As executive director, Monson will be in charge of making sure student opinion is considered.
After finishing out his term as the president of the Students’ Association, Brett Monson has been chosen to fill the spot of executive director of the Student Federation.
Monson won the position after current SA president Mark York and vice president Anthony Sutton voiced their support of Monson. A voting body, which consists of the 12 current Student Federtaion members, later voted in Monson’s favor.
The Student Federation is comprised of a group of individuals from every institution of higher learning in the state of South Dakota. The president and vice president of each school’s student government are appointed as representatives of their schools, and they interact with both the Board of Regents and state legislators on a constant basis.
“Without the Federation, it is really hard for the Board of Regents and state legislators to know where students are on the big issues,” Monson said.
As the executive director, Monson will represent all six schools with regards to student input and making sure each voice is heard.
“My role will to be really active not only at the Board of Regents meetings, but also outside of that setting to let them know what the needs of the students are,” Monson said. “It really means a lot to the Board to have that student presence and to know that we care. That interaction has great impact and influence on the choices that are made.”
In his position, Monson will also have to maintain a tight connection to the students and student governments on all of the campuses.
“My job is to get to know the members and establish communication between all the different sectors,” Monson said. “I will be in contact with each of the board members and will be talking to them on a one on one basis.”
Next year, the Federation could play an essential role when deciding how to deal with the budget cuts across the state.
“The Federation is the voice of higher education,” Monson stated. “They will really serve a purpose next year since we are facing cuts…and our job starts now with talking to [the legislators] about keeping the fees down.”
SA advisers Marysz Rames and Zeno Wicks both voiced their support of Monson in his new position.
“Brett will make a good executive director because he has a positive attitude and he has a willingness to work with people of differing opinions,” Wicks said. “He has a lot of patience and he works very well with the Board of Regents.”
“Brett has an ability to elicit feedback and he is very approachable as well as personable,” Rames said. “He is really an inclusive leader and he is able to bring various groups together. When he wants feedback, he listens to different views and concerns and produces results. He is a really good communicator within large groups and small groups.”
“Brett has shown a commitment to our institution,” Wicks added, “and his experience in student government makes him a good pick.”
“He does a nice job of balancing the needs of the students and he really cares about higher education,” Rames said. “Brett is known by individuals at other schools and he is always engaging people across the state. He is seen as kind and caring and he definitely has a good reputation as a student leader.”
Upon being asked about what he thinks of his new position, Monson said that he was excited to get stated.
“I’m really excited to get the chance to support higher education and its purposes and goals,” Monson said. “I’m a big people-person and I think it’ll be exciting to get to know all of the state legislators and Board members. With a body of over 36,000 students, the college sector is filled with a lot of skilled people and it is important to contribute to what is happening across the state.”
Looking ahead to his new position, Monson said that there are already several things that he is excited to begin work on.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is get students more active in voting,” Monson said. “We heard from some people that they were disappointed with the student turnout and I think it’s really important that the students’ presence is felt when looking at what the future holds.”
In addition, Monson will work with other members of the Federation to organize a Students for Higher Education Day in which students are brought to Pierre and allowed to talk to their local legislators in order to have their voice heard.