On the heels of last winter’s controversial ice rink project, Mac’s new student leader wants to come to consensus.

Kai Wilson ’14 (West Hartford, Conn.) never took part in student government in high school, but he’s now the president of the Macalester College Student Government (MCSG).

How did the political science major’s interests take such a turn? It goes back to Wilson’s first year at Macalester, when he decided to join MCSG “to understand the workings of the college and find a way to be a part of it.”

An initial involvement eventually led to his becoming part of last year’s finance group, where Wilson was heavily involved in determining— with student input—how to spend the extra fee money MCSG found itself with.

A vote determined the most popular project to be an outdoor ice rink, which ultimately proved controversial with facilities staff as well as with some students. Nevertheless, Wilson and other student leaders saw it through, and the ice rink opened last February on Shaw Field.

Ironically, Wilson never skated on the rink he worked so hard to build: It opened the day he left for a study abroad semester in Turkey.

With any luck he will get to enjoy the results of the other, smaller projects that MCSG hopes to complete this year with remaining rollover funds. Among the possibilities: campus murals, grills outside the Campus Center, more bicycle racks, and improved student org websites.

Whatever MCSG accomplishes this year, Wilson hopes it can first change its “image as gatekeeper.” He says, “We’re not an extension of the administration. We try to use our best judgment and get student input in how funds are used. It’s all about compromise and consensus with MCSG.”

October 18 2013

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