Students United advocates for MNSU students

While the Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Government advocates for the student voice at the campus level, the non-profit organization, Students United is the official voice for Minnesota State University students within the system at the local, state, and national level. 

The people that are represented by the organization are 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.

This past April, MNSU students Emma Zellmer and Arnavee Maltare were chosen as the state and vice state chair respectively of the organization. This is a rare occurrence, as both positions are typically filled by students of different universities. 

Each year, Students United puts out a list of priorities that they aim to address from year to year. This year’s priorities were released in mid-October, with the organization aiming to address several problems faced by students within the system. 

One of the main focuses is the goal of achieving “Equity 2030”, an initiative created to reach equity within the MinnState system by the end of the decade. 

To help reach Equity 2030, Students United has decided this year to include Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, or “JEDI” for short. 

“We plan to do multiple things around Equity and inclusion that would be through students and with the students,” said Maltare, expressing her excitement to address the issue, “really focus on them.”

The organization is utilizing new tools in order to find out how best they can advocate for students in this area. 

“Students united is trying to collect data that will be really helpful for them and useful for them to come up with more options and ideas to do something around campus,” said Maltare. 

Another priority that the vice chair is excited to tackle is sexual misconduct. 

“I think a lot of people don’t open up if they have been a victim or a survivor of something like this, and these cases don’t come up,” said Maltare voicing her concerns on the matter.  

According to the Students United website, they seek to work at the federal level to push for reforms in Title IX to align with their values, such as an affirmative consent (yes means yes) standard.

Zellmer and Maltare will be doing campus visits to all of the colleges and universities within the system in order to get a holistic view of who they are representing. 

“We go to student governments because the student body president is our board member,” said Zellmer, “however, this year I am really making an effort to reach out to all students.”

Students United will be hosting a virtual advocacy conference this November 20th. This event will include speakers, workshops and sessions all focused on different types of advocacy. Any student who is interested in this event can register at the Students United website.

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