The Minnesota State Mankato Student Government had its change of guard Wednesday with the inauguration of incoming President Anisa Omar.
President Omar was previously vice president under outgoing President MeMe Cronin’s administration.
The inauguration ceremony began with handing out awards to faculty nominated by students who exemplified the best of MNSU’s commitment to leadership quality.
The first award to be given was the Dr. Duane Orr Teacher of the Year Award. The field was crowded with 22 teachers nominated for the award. Social Studies professor, Kyle Ward, came away as the winner and was flanked by the multiple students that nominated him to the event.
The student that came up to the podium to speak about why Ward was the teacher of the year spoke of how Ward mentored and inspired his students. She went on to speak how all his students are lucky to be able to have him as not only a teacher but as a role model as well.
The next award that came next was the Vic Swenson Student Friendly Award. The award is given to MNSU faculty who exhibited outstanding friendliness and assistance to students.
Pakou Lee, interim recruitment and retention advisor, was honored with the award. Teary-eyed and visibly emotional, Lee hugged each of the students that voted for her to receive the award.
The third and last award given out to faculty was the Administrator of the Year Award. Cronin returned to the podium to give a speech on the person who received the award.
In her speech, she asked those in the audience to raise their hands if they both used the school Wi-Fi and the school email, MavMail, on school grounds to which everyone in the audience raised their hands.
The outgoing president announced that the individual responsible for the successful integration and success of MNSU’s technology is MNSU’s vice president for IT Solutions, Mark Johnson.
Johnson approached the podium to cheers from the crowd as he was given the award.
The last award before the official inauguration was the introduction of the Barnes & Noble Leadership Scholarship which were awarded to ten students. The scholarship is meant to help students to pay for school supplies, including textbooks.
With all the awards given, it came time to change leadership in student government. Cronin gave her farewell address. As she addressed the crowd, she talked about her time in student government and the life-long relationships she has made from it.
“It’s been a really great experience and I think for all senators and members of student government, we can say the same that it’s been an experience that I don’t think is like any other on campus,” said Cronin.
Cronin spoke about how she had made many of her best friends throughout her service in student government and that that she is proud of all that student government was able to accomplish during her tenure.
“I’m very proud to say we passed two referendums, one that was out of season,” Cronin spoke to cheers from the crowd. “We were able to get students to the voting polls, have their voices heard, even in out of season in December.”
Cronin spoke about some of her most treasured memories in student government. “Some of the most cherished memories I have in this university is getting to scare people at the CSU Haunted House, spending late nights in the senate office on a Saturday evening until midnight.”
Cronin ended her farewell address by encouraging all the students in the audience to seize the college moments before them as their college life will be over before they know it. At the end of her speech, everyone stood up to give her a standing ovation.
Omar then went on stage to have both her farewell address and inauguration speech as the incoming president.
At the podium, Omar spoke about how a year ago she had barely any knowledge about the inner workings of student government, but it was thanks to those around her who supported her that helped her reach where she is today.
“I want to thank you all for granting me the opportunity to serve as your vice president as well as your speaker to two horrendous meetings,” said Omar to laughter.
“I will forever be grateful for the opportunity you guys have given me and shaping me into the person I am today so thank you,” said Omar, closing her farewell speech.
Cronin and Omar then proceeded to change leadership with Cronin giving Omar the oath of office. With Omar now officially the president of MNSU’s Student Council, Omar brought the new vice president, Andrew Trenne, and the members of the 87th student senate and officiated the oath of office.
After the ceremony, Omar sat down with The Reporter to talk about her plans as president. “We have a few goals laid out. The first of which is making sure that the tuition freeze with Governor Walz’s poorly funded higher education. We’ve already talked to Students United, an organization that represents seven universities in Minnesota, and we voiced it,” said Omar.
Omar spoke about how she wants to focus on healthcare for international students. “As of now international students don’t have any dental coverage so trying to work that into the mix as well making sure there are more options that they can choose from.”
Omar also wants to change how international students are expected to pay rent up front in the beginning of the year and split it into semester or monthly bills to lessen the monetary stress placed on international students.
On the topic of sexual assaults that have happened on campus, Omar stressed the importance of the amazing job the Woman’s Center posting sexual assault alerts and keeping students informed. Omar spoke how she hopes to work with campus security on dealing with crime on campus.
Omar takes the reigns of student government leadership with many significant plans and responsibilities on her shoulders.
Header photo courtesy by Kjerstin Hall | MSU Reporter.