Thursday, February 2, 2012

Student Senate hosts MAPCS

By Amalia Santos
Cardinal Staff

For the first time ever, Saint Mary’s University is hosting the main overnight event for all Student Senate members of the Minnesota Association of Private College Students (MAPCS) on Feb. 24 and 25.

MAPCS is an organization that attempts to get students in campus governments at private colleges involved in real government issues. MAPCS tries to create connections between Student Senate members and elected government officials. It also organizes the “Day at the Capitol” event every year. All 16 private colleges in Minnesota are a part of MAPCS. Four main events, including two overnights, are held every year at various colleges.

SMU Student President Bob Rousseau believes that an event like this will have a great impact on SMU’s Student Senate.

“It means a lot to us because we’ve never hosted any retreat here before,” Rousseau said. “MAPCS is really important at other colleges, but not many students know what it is at Saint Mary’s. This retreat is an opportunity to show SMU that we can bring important advocates to our school. It allows us to bring more awareness of the student Senate and MAPCS to other students. And it lets other schools take us more seriously in the MAPCS community.”

The event will be a big step for Saint Mary’s, as past SMU senates have boycotted MAPCS because the organization was overcharging association fees as a result of the numerous graduate students on campus. Since MAPCS is only an undergraduate organization, they saw this as an unfair charge. Only in the past two years has SMU’s Student Senate begun to get more involved in MAPCS.

“Being able to host this event has allowed us to rebuild our relationship with MAPCS,” Rousseau said.

Roussaeu will be working with MAPCS President Amanda Skorich to plan the event at SMU. Skorich is from St. Catherine’s University and was elected by her peers.

The retreat schedule has not been completely set, but Rousseau has a general idea of how the event will be planned. On Friday, other colleges’ Senate members will arrive on campus and will attend a dinner, ice breakers and an event that night. On Saturday, student government members will discuss their plans for the “Day at the Capitol” event and a pre-chosen topic of interest. The topic will either be sustainability, diversity on campus, or their schools’ relationships with the communities that surround them. Most events will be held in Salvi Lecture Hall with food supplied by Chartwells.

The MAPCS retreat is intended for Student Senate members and their advisors, but SMU faculty are welcomed to attend. Non-government students may also attend general information sessions and lower level sessions that will be held on Saturday.

“I think it will be really fun and a great experience for our Senate members,” Rousseau said. “It will allow them to build ideas for the future. I’m really excited because this will allow other colleges to form and strengthen their bonds with each other and give them a chance to visit Saint Mary’s. I just hope everyone enjoys it.”

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