Junior Matt McKeown was confirmed as the new Missouri Students Association Vice President due to an unexpected change in MSA leadership in July.
With his new leadership position comes a number of new responsibilities for McKeown to fulfill.
“The difference (between being chief of staff and vice president) will mainly be the expansion of people,” McKeown said. “With my new position as vice president, I will have a greater outreach to other student organizations, as well as the student body as a whole to work my best to ensure that their concerns and ideas are being heard.”
Former MSA President Mason Schara said McKeown is good with students, and will do a good job of reaching out to a bigger audience than he had during his semester as president.
“One of Matt’s biggest strengths is being able to communicate and relate to people,” Schara said. “He will be able to talk to all walks of life, make them feel comfortable and show them that (MSA) really does care about their worries.”
McKeown said he hopes to seize the opportunity to work with such a big audience, and change the perception that one has to be of high leadership on campus to make big changes or improvements.
“I honestly believe that every student has the capacity to change anything they believe should be changed at this university,” McKeown said. “I want every student to know that they can impact this university in any way they see fit, and I’d love to help every student who wants to make a change on this campus.”
In addition to wanting to give campus a more open-forum feel and working on the budget, McKeown’s big goal this year is to reform the Chancellor’s Standing Committees.
The Chancellor’s Standing Committees range in topics specific to MU and are made up of several undergraduate and graduate students as well faculty, staff and administrators.
While the committees have the potential to voice students on campus, McKeown said he feels the MSA student appointments to these committees has faltered a bit over the past couple years.
“What I will be doing is some research on these committees to get some data from past members to figure out the best way to utilize each committee to its full potential,” McKeown said. “I'll be sending a review sheet to this year’s past members to get a little more information on each committee, and how our student representatives interacted with them. I ... (with current MSA President Kelsey Haberberger) will be going over each committee to see if or how we can improve our MSA representative involvement.”
Revamping the committees has been a task given to previous MSA vice presidents, but unfortunately hasn’t been a priority, Schara said.
“This is a task that is at the top of (McKeown’s) to-do list and I know that these changes will really affect the productivity of these committees for years to come,” Schara said.
McKeown has set big goals for this coming semester, with the support of everyone else on the MSA executive board. Haberberger said she believes McKeown will do a great job as vice president, and his approachable personality will help him.
“I know (McKeown) will be an outstanding vice president and will surely leave a legacy for other vice presidents to follow,” Haberberger said. “(McKeown) is a difference-maker; when you walk away from a conversation with him, you feel like you matter and like someone is out there advocating for you.”
With a lot on his plate, McKeown said he is honored to be vice president, but is ready to get to work. McKeown said he is excited to work under Haberberger, and hopes to be able to make his former colleague and inspiration Schara proud.
“One of the most important long term goals I have set for myself is to be able to call (Schara) on the last day of my term, tell him about everything we’ve done this semester and hear him say he is proud of us,” McKeown said. “I believe it is very important to continue the path that (Schara) has set for us while continuing to better MSA every single day.”