It’s been a productive few months for Student Government as over six resolutions passed.
Two resolutions regarding the bylaws of Student Government were updated at the last meeting of the fall semester. One updated the structure of Student Government and the other focused on senators attending different sessions.
Vice President Roshit Niraula said an operating procedure resolution was also passed after several weeks of failing to elect a vice president.
“We looked into our operating procedure and heard some recommendations on what we could do to efficiently simplify that process. The resolution lays out a couple of things we would do in terms of contested elections and how we would narrow down on the voting pool,” Niraula said.
A resolution was passed recognizing the Director of Forensics, Speech and Debate Team Katie Brunner as a way to recognize student-centered faculty members.
“I’ve been in her classroom and I’ve seen her support students,” Niraula said. “She has been an exemplary example of leading with student success.”
Once the resolutions are passed through the Student Government, they are then forwarded to President Inch’s office. Niraula said members of the Student Government have talked directly with Provost David Hood and said they’re working more on the specifications of getting certain resolutions implemented on campus as soon as possible.
Wellness Days resolution
One of the recently passed solutions was the Wellness Days Resolution. The idea came from a coffee and conversation with the provost meeting and how Minnesota State can better help support students and their mental health.
“Last semester, we did some research on what policies are in place or some regulations that we might run into if we’re recommending changes,” Niraula said. “In our research into how other universities across the country have been supporting students with wellness days, we found out that a number of colleges across the country have adopted wellness day programs, which provide the students the opportunity to walk away from classes and take maybe reading days or take days off to focus on mental health counseling.”
The wellness days would take place on the third Thursday and Friday of October, usually around week nine of the semester. Several factors went into choosing those days.
“Students have just finished their midterm examinations and would love to have a break. There might be faculty members who are getting caught up on posting those grades out to the students,” Niraula said. “Students are able to step away from classes and focus on getting caught up with all of the work that they need to do or maybe just take a day off for themselves.”
President Sierra Roiger said although the Wellness Days resolution passed, the provost still has to look at union contracts and teaching day requirements and how it can be incorporated into the calendar. She said the first year Wellness Day show up would be during the 2026-2027 academic year.
Sustainability Fee resolution
Another resolution that passed was the Sustainability Fee. The resolution will include the fee and the establishment of the Sustainability Fee Advisory Committee.
According to Roiger, the committee will be responsible for “looking into the initiatives of sustainability projects across campus, so they’re able to better identify what projects would require funding where we are able to fund those projects with the highest value.”
The committee will consist of five students appointed by Student Government, one student appointed by the Environmental Committee and three faculty members.
The Board of Trustees leaves it up to each campus to decide what their sustainability will cover. MSU has chosen to focus on the green fee which covers all the buses. The green fee was $18 under the student activity fee.
The sustainability fee came from the student activity fee reaching its cap and there was the potential it wasn’t going to be increased.
“It gave us the option to move $18 out from under the student activity fee and gave us a new opportunity to look at new funding sources as well as creating new routes to open up funding,” Roiger said. “It doesn’t get rid of that $18. It moves it, is all it does, to basically another line item.”
In order for the sustainability fee to be on any college campus, the student government has to pass it. Once it was bypassed, the Student Government wanted to be intentional with where the future committee would find their funding.
“We wanted to make sure they weren’t consistently looking at just student fee based funding, but also looking at how can other departments who are seeing benefits or who have a higher amount of service to their areas,” Roiger said.
Residential Life Senator Darnell Speltz is involved with helping out the sustainability fee. He said he wanted to help get the committee together because he believes sustainability is important moving forward on campus.
“Renewable energy is the new way to go and it’s important to make new endeavors towards a greener campus,” Speltz said.
According to the resolution, the first project will “work with the bus fee because that’s the biggest expense that can immediately have an impact on our campus.” Roiger said if costs go down or funding opens up, it can create more opportunities to add other projects.
Speltz said he’d like to see solar panels as a future project.
“It pays itself back in five to 10 years and the city could use our power grid and excess energy. It’s very helpful and would create a lot of new open-ended possibilities,” Speltz said.
The sustainability fee will be implemented July 1 with the committee convening next fall for the 2026 fiscal year.
One of the upcoming resolutions is thanking the Mayo Clinic which just donated around $50,000 to the Maverick Food Pantry.
“The numbers are going up with as high as 400 students visiting the food pantry a week and the support that Mayo Clinic has provided really goes a long way in helping students and the campus body as a whole,” Niraula said.
A resolution regarding an increase in student wages is also on the table. The Student Government researched student wages at other Minnesota State colleges. St. Cloud University pays students $14 an hour while Minnesota State University, Moorhead pays $13. The resolution would bring MSU’s wages up to $13.50 from the current $12.
The intention with the resolution is to better support students who work on-campus jobs.
“It will have a positive impact in student retention, student well-being and college affordability as a whole,” Niraula said.
Niraula said the Student Government is willing to help students in any way possible.
“We’re always open to talking with students about what we can do to better support them, whether those be through resolutions, whether those be through policy advocacy, whether those be through talking with administrations, we’re always there to push and advocate for student well being and student success,” Niraula said. “We’re always happy to support them in the best way that we can.”
Photo caption: Vice President Roshit Niraula (left) and Speaker Douglas Roberts (right) address the Student Government and discuss the upcoming resolution about increasing student wages. (Alexis Darkow/The Reporter)
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