With over two-hundred Registered Student Organizations at Minnesota State University, Mankato, it’s hard to tell which ones to join and know what they’re all about.
BridgeMNSU is the organization to join if you like to get political while also listening to other people’s perspectives and opinions.
While it’s a national organization recognized in many universities, with St. Thomas University and University of Minnesota being the other Minnesota chapters, as well as across the world, BridgeUSA brings students together to discuss politics rather than debating them.
“The purpose of the Bridge conversations, through what we call the Bridge Mindset, is to discuss with people in order to understand where they’re coming from instead of debating with one another,” states Andrew Weinzierl, MSU Student and member of the Marketing Team for BridgeUSA.
There are a variety of topics discussed in these meetings. They all range from gun control to immigration and to the conversation of the use of GMOs and if they’re acceptable. While in these discussions, it’s important to note the civility that takes place and the understanding of other people’s political beliefs.
Allowing people to engage in these conversations knowing when they enter in that they’re not going to be attacked for their viewpoints but rather they’re able to give their viewpoints with understanding in mind is what the organization is all about. The members want everyone to feel safe while discussing such heavy topics.
“We describe ourselves as multi-partisan or trans-partisan, which means we invite people from all over the political spectrum to join and express their own views on any topic they see fit,” Weinzierl explains.
With the upcoming political election, it’s easy to get involved with BridgeMNSU. On October 29, there will be an online event where members will be discussing their prediction for the election.
Here, they will compare the 2016 Presidential election to this year and talk about what to expect on election day, as well what to expect following the election. Anyone can access this event from BridgeMNSU’s Engage page.
The following event will be held on November 5 with members debriefing the election results. It’s known that the result may not be clear due to the ballots not being completely casted, but there will be an idea of what the results will be.
It’s easy for anyone to join, as the organization promotes their purpose through the campus and with the events they hold. Members of BridgeMNSU specifically reach out to classrooms since many professors will give out extra credit to students who attend these meetings.
Weinzierl reflected on how he began his BridgeMNSU journey.
“I got involved because I wanted to start an organization or get involved in something where it’s about political dialogue and democracy. Through that I was guided from another organization to join BridgeMNSU right away in the spring of 2018.”