Continuing to advocate for students across Minnesota, Emma Zellmer and Arnavee Maltare have been officially announced state chair and vice chair for Students United respectively, an independent non-profit organization operated by students who represent Minnesota State Colleges and University students.
The role includes representing students who attend Minnesota’s seven state universities including Bemidji State University, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Metro State (St. Paul/Minneapolis), Minnesota State University-Moorhead, St. Cloud State University, Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall and Winona State University.
Representing students on a system, local, state and federal level, Students United is also recognized as the official voice for students in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.
One of their main goals is to discuss challenges, goals, and students’ experiences on their campuses to better the future of higher education. They also believe students should lead the conversation on higher education because it affects their future.
The state chair and vice chair are elected by the board of the seven state university student body presidents who make up the student board of directors.
Zellmer, a junior at MNSU who previously served as a senator and speaker for Student Government as well as the current vice chair of Students United, shared why she decided to get involved with Students United.
“I want to continue all the great work we’ve been able to do this year and to carry it over into next. I love advocating for students and working with students,” Zellmer shared. “In the Minn State system students are allowed to get involved and let their voice be heard so I think it’s important that we take advantage of that.”
As upcoming state chair she will serve the 2021-2022 term along with the vice chair which will start in July to the end of June the following year.
Maltare, a senior at MNSU who is the current Vice President for Student Government, said she wants to advocate for students.
“I enjoy working for students and serving students. It is for the greater good and it is one of the major factors that made me want to run for this position,” Maltare said. “I also want to encourage students to participate in meetings and let their voices be heard.”
Very rarely are both the incoming state chair and vice chair from the same university.
Recently, Students United has built a coalition made up of several major bargaining units which include LeadMN, Inter-Faculty Organization (IFO,) Minnesota State College Faculty (MSCF,) Minnesota State University Association of Administrative & Service Faculty (MSUAASF,) and the Indigenous Men and Men of Color Caucus (IMMOC) to further ensure the Equity 2030 plan is successful.
Equity 2030 is a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities plan to eliminate educational equity gaps by 2030.
Last week the coalition put forward a letter to the Board of Trustees that asks to work more closely with them and do more to reach the goal. All are welcome to sign onto this letter.
While there are many goals Students United hopes to achieve in the coming years, Zellmer discussed the importance of this letter.
“The biggest thing students can do right now is to sing onto our Equity 2030 letter. We’re really trying to put pressure on the chancellor to do more and include our voices more to take charge in 2030. We won’t have an equitable system in eight years if we don’t work for it,” Zellmer said.
While COVID-19 has restricted event planning, Students United has taken this year to plan out how they will tackle other issues such as COVID-19, college affordability, sustainability along with others. Those strategic planning initiatives made by the various committees within Students United will be approved this coming year.