Off-campus Senator for Minnesota State University, Mankato Catherine Nelson is a fifth-year law enforcement and pre-law major. Outside of the Student Senate, she is also a member of Alpha Chi Omega, member of the Order of Omega Greek honors society, and the Law Enforcement club.
Nelson says she ran for Student Government to help people.
“I joined to advocate for others as well as help them with whatever they need,” Nelson said. “I wanted to use my passion for government and legislation to ensure students’ rights for being protected with off-campus housing.”
While this is Nelson’s first year in Student Senate, she is working on some big projects. Currently, Nelson is tackling the issue of providing safe housing options for students.
“My biggest focus right now is working on the safety of student housing,” she said. “I want to help students recognize good questions to ask, red flags to look out for, what to do if a landlord is not maintaining building code, or if there’s a safety hazard on a property that the landlord’s not taking care of.”
Nelson said she’s already learned many lessons about Student Government and the functionality of it.
“If you have the drive and the passion you can make a difference,” she said. “If there’s something you see as an issue within the school, you have the power to change that.”
Despite COVID-19 taking away a normal school year Nelson has been able to create amazing memories while working in the government.
“Normally when they release the election results all of the campaign parties will be together in person, but because of COVID-19 we did a zoom call together. Just being able to celebrate that victory with everyone in my party was really exciting,” Nelson said.
Following graduation, Nelson says her experience so far will help her down the road.
“With my plan of going to law school, which pertains lots of reading legal documents and cases, Student Government gave me the exposure to the legal language I need. As well as being a part of the government, I’m on the Student Allocations Committee. With this, I get to experience working with budgets, whether it means how to look at them properly or managing them.”
Nelson highly recommends getting involved with the Student Government in any way if possible.
“I would reach out to the Senators that currently hold the positions you’re interested in, and if it sounds like a good step for you just go for it,” she said. “This organization is a great way to advocate for the student body and to help the University become a better place.”