Student Government pushes compensation for student leader

With the backdrop of a large poster, the Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Student Government executive team came to make a message.

That message?

“Compensate students for their time”. 

President Reauna Stiff and Vice-President Kara Svercl are taking a strong stance for increasing compensation for student workers as well as student leaders on campus. 

There are two aspects to this increase of compensation, the first being for student worker wages. With the labor shortage hitting campus, the aim of increasing these wages is to be able to compete with the community when it comes to the job market. 

Student workers are limited to working 20 hours a week, reasoning so that these students will have more time to study. Svercl says this limit often forces these students to need a second job in order to afford living expenses.

“But if you have to go to your secondary job and continue to take your classes,” said Svercl, referring to financial difficulties faced by students, “that’s an extra 20 hours a week added to your schedule”.

The second aspect is that of student leaders on campus. Svercl cites a small contingency of students who put in time for different organizations, receiving little to no compensation for their time. 

“I feel that often, there is this group of students who are chosen due to their passion and their excitement,” said Svercl, “and they are given so much work that is essential to the function of the University without the support in place to treat them as though the work they are doing is essential.”

Members of executive boards of various organizations are given a stipend for their time working, however, those stipends rarely meet minimum wage for the hours put into those positions. 

There is also a concern for members of the “body” of each organization. In many cases, these roles only offer volunteer hours for their members. 

Svercl says that these members should have some more forms of compensation, different options being tuition support, parking opportunities, and academic credit for their roles. 

“What are ways that the University can step up and support these leaders so that it’s not just turning to constant burnout and concerns of dropping classes.”

Svercl spoke at the Student Government meeting yesterday, addressing the senate, speaking from the perspective of a student leader. 

“We are here because we care,” said Svercl, “But we also care to pay our rent.”

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