Student Senate Update Spring 2018

2017–2018 goals • “Welcome All” inclusivity campaign a key priority

Student Senate at Dakota County Technical College is the official voice of students on campus. Student Senate is involved in many decisions made at the college, including tuition increases, graduation planning and college activities. Student Senate can also initiate projects for campus improvement. All students are encouraged to participate in Student Senate as one of the best ways to be and stay engaged with all members of the campus community.

“I’m very proud of all the work Student Senate has accomplished so far this year,” said Nicole Meulemans, director of student life. “They are a passionate, dedicated group and are focused on making DCTC a better college for their fellow students. I look forward to their continued success spring semester.”

“Student Senate hit the ground running this year and has accomplished more toward the achievement of their goals in one semester than any group I have worked with before,” said Anna Voight, associate director of student life. “They are passionate about making the DCTC experience the best it can be for ALL students, and have demonstrated this time and time again in the perspectives and input they offer in senate meetings and on campus-wide committees. I am proud to work with such a hardworking, passionate and selfless group of student leaders.”

Student Senate Mission

  • Represent all DCTC students.
  • Serve as student body voice with state legislature and other governing bodies.
  • Work with college administration and faculty to promote high quality education.
  • Advance cooperation between students and the community.
  • Increase scholastic interest and achievement.
  • Organize, maintain and energize activities within the student community.
  • Encourage students to participate in other organizations related to their fields of study.
  • Inspire and support student understanding and participation in citizenship activities.
  • Serve as official DCTC representative with LeadMN

Student Senate gallery

Student Senate 2017–2018 goals

Created and posted “Welcome All” signage promoting inclusivity at DCTC.

“Student Senate demonstrated exceptional collaboration with others while working on this project,” Anna Voight said. “They worked through a variety of channels to gain input, support and approval for the inclusive message. They worked with the college’s chief diversity officer, the DCTC Diversity Council, the Minnesota State Office of Equity and Inclusion, the DCTC Faculty Shared Governance Council (FSGC), and campus administrators to get feedback and approval for the final copy.”

DCTC News: Why  and how did Student Senate pursue this initiative?
Student Senate President Susan Garcia and Vice President Israel Gray: After conversing with students about their need to feel like they belong here at DCTC, no matter their skin color, age, race, or sexual orientation, etc., we decided to create a culture of inclusivity. By designing signage that can be read as well as recited in meetings or classes, we saw a way to start some action in creating a more inclusive campus.

We discussed what the signage would look and sound like, and several Senate members collaborated on the project. Once we had our first draft, we met with Harold Torrence, chief diversity officer at the college, for suggestions and advice on our next steps. Harold met with college administrators to let them know we were putting together a message of inclusivity. HR was also contacted and they brought the draft of our message to the Minnesota State system office.

Once we received approval to keep going forward, we met with the Faculty Shared Governance Council and received praise for our action around creating this message of inclusivity. They gave us their approval and support.

Finally, our draft went to the college’s Marketing department, going back and forth a few times until our “Welcome All” concept evolved to what we see now. We most recently shared our journey of implementing the inclusive message with all faculty and staff at their spring 2018 in-service event. We are proud of our message and hope it creates a climate of diversity and inclusiveness for all who visit our campus or attend classes at DCTC.

Recruit and retain eight active Student Senate members for fall 2017 and spring 2018.

DCTC News: How have you been implementing this initiative?
Susan and Israel: We are just getting started for our spring session. We recently had a Student Senate meeting where we discussed some actions to create and retain more members. “Each one bring one” tops our idea list. This idea means talking to our fellow students and encouraging them to join us at our meetings. We actively invite students to our meetings and make sure they are welcomed when they arrive—and we’ll even walk them down to the meeting. During our fall session, we had a good following of members, many of whom were new to Senate.

Planned and executed Student Senate activities, including:
  • Welcomed students at Ready, Set, Go!
  • Visited classrooms to promote campus activities and resources
  • Hosted Pick-a-Piece, encouraging pizza consumption as well as interaction among students, faculty, staff and administrators
  • Hosted Pumpkin-Carving Contest
  • Sponsored “A Million Thanks” to collect cards for military veterans
  • Co-hosted holiday party with the Veterans Club
Reviewed and updated Student Life Committee by-laws with better descriptive outlines for active group definition, funding and club expectations.

DCTC News: What work went into this project?
Susan and Israel: We spent some time updating the Student Life Committee by-laws and made a number of wording changes.

Promote and support LeadMN initiatives for Open Education Resources (OER) and lower text book costs.

DCTC News: What work have you been doing with LeadMN?
Susan: During the LeadMN Minnesota Student Leadership Summit, in October 2017, I attended a session on OER and how that impacts students as well as faculty. I became passionate about the simple fact OER could save students large amounts of money. We worked with LeadMN to set up a table outside the Student Life Center to create awareness about the high cost of textbooks. LeadMN ran a contest for students to submit their personal story about how the high cost of text books has affected them. I’ve been in contact with a few college administrators about having a workshop set up for faculty and students to learn how OERs can benefit them and their budgets. Watch for more to come in fall 2018.

Student Senate Executive Board

Susan Garcia, President

Susan Garcia, President

Susan Garcia

Susan Garcia is earning an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in the Executive Assistant program. Susan wanted to represent DCTC on Student Senate because she truly believes in the power of the student voice. If you meet her on campus, she will most likely talk to you about how to get involved in Student Senate and Student Life activities.

Along with her work as Student Senate president, Susan belongs to Business Professionals of America (BPA). After graduation, she plans to pursue an executive assistant position at a large international company.

Favorite thing about DCTC: “There are two things about DCTC that stand out to me. First, I enjoy being able meet and learn about the diverse students we have on campus. Second, the amazing amount of true and genuine care our advisors invest in our success as students.”

Favorite movie: Sixteen Candles, or anything by John Hughes

Favorite book: The Kite Runner, Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini’s first novel

Favorite musician or band: No favorite band or musician, but I enjoy listening to 89.3 The Current or MPR.

Why should students join Student Senate?
“It will impact your life in ways you never knew it could. If you have ever wanted to be a part of the decisions being made in your school this is the place to do it.”

Israel Gray, Vice President

Israel Gray, Vice President

Israel Gray
Vice President

Israel M. Gray is from Monrovia, Liberia. He is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Information Management Systems with plans to graduate in May 2018.

Israel wanted to represent DCTC as Student Senate vice president to support the college mission, welcome prospective and current students on campus, and build relationships with the faculty and staff at the college. Israel is also a student ambassador and he belongs to Phi Theta Kappa and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA).

After graduating from DCTC, Israel plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree and go on to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.). In his free time, he enjoys reading, videogames, movies, music and playing basketball. Israel encourages other students to get involved in student life activities because “they are a medium of promoting student success. They are also opportunities to build future relationships and an avenue to give back to the college.”

Favorite thing about DCTC: “The faculty and staff. They are very supportive and want to see you succeed beyond your educational goals.”

Best class you’ve taken at DCTC: Business Law and most classes I’ve taken at the college

Favorite movie: The Pelican Brief; I also keep up with the following shows: The Good Wife, The Blacklist, How to Get Away with Murder, The Walking Dead and House of Cards

Favorite book: Most John Grisham novels: Supreme Ambition, Big Law and The Partnership

Favorite musician or band: Beyoncé

Tips for students

How to be a successful student: Dedication to your responsibilities, commitment to your studies and asking questions when in doubt.

Making friends: Be kind, be simple, be open, just be you. There’s no need doing something else to fit in. Wear a smile.

David Hannan, Treasurer

David Hannan, Treasurer

David Hannan

David Hannan is from Hastings, Minnesota. David is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Networking Administration. He joined Student Senate because he wanted to bring his leadership skills to the team and be a part of a group that helps students at DCTC be successful. He is a also a member of the Veterans Club and Campus Lions Club.

After graduation, David plans to continue his education and earn a bachelor’s degree in network administration.

Favorite thing about DCTC: “The great people and students that work and study at the college.”

Favorite movie: Pumping Iron

Favorite book: Anything in the realm of science fiction

Favorite musician or band: Metallica

Why should students join Student Senate?
“They should join because Senate will help them understand why certain events are going on at the school. They will attain an understanding of what it takes to run a college.”

Abigail Anderson, Secretary

Abigail Anderson, Secretary

Abigail “Abby” Anderson

Abby Anderson is from Farmington, Minnesota. Abby is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in the Executive Assistant program. She represents DCTC on Student Senate as a way to get more experience working as a secretary. After graduation, she plans to become an executive assistant for a large business in California.

Favorite thing about DCTC: “My favorite part about DCTC is my experience with the teachers and my classmates. They are all so friendly, and great at answering questions about things I need help with.”

Favorite movie: 1408 with John Cusack

Favorite book: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Favorite musician or band: Journey

Why should students join Student Senate?
“Other students should join Student Senate because it’s a great experience, and Senate members are great people.”

Margaret Steeves, Campus Liaison

Margaret Steeves, Campus Liaison

Margaret Steeves
Campus Liaison

Margaret Steeves is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Margaret is earning a degree in the Individualized Studies/Patient Care Technician program in hopes of getting into the Practical Nursing program.

Margaret represents DCTC on Student Senate because she wants to see students succeed and have their voices heard when decisions are made. With the affordable education students receive at Dakota County Technical College, Margaret would like to see student retention increase, along with graduation, job placement and success for all involved.

Margaret is president of Creative Arts and Writing Club; she also belongs to Business Professionals of America (BPA), Campus Lions Club, American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA). She served as a team leader for the DCTC Fitness Challenge and has participated in highway cleanup.

After graduation, Margaret plans to continue her education and work in the medical field and/or in the field of justice as she did for more than 15 years in North Carolina.

You can learn more about Margaret by reading: “Student Spotlight: Margaret Steeves” on DCTC News.

Favorite thing about DCTC: “Making friends with students and staff, studying with them, and cheering for them to reach their goals, as they have cheered for me to reach mine.”

Favorite movie: Against the Odds, a great true life story of success, and Message in a Bottle, a great love story by Nicholas Sparks that was filmed in the Carolinas

Favorite book: The Color of Water

Favorite musician or band: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis

Why should students join Student Senate?
“Students should join Student Senate to help improve their leadership skills through opportunities on and off campus while making friendships and connections. Also, they can be a voice in making decisions and ensuring the outcome best serves students, faculty and community goals. Senate is a great opportunity to help improve life and connect with others with common interests.”

Student Senate 2017–2018 goals continued…

Achieve eighth year of LeadMN Star Campus status for DCTC.
Increase spring semester participation in clubs and organizations by 10 percent to grow campus engagement while supporting student success and retention.

“Student Senate would like to see overall participation in student activities increase,” Anna said. “We do not have data from last fall on all student activities, but we do for spring. Senate has taken a more active role in college-wide events, such as Ready, Set, Go! and Student Orientation and Registration, in an effort to tell more students about student activities.”

Promote and support the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA) and Veterans Club to increase active participation in the former by 25 percent and the latter by 50 percent while supporting Student Life department annual goals as well as the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

“Student Senate is working with Student Life staff and club advisors to support increased involvement in these clubs,” Anna said, “contributing to college goals outlined in the Strategic Enrollment Management plan to increase retention and success of students from diverse populations.”

  • Total of 18 students have attended 3+ activities (goal is 69 percent met as of January 2018)
  • Total 15 students have attended at least one Veterans Club activity (goal is 65 percent met as of January 2018)
Give input and assistance to increase awareness and participation in DCTC Alumni Association.
  • Senate worked with the Alumni Association for Welcome! Welcome Back! Week
  • Senate worked with Student Life to host an alumni potluck on the new student life patio

DCTC News: What are your goals for this project?
Susan and Israel: This particular initiative is still being worked on. As we get closer to graduation, we will be partnering with more of our 2018 graduating class to heighten awareness and increase participation. We look forward to partnering with the Alumni Association to create some events for this initiative.

Other Student Senate work so far in FY 2018:

Student Senate has been very active on college-wide committees. One role of the senate president is to serve on, or appoint students to serve on, college-wide committees that impact students. Student Senate has had another busy year filling these spots to provide student input on campus issues and initiatives. The following are a few of the campus committees student senators are serving on:

  • Bookstore Committee
  • Food Service Committee
  • Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee
  • Student Employment Task Force
  • Foundation Board
  • Open House Committee
  • Fall Review Committee
  • Alumni Advisory Board (currently seeking a student)
Student Senate also:
  • Met with Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra during his visit to campus in summer 2017.
  • Created a new Student Senate promotional brochure to educate students on:
    • Who represents students on the Student Senate Executive Board
    • Purpose of Student Senate
    • Goals for the year
  • Is partnering with Sam’s Club to collect donations for Lunch Box
  • Has been utilizing the new Student Life patio with campus programming
To learn more about Student Senate and Student Life at DCTC, contact:

Nicole Meulemans
Director of Student Life and Activities

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life

Student Senate Office
Student Life

Israel Gray, Susan Garcia, Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra, Margaret Steeves, David Hannan, President Tim Wynes