative Consent, the system office drafted language of their own. But we still have a long ways to go for next semester!
We plan to meet with a minimum of one house representative or senator from each district and sector that our state universities are located in either during legislative session here at the capitol or on their home turf with their constituents. We also plan to push affirmative consent and bystander intervention training into all orientations in every Minnesota State University prior to fall 2018 using Winona State University’s outstanding training materials on the topic. Finally, we plan to work with faculty to make open educational resources trending. By my estimations, students will save at least $35,000 on textbooks if only 7 lecture hall general education classes were taught with open education resources.
We are very optimistic for spring of 2018 and look forward to making the process improvements we have created permanent so that our beloved Students United can continue to grow and be successful for the benefit of all Minnesota State students and subsequently the citizens of Minnesota.
Façial Rayani | State Chair
Lexi Byler | Vice Chair