The Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Government meetings are often more than just announcements and business proposals. On Oct. 6 the Student Government gained a new senator. Nirmal Kokko is a new student from India whose main goal is to help students with language barriers become more successful and inclusive in their everyday life. There are now four senator vacancies, but the senators don’t make it easy for the optional candidates.
David Cowan, the Facilities Services Director here at MNSU, portrayed it perfectly when he said, “They are like a sea of sharks. They look to swallow you whole and if you get past that you’ve got smooth sailing from there. I guess you can sleep safely knowing you have an amazing Student Government.”
Before Kokko was elected, she was asked important questions for which she is given the opportunity to present exactly the kind of student body senator she is and what she can add to the team.
She answered this by saying, “I want to make sure all students are voiced and happy, especially those from different cultures. I want to make sure everyone feels welcome. Even with Mankato’s spectacular environment there’s always things to work on. The Student Government is here to make sure to get things done and to make sure those voices are heard.”
Joey Novak is entering their second year as a Senator and reflected on what they’ve already accomplished.
“One of my core values is that I like to be helpful to others. I like to help others and I like to influence positive change, and for me this is a very good way to do that.”
Novak also pointed out their favorite change that they made as a Senator, “The first change I made, and the one I got the most feedback on, was having open access to the kitchen and lounge on the dorm floors and residential halls. During COVID they were not open in order to help reduce the COVID-19 effects.”
The Senator then went on to say, “I felt it wasn’t fair to have students pay for it and not have access. So I found research proving that this particular method wasn’t helpful, and didn’t directly affect COVID cases. That was one that I fought very hard for.”
“I’m very happy and proud to serve and help my fellow students in this way,” said Senator Novak.
Reauna Stiff, the President of Student Government is in charge of managing all of the senate and making sure everyone is on track.
Last night, she told everyone in attendance that she was going on sabbatical leave for her own mental health and for her classes.
“Our goals for our Mankato community should also be the goals that we give ourselves,” Stiff commented.