North Dakota Student Association
University of North Dakota
UND Student to lead on state level
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Most incoming students to The University of North Dakota have plenty to balance. Classes, roommates as well as the rigors of attending the state's flagship university can quickly fill up any student's schedule at the beginning of the year.
Incoming transfer student, William Woodworth, will add more than most to his first-year experience when he takes over as the president of the North Dakota Student Association during his first year at UND next fall.
“I'm excited about starting at UND,” says Woodworth. “I want to get exposed to all the academics the school has to offer. I'm going to get involved with the organizations on campus and meet new people.”
The North Dakota Student Association (NDSA) represents the views of all 11 public colleges and universities in North Dakota. Each school is allocated a proportional number of delegates who represent their schools at the state level on a variety of topics including student fee allocation, legislative affairs, academic affairs, and other political issues affecting students.
Woodworth will graduate at the end of the spring semester from Bismarck State with Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degrees. He then plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree at UND in political science.
Any student enrolled in a public college or university in the state is eligible to become a delegate at NDSA. While membership requirements vary across campuses, students at UND can participate as voting delegates by simply signing up.
After attending monthly meetings, any NDSA delegate is instantly eligible to run for office. Most presidential candidates tend to run for office after at least two years of membership.
“I think we [in the NDSA] can do better,” Woodworth said. “I want students from all over the university system to understand how NDSA serves them.”
Though not as intense as most student government elections, running for the position of NDSA president requires somewhat of a campaign trail. Delegates are nominated to run for officer positions a month before elections, which gives voters time to contemplate their choices.
During the biennium, NDSA lobbies on behalf of student interests, advocating against increases in tuition and fees. When the state legislature is not in session, it's time to focus on internal affairs.
Yet, students are not the only ones Woodworth has on his radar. “It's important that the public knows how NDSA serves the state,” he said.
With over 50 students from every school attending meetings once a month, it can be quite intimidating for a newcomer. “It's a diverse array of opinion and experience,” UND senior Joe Moen said. “It's been eye-opening for me to see first hand how the legislative process works.”
UND receives 15 out of over 50 total votes, but one school alone isn't enough to rule the vote. “It takes the work of everyone,” Woodworth said.
In addition to President Woodworth, UND will hold several other key positions at NDSA. Senior Shane Gerbert will chair the Student Affairs Committee, while Garrett Wedan will become the State Technology Affairs Representative.
“It's been a hell of a ride so far,” Gerbert said. “The good thing about being a leader for two years in a row is that you know what works and what doesn't.”
In the end, it's all about the students. “[Students] are the entire reason that higher education exists,” Moen said.
NDSA will meet one more time before the end of the 2011 school year on April 15-16 at Valley City State University. UND students are encouraged to attend, with transportation and lodging arranged by UND Student Government.
Sean Lee. "North Dakota Student Association" (2011). UND News Archive. 30.