MSA attends Big 12 Student Government Leadership Conference

Student representatives from MSA will attend the SEC Exchange next year.

With less than nine months before MU officially becomes a member of the Southeastern Conference, Missouri Students Association leaders met with their Big 12 counterparts in Lawrence, Kansas, this weekend for the annual Big 12 Student Government Leadership Conference.

This weekend marked MSA president-elect Xavier Billingsley's first time attending the conference.

“It was fun,” Billingsley said. “It was my first conference on behalf of MSA that I got to go to.”

Billingsley said all of the current Big 12 schools, including future member Texas Christian University, were in attendance at the conference. Each of the respective student governments had time to brainstorm and discuss ideas with their fellow Big 12 members.

“One thing I’m proud to say is that Mizzou leads in programming ideas,” Billingsley said. “A lot of ideas that (the schools) came up with, Mizzou already has.”

Billingsley said though this is the last Big 12 Student Government Conference that MSA will attend, MSA representatives will make their first appearance at the SEC Exchange, the SEC’s version of the Big 12 Student Government Leadership Conference, later this year.

“There’s also a Big 12 On the Hill meeting next semester that we will attend,” Billingsley said “That will be the last (Big 12 meeting) we attend.”

MSA President Eric Woods said the conference was a good learning experience for the student leaders of the Big 12.

“It was very informative,” Woods said. “We had a chance to hang out with our counterparts from the other Big 12 schools and attend several sessions where we exchanged information about our student governments and our problem solving strategies. It was very helpful, as usual.”

The conference marked the last time MSA would be attending the event with membership in the SEC becoming effective July 1, 2012.

“A lot of people were asking about some of our programs and initiatives that they wanted to take on,” Woods said. “They had a lot of interest in the One Mizzou program.

Woods said other schools at the conference asked MSA leaders for advice on safe ride programs, such as MU’s STRIPES program.

“Several schools were coming to us and asking how we modeled STRIPES and for particular advice on safe ride programs,” Woods said.

Woods said one of the main things he took away from the conference was how different each student government was in structure and priorities.

“People were also really impressed by the programing we do in the Department of Student Activities and how we were able to sustain such a large operation within a student government,” Woods said. “That’s something that not a lot of other schools do.”

MSA Director of Student Services Greg Loeffler also attended the conference.

“I thought it was an incredibly productive conference,” Loeffler said. “We learned a lot about other Big 12 Schools and a lot about what they do. I think they certainly learned a lot from us as well.”

With MU’s move to the SEC on the horizon, Loeffler said the remaining Big 12 schools seemed to understand MU’s decision to leave.

“Every school is different,” Loeffler said. “A lot of our programs and a lot of our ideas came out of the Big 12 Conference. There’s a lot to be learned from a new batch of schools and a new batch of ideas.”

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