What I Love About Students United

written by Elsbeth Howe


My very first day at Students United (formerly MSUSA) in 1997 was the Saturday of a November Fall Conference. I spent the day totally energized by the many issues the students were learning about, organizing around, and preparing to support.  I  immediately knew I was in the right place, working with passionate leaders who wanted to make a positive impact at the system, state and federal level. While serving as executive director since 2012, I have continued to be energized by students, staff and partners working tirelessly to make things better for students.  There is a lot to love about this organization, but my favorites are:


Our Mission

Led by Minnesota state university students, we are the inclusive voice for all future, current, and former students. We actively work to represent and support Minnesota state university students and advocate at a campus, state and federal level for higher education policies that make a positive impact for our students and communities.

This is a great mission! I love that Students United is not led by the executive director or the staff, or the state chair, or Minnesota State, the faculty, legislature, or anyone else. Students United is led by state university students, because students know what they need to succeed.


Our Team

We have an elite team! Students United is governed by a board of directors of college students, and led on the campuses by students. These students are studying, working, interning, planning for their futures, and also running a nonprofit organization. They are uniformly talented, passionate and dedicated and I love being part of a student’s journey.  Our staff is wholly committed to empowering and supporting student objectives. And our alumni, donors, faculty, system, and legislative partners value our work and support us in multiple ways. I love the collaboration and innovation that leads to policy changes, statute changes, and increased funding.


Our Impact

We do great work! I love the impact we have made and will continue to work for in the following areas:

  • Equity and Inclusion

  • Affordability

  • Student Success and Wellness

  • Civic Engagement

  • Sustainability

  • Scholarship


Parting Thoughts

From 1997 to July 2018, it has been my profound privilege to serve students at Students United. Thank you for the trust and opportunity to be a part of an organization that works for good for students, for state universities, for Minnesota and for the entire country. I will forever be an advocate and ally.