Spotlight on MSUM Student Senate

We took some time to chat with your MSUM Student Senate President Cody Meyer and Vice President Matty Rezac to learn more about these two campus leaders.

Cody Meyer, MSUM Student Senate President

Tell us about being Student Senate President. I get to wear a lot of really cool hats in this position. I work with faculty and administration to create policy, opportunity, and take part in the decision making process as the voice of the students and help create an educational experience that is best conducive to their success and development.

I also get to sit at the Board of Directors for MSUSA (Minnesota State University Student Association) and do the same thing working with state level faculty and legislators for the entire MNSCU system with other Student Body Presidents.

How did you get involved with the Student Senate Presidency? The President before me, Kevin Struxness, was a good friend and mentor to me, and pushed me to run when I was the Student Affairs Oversight Chair. I took his advice, ran for election, and won.

How does being involved with Student Senate help you be active, connected, and involved at MSUM? Everyday I get to come into a place I love and work with all kinds of rock stars, whether that administration and faculty, professors and athletic staff, or student leaders, I get to come and try to make MSUM a better place and work on projects I am passionate about. Even on the worst days, its pretty awesome.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get involved with Student Senate? Just do it. There are a million and one different capacities that you can fulfill in Student Senate, regardless of your passions, major, year, or residency, and it’s not all boring meetings and parliamentary procedure. We get to work on a lot of awesome projects and make MSUM a better place in the process.

How do you think Student Senate will help you in the future? I would argue that it’s made me a more patient leader, and developed my ability to think across many different approaches, philosophies, and disciplines to solve problems.

 

Matty Rezac MSUM Student Senate Vice President

Tell us about yourself:  I am the Student Senate Vice President along with being the Academics chair in Delta Zeta, a member of the Dragon Leadership Program, and a member of the honors program. I am a sophomore double majoring in criminal justice and sociology with minors in honors, psychology, and juvenile justice. I graduated from Fargo South High School in 2013 (go bruins) and quickly found a home here at MSUM (go dragons).

How did you get /involved with MSUM Student Senate? I was very involved in athletics in high school and wanted a change of pace. Coincidently, I ran into two senators within my first week on campus who convinced me to come check senate out and I was hooked.

How does being involved with Senate help you be active, connected, & involved at MSUM? I have gotten to meet so many different kinds of people, friends, administration, teachers in fields very different from mine, etc.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get involved with Senate? If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns you can stop down in the senate office. If no one is available (which is rare, Cody and I practically live in the office) we have contact information on our web page along with an online application if you are interested in joining.

How do you think Senate will help you in the future? It has allowed me to do so much networking that my support system and contacts has double in size. If I need help I know who to talk to and where to go.

And now a little more about MSUM Student Senate…

Tell us about Student Senate. Student Senate is the voice of the students on campus. We work with the faculty and administration to create policy and opportunity for students, protect your student rights, and generally do everything in our power to assure that you are getting your moneys worth out of your educational experience and are afforded every opportunity that is possible.

How long has Student Senate been active at MSUM? Quite a while. We have meeting minutes and awards dating back to the 50’s. I am sure the organization is even older than that.

What are some of the activities Student Senate does throughout the year? We participate with all of the First Year Programs and Freshman Orientation activities, along with many of the CMU programs through out the year. We have our weekly meetings and also sit at all the major university committees, and in addition, we also have a senator dedicated to local and municipal meetings in the community.

How can someone join Student Senate? Stop into CMU 108 and talk to us, or fill out an application on the Student Senate Webpage.

Anything else we should know about Senate? If you ever have a problem, we can fix it, and if we can’t, we will get you in touch with someone who can. Come find us.

 

Get Active – Get Connected – Get Involved

You might have heard this from the Student Union and Activities staff a time or two – it’s kind of become our mantra. We are excited to help new Dragons or Dragons who’ve been at MSUM a while get active, get connected and get involved! But what does that really mean?

It means we want you to make the most of your MSUM experience! You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of the Dragon Community – and we’re here to help you get active, get connected and get involved. So really, you have the power to decided what it means to you. We do have some suggestions to help you get started:

Get Active

  • Active in attending campus events
  • Active in the Moorhead-Fargo Community
  • Active in promoting Dragon Pride

Get Connected

  • Connected to faculty
  • Connected to fellow MSUM students
  • Connected to campus resources

Get Involved

  • Involved by joining at least one student organization
  • Involved through volunteering on- and off-campus
  • Involved in creating their own MSUM Experience

If you’re not really sure where to start, make your way to the Office of Student Activities (CMU 222). Our Student Involvement Specialist Kevin Schwab is ready to help you get active, get connected and get involved. Or if you’re the type who likes to peruse opportunities from the comfort of your computer, take a look at all the fun the Student Life website has to offer!

Welcome, Layne, Our New Director

It’s been an exciting week for us in the Student Union and Activities–we welcomed our new Director, Layne Anderson, on Monday!

You may be thinking, “Wait a second, I thought Layne already was the Director.”

Well, you’re not entirely incorrect – he served for two years as the Interim Director. However, with Karen’s retirement, the position was officially open and needed to be filled permanently. We conducted a nation-wide search and interviewed several qualified candidates, with Layne rising to the top with his knowledge and his vision for the Student Union and Activities at MSUM. So, now, Layne is officially the Director of the Student Union and Activites (and we couldn’t be happier!)

He is getting settled into his new office and has hit the ground running. Though he knows MSUM and the department well, he is intentionally taking the first month of his new role to meet with each member of the staff individually, listen carefully, and not assume that he knows anything. (A wise man, our new Director!) We continue to make progress on the renovation project under Layne’s watch, prepare for the start of a new year, and make the CMU a second home to many students.

Stop by the Student Union Administration Office and extend a warm welcome and congratulations to Layne! And watch for a future interview with our new director, coming soon–we thought we’d let him have more than a week on the job before we started pestering him with questions.

 

Thank You, Karen

Today an MSUM staple (and dare we say legend) is retiring. Karen Mehnert-Meland has served MSUM for 36 years in many capacities and has forever left her mark on our University.

For that, Karen, all we can say is “Thank you,” which really doesn’t come close to conveying our feelings. Just know that we are forever grateful for the foundation you’ve laid for student success, the lessons taught, the laughs shared and the memories made.

As you always say, “It’s about the people.” And these people love you, so come back and visit!

So, before you go…first, let me take a selfie!

Student Union & Activities in the Summer

It’s a question all of the Student Union & Activities staff are asked on a regular basis, “So what do you do in the summer?”

Really, it’s a valid question. Many people know we work with students and they know that many students aren’t on campus for the summer. So, what do we do all summer? Let us tell you!

Mary, the Admin Office Manager, is currently spending part of her days going through old paperwork that can be destroyed. Sounds really exciting, doesn’t it? But it is a necessary project so that we don’t end up buried under mountains of old files! Fun Fact: We have to keep records for seven (yes, seven!) years before they can be destroyed. In addition, she is balancing plenty of other projects related to budgets, payroll, and day-to-day tasks.

Steve, the Interim Assistant Director for Leadership and Organizations, is spending part of this week at a conference. When he’s in the office, though, he keeps busy with multiple projects. He is working on hiring student staff for next year, improving the Dragon Leadership Program, planning for better assessment of other leadership programs, and preparing for student organizations to start up again in the fall. He’s one busy fox!

Braden, the Assistant Director for Event Services has many projects on his plate this summer. From keeping up with wedding receptions in the Ballroom and making plans for deep cleaning every inch of the building, Braden has his hands full! On top of those projects, he also is working on an upgrade to the web-based campus calendar, upgrades to technology in the CMU, and upgrades to other spaces in the student union, including the director’s office to welcome Layne as our new director.

Becky, the Assistant Director for Campus Activities and Greek Life, never has trouble staying busy! Over the summer, she spends a good portion of time preparing for MSUM Homecoming (#DragonPride) so that the we full of events and awesomeness goes off without a hitch!. Along with Homecoming planing, she is taking some time to get a billion other things done (no, but seriously, it’s close to a billion–we’ve seen her to-do list!)

Annie, the Assistant Director for Communications and Student Engagement, also has a to-do list she’s working to check things off of (currently it’s only 35 items long!). Some of her big projects for the summer include planning for a week of student leadership training, serving on the team that is preparing for Welcome Week’s Dragons After Dark event, and a variety of smaller, but still important, projects. She appreciates the phase, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Albert Einstein

Layne, our new Student Union and Activities Director, is spending some time this summer transitioning into his new role as director. In addition, his summer projects include making sure everything is falling into place for the renovation and several on-going projects that keep the student union running smoothly.

We also have some student workers around this summer — Sandy and Trista in the Admin Office and Megan in the Office of Student Activities. They are helping out on all kinds of projects, everything from making reservations to accounting to Dragon Days and more! Honestly, we’re so glad to have them around this summer.

So there you have it – a small snapshot of what we do in the student union during the summer months!

 

Meet Trista

If you spend any time in the CMU, you’ve probably seen Trista – or at least some of her handiwork! Trista Bentler has been a staple in the Student Union Administration Office since 2011 helping us with a variety of tasks to keep the office running, making sure reservations are taken care of, and, most recently, becoming our resident chalk artist!

You may have noticed that we added chalkboards to the Info Desk during the spring semester, but you may not know that Trista is often the person who creates fun designs to keep you informed about campus events and opportunities. She’s also lent her talents to the chalkboard outside the Student Senate office to help them Welcome New Dragons during the June Dragon Days.

We’re so glad to have Trista as part of our team in the student union – we honestly don’t know what we’d do without her! Not only is she artistic, she is great at helping our student organizations make reservations for events and meetings. We appreciate her attention to detail and her customer service skills. (Side note: if you haven’t made reservations for your fall events and meetings, give us a call 218-477-2261 or reserve on our website).

Trista adds an element of fun to our office, not just with her artsy chalkboards, but also with her personality! If you know Trista, you probably know she has a great attitude sprinkled with fun and topped with a little bit of sass – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Thank the GMWs

You may know this already – we have the best GMWs (General Maintenance Workers) on campus. Sure, we’re probably biased, but Roger, Missy and Kevin are awesome. Not only do our GMWs keep the student union looking good each and every day during the academic year, they spend their summer deep cleaning every nook and cranny of the building. We don’t thank the GMWs nearly enough.

Missy is a cleaning machine!

This may not sound like much of a chore, but to get all 80,000+ square feet clean takes plenty of effort! From carpet scrubbing to dusting to washing windows to shampooing each and every chair in the CMU, they work tirelessly to make our student union shine. Plus, they do it all without complaining – really, it’s pretty amazing. Not to mention the fact that they also dress up the building with flowers and summer greenery, thanks GMWs!

We’re so thankful for our GMWs – on top of all the cleaning they do, they also complete many of the room set-ups that you use when you have an event in the student union. Using a stage in the ballroom? Thank the GMWs. Computer connected to a projector? Thank the GMWs. Coffeehouse style seating in the Underground? Thank the GMWs. Teleconferencing cart connected to someone across the country? Thank the GMWs. Banquet seating in 101? Thank the GMWs. You get the picture – whatever you’re doing in the CMU is probably because of a GMW.

There’s only one Roger – and we’re glad we’ve got him in the CMU!

So the next time you seen Roger, Missy or Kevin around the student union, we encourage you to say “Thanks!”

A Year in the Student Union

It’s kind of hard to believe that another year has come and gone in the student union at Minnesota State University Moorhead – but that’s not to say we didn’t make the most of it! Each year is filled with memories, so let us share a few from the 2013-2014 Academic Year.

August – The beginning of a new year is always a treat as many of our student employees return from summer jobs and we get to meet the new class of freshmen. One of our favorite parts of August is the Dragons AfterDark event that kicks of the year! With a “Lights, Camera, Action!” theme in 2013, we had all kinds of fun – including a “Walk of Fame Cake Walk.”

September – Between DragonFest in early September and Homecoming at the end of September, we should just declare it Dragon Pride Month! The Homecoming theme of “Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon” not only reminded alumni of their proud Dragon heritage, it also helped MSUM celebrate it’s 125th year. So many awesome events happening during Homecoming Week, but our favorite still is the Burning of the M because it includes coronation and fireworks – and a healthy amount of Dragon Pride, of course!

October – In October, as the leaves were changing, we received permission from the state for a big change to the student union! On October 15, the state approved an $8.5 million renovation and addition project, which will truly transform the student union. We are excited for what is in store!

November – For the student union, November was filled with events hosted by many of our student organizations, including Japan Night, China Night, and the Kappa Sigma Philanthropy Ball. We love helping student groups put on successful events that they can be proud of hosting. We are, after all, a student union!

December – With the end of the semester approaching, we took time to recognize our students in a small celebration. We say thank you to our graduating seniors and give awards to students for their hard work. In December, our award winners were Kelsey Metz – First Year Student Award Winner; Keather Lindman – Frontline Student Award Winner; and Tara Andresen – Student Leader Award Winner.

January – Ah, the start of a new year and a new semester often bring exciting events, and this January was no exception. In January, considerable progress was made in our small construction project that had begun in November – a new C-Store. The glass walls were installed, along with the counter space and final preparations for the rest of the equipment – hooray for progress!

 

 

February – For being a short month, February sure packed itself full of important events in the life of your student union. Early in February, the architects for our major renovation and addition project arrived for a visit. They help lead a process to determine the needs and wants of students in the future of their student union, which included an awesome activity where students were able to choose words, pictures and textures that represented the student union. In the end, it became an awesome art project!  In addition, February means it’s time for DragonFrost, and we served up hundred of bowls of ice cream in the student union to help celebrate the week!

 

 

March - While many events take place in March, perhaps our favorite was celebrating National Popcorn Lover’s Day on March 13 in the student union. Who knew that popping a few hundred bags of popcorn and handing them out could make students so happy! We love doing what we can to break up the winter/mid-semester blues. We also had another visit from our architects – they came back with initial floor plans and some 3D models that really helped the project begin to come to life. We honestly are so excited for the project to begin in the spring of 2015.

 

April – We’ll be honest here, we secretly refer to April as the “craziest month of the year” in the student union, because there is just so much happening in one month! To give you a very brief idea of what happened in April

  • Celebration of Nations put on by International Student Services
  • The professional staff attended an ACUI Conference where Karen received an Emeritus Award
  • MSUM hosted the MnSCU Student Academic Conference as well as the MSUM Student Academic Conference
  • MSUM’s new President was announced (Congratulations, Anne Blackhurst!)
  • Seven Dragon Days were held in the student union
  • On April 24, the student union celebrated its 47th birthday (complete with cupcakes!)
  • Student Senate celebrated Diversity Week April 22-26
  • The Dragon Entertainment Group planned and coordinated #DragonsGiveBack, including several service projects on campus and in the community
  • Plus, there were countless banquets, celebrations, and ceremonies (special thanks to our MSUM Catering staff for serving all of them!

May – Even though graduation happens in mid-May, we managed to pack the month full of great things! We celebrated another great year in the student union with our Student Employee Banquet. And what’s a banquet without awards? We gladly gave awards to five of our outstanding students: Bikash Rai, Student Leader of the Year; Frontline Student of the Year Sara Fritz; Student Leader of the Semester Holly Hoeschen; Frontline student of the Semester Jordan Pinneke; First Year Student of the Semester Logan Schrader.

Also in May, we celebrated Karen Mehnert-Meland Appreciation Day – no really, that’s a thing! The Mayor of the City of Moorhead declared May 14 as Karen Mehnert-Meland Appreciation Day as we celebrated Karen’s lifetime of service to MSUM with a retirement party (don’t worry, she’ll be around until June 30).

As you can see, we’ve had another great year in the student union at MSUM. Really, though, we’d be nothing without our incredible students, so thank you for making this last year fun-filled and overflowing with memories.

Happy Birthday CMU!

 

Today is the Comstock Memorial Union’s 47th Birthday–so of course we’re celebrating! We’ve got delicious cupcakes from MSUM Dining, a giant birthday card and fun decorations at the Info Desk–you should really come check it out!

 

Part of our decorations include information about our upcoming renovation. Can you believe the project should be completed by the CMU’s 50th birthday (April 24, 2017)?! The architects continue to work on our project and will actually be here next week for our final schematic design meeting. Over the summer, they will continue with a phase called “design detail” and then the project will go out for contracting bids in the fall. We’re so excited for next spring when the renovation will begin!

 

 

Even as we are excited about the future, it’s fun to look back on our history to see just how far we’ve come. The student union would be nothing without the students who advocated for the CMU to be built, who have worked in the student union throughout the years, and the students who spend time here each week, giving the building a life of its own.

 

What we’re trying to say is, without our students, the student union would be just a building. Instead, we’re so much more than that. We’re a home away from home, a place to gather, somewhere to learn, share a meal, make a new friend, and follow your passions. Thank you, students, for helping shape your student union for the last 47 years–here’s to many more!

 

 

Think Fall! (Fall Semester that is)

It’s time to think about fall semester!

You might think we’re crazy, because looking outside today it’s hard to think that spring will ever really arrive and now we want you to skip right over summer and into fall. No, no, we’re not crazy–we’re just planners who plan ahead. Admittedly, way ahead. The student union is now taking reservations from student organizations for fall meetings and events.

Before you start thinking that we plan too far ahead, think about this: we host more than 5700 events and meetings each year. The student union is a busy place, so you can see why it’s important to secure your space sooner rather than later.

Now that we’ve convinced you to make your reservations, let us help you through the process. There are two ways to make your room request:

  1. Use the Virtual EMS online scheduling tool. It’s really pretty simple to use, just make sure you have your Star ID activated.
  2. Come to the Info Desk in the CMU and fill out a paper form. Info Desk hours are 9am-9pm Monday-Friday, 10am-9pm Saturday, and noon-9pm Sunday.

Whatever you’re planning, we can help! Our event services staff is ready and willing to help you find the right space for your meetings and events. Each staff person is knowledgeable about the building, room set-ups, and event logistics, so even if you aren’t sure where to begin, we can help!

While you’re at it, check out this past post, “10 Things I Wish Students Knew About Event Planning.”