MSA officers share, hear ideas at Big 12 Student Government Conference

Ideas from other schools include increasing student outreach.

Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce, Vice President Danielle Bellis and Student Court Chief Justice Lischen Reeves attended the Big 12 Student Government Conference hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, last weekend.

“The theme of this conference was servant leadership,” Noce said. “It was about being a steward to your goals as a leader.” Reeves said there were speakers who came to talk about leadership and putting students before the student government’s personal interests.

Noce said the conference was beneficial to MU’s student government. Attendees were able to look at the other Big 12 student governments and find out how they operated and differed from MSA.

“We all got to share our ideas with each other,” Reeves said. “It was good to see what other governments do. Everyone has their own system that works for them.”

The MU representatives found differences between MU’s student government and other Big 12 student governments, such as the type of term and the vice president’s position.

“We had a lot more experience than others at the conference because we’ve held our positions longer,” Noce said. “MU is the only university (in the Big 12) that doesn’t start their presidential term during the academic school year. We start ours in January and go a whole year.”

Bellis said several schools had two vice presidents who had their own set agendas.

“One was for internal affairs and one was for external affairs,” Bellis said.

Noce said they came back with several ideas about what could be done on campus. Ideas range from student outreach to serving hot chocolate.

"One of the simplest things we heard about that OU, A&M and OSU do is give out hot chocolate in places much like our own Speakers Circle,” Noce said. “No one can turn that down on a cold day. This would be a great way to hear from our constituents."

Noce said at KU, there is an outreach requirement for the senators. In order to be a senator, they must put in a certain number of hours of student outreach or they will be dismissed from their senator position.

Another program that was discussed was “The Big Event,” an event started by Texas A&M 28 years ago that dedicates a day to serving the community.

“It’s a day of community service,” Bellis said. “They get thousands of students to go into the city and mow lawns and such. It is inspiring, and we may try to push for more community service off campus.”

A major point that was presented at the conference was the three circles that each symbolized an important aspect of student government the members of the government needed to be aware of. They are the circles of control, influence and concern, Noce said.

“The circle of control is what can be changed instantly with votes,” Noce said. “The circle of influence is like meeting with the chancellor or vice chancellor to get something done. The circle of concern is larger than the other circles and focuses on addressing what the students care about."

Noce said he is in the process of making a document of everything he learned from the conference and will present it to MSA before the end of the semester.

“It was a fact-finding experience,” Noce said. “Since our term (as president and vice president) is ending, we’re taking things back to whoever wins the election.”

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