Minnesota State University is a place where students can show off their talents in many ways. They can join clubs, participate in performing arts or get involved in student government.
There is a place on campus to highlight some of those achievements. In the CSU Hearth Lounge, a 55-foot horizontal board features eight students who have shined in some way.
It started in 2014 when students filled out a survey saying they wanted something on campus to bring attention to students’ achievements.
“We came up with this idea of having a display that spotlights student achievement, not only for campus leadership but also within the CSU as far as our students that are excelling as members of our student staff,” CSU Communications Director Lenny Koupal said. “This building wouldn’t operate without our students. It’s not only a CSU achievement, it’s also a campus leadership achievement.”
To earn a spot on the BEST Board, students must be nominated. Koupal said they reach out to different departments on campus who work closely with students. Nominations are accepted every semester. Once they have nominations, a five-member committee reviews and selects them.
“We (the CSU) focus on our Student Affairs Division in reaching out and asking for nominations. We include diversity, as well as the International Center,” said Koupal. “We reach out within those departments that are working really closely with student engagement, and we asked for nominations.”
Koupal said the BEST Board has two goals. Recognizing student achievement and sharing with others how students accomplished it.
“Part of the BEST Board is for students to provide us with a quote on what has been the driving force for their involvement. What would encourage other students to follow that path?” said Koupal. “The BEST Board is meant to exemplify what leadership looks like and sounds like.”
Atlas James is one of the eight students featured on the board. He is the Vice President of the Student Events Team, a student organizer for the alternative spring break and an orientation peer assistant. James said he is proud to be on the board this semester. He was initially nominated last semester but didn’t get accepted.
“It’s my junior year, so it’s a complete honor. I’ve worked in the CSU all three years since being here, so of course, being part of it is a big meaningful part of it,” said James. “It means that I did something important enough to be part of the building I’ve worked in. It’s probably one of the most honoring awards I’ve received in my career.”
In the Flex Programming Space, students can see other students who have been on the BEST Board since 2015.
“It’s an ongoing thing that we want (everyone from) students to alums to come back and say, ‘Hey, look, there’s me on the board, I was on the BEST board,’” said Koupal. “We want it to be a continuing, organic kind of growth and for students to always feel like their achievement is continually recognized.”
Photo caption: The BEST Board is in the CSU Hearth Lounge, it is a 55-foot horizontal board the features eight students who have made an impact at MSU. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)
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