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On March 9, the 52nd Student Representative Assembly was elected. With the most candidates since 1973, the fewest acclaimed seats since 1998, and record high voter turnout in multiple faculties, the future of the SRA looks bright. However, in the excitement for the future of the group, an important milestone has been overlooked.

Formed in 1964, the SRA replaced the previous Student Council model, which was based on cohort as opposed to faculty. Dave Moore, President of the MSU Alumni Association and former SRA member, has spent a great deal of time learning the history of the MSU and its legislative bodies and is familiar with the many changes the SRA has undergone.

“I think that what the MSU undertakes now is a lot bigger, a lot more complex, and a lot more service-provision oriented than it was in the 1960s. The event-planning and programming element is still there but … now there’s this huge range of services that simply wouldn’t have been imagined in the early 1960s,” he said.

Moore also explained the process through which it was decided that the Board of Director positions be made full-time jobs.

“If you ask anyone who’s been in any of these roles in the last 30 years, they’ll tell you this isn’t even a 35-hour week, it’s a 50-hour week. And to do that on top of school [means] something is going to suffer,” he explained.

The MSU President role was made a full-time position in 1969. The Vice Presidents of Finance and Administration went from part-time to full-time in the 1980s, and the Vice-President Education position was created as a full-time role in 1999.

Last year marked the SRA’s 50th anniversary.

“There were alumni reunions in 1989 and 2004… MSU-related anniversaries have also driven other reunion activity,” Moore said. Despite these previous celebrations though, the university has organized nothing to acknowledge the SRA’s golden anniversary.

The decision to overlook this milestone was significant for Moore.

“I’ve had the chance to be involved with the SRA for over 30 years and I’ve seen it accomplish a great deal,” he said. “I think some executives may be a little surprised that anyone who was involved all those years ago would have any residual interest.”

VP (Administration) Jacob Brodka has not heard these murmurs of interest in an anniversary celebration.

“I would simply have to cite lack of interest for a reunion event,” he explained by email. He went on to explain that the MSU’s annual Student Recognition Night is “an evening where members of the organization (both new and old) recognize achievements from the past year and reflect on our collective history and accomplishments.” He added that the anniversary would be noted during the evening.

Despite his disappointment, Moore understands the decision to not host an event.

“There’s always a great deal going on in the MSU at any given time, so it’s always a question of maintaining all that activity and then finding where you want to have some focus that given year,” he said. “The MSU is not indifferent to its history, there may just be times when the focus will shift.”

The lack of a formal reunion has not stopped him from reflecting on the SRA’s history and how it differs from the Student Council before it.

“When you go back and look at a photograph of the SRA from the early 1960s, and you see them all sitting there in jackets and ties, it was a different era. I think [the SRA] has shown both adaptability and resiliency. Some SRAs will have different priorities than others, they will put on different emphasis,” he explained.

The SRA of 2015-2016 is indicative of the change the group has gone through. Women will hold the majority of the seats (with a total of 16 of 31 seats), and most members are new to the SRA. Moore believes this renewal of priorities and enthusiasm is both a challenge and a strength.

“It’s a different era…but the message is still the same. It’s about engaging students and saying we’d like to get involved and here’s why it’s important.”

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