Smith begins term as North Dakota Student Association president

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University junior Cambree Smith credits her grandmother Dellamae Zietler with her love of politics.

Smith remembers visiting with Zietler, who was involved in politics, during her senior year of high school. One of the first things Smith did when arriving on campus at Minot State was to seek out student government. 

After a year on the Minot State Student Government Association, Smith decided to run for vice president of government affairs of the North Dakota Student Association (NDSA). In 2019, she was elected the North Dakota Student Government president and began her term on May 1.

“I’ve always been interested in politics, but I can remember visiting with my grandma after taking an American government course in high school,” the business administration and sociology major from Minot said. “The first thing I did at orientation was to find the student government booth. I just clicked with Aaron (then SGA president Aaron Richard) right away. He brought up the state association and it sounded amazing. After about a month of meetings, I was hooked, four months later, I ran for vice president. Being involved has created a love of advocacy.”

Smith is interested in continuing her studies in law school, but doesn’t rule out politics in her future.

“I’ve been able to work on campaigns and that has helped me stay involved. I think of it as being surrounded with like-minded individuals,” she said. “I would love to see a time in my future where I decided to run for office. But you can be involved at your local level, not just nationally, without being elected. Everyone can be politically active.”

During her first three months as president, much of her time has been planning for the upcoming school year and meeting with individuals involved in state government and higher education as well as work with her executive team.

“We’ve (executive team) have regular meetings over the summer and I’ve been involved with state board meetings and met with the governor,” Smith said. “We’ve been appointing members to councils and working on setting up meeting dates that work with 11 individual campuses.”

The NDSA has representation from all 11 public institutions in the NDSU with a clear and important reason: the future of higher education in North Dakota. The NDSA accomplishes that mission with positive relationships with both the State Board of Higher Education and the NDUS.

“For me, I feel like I knew the basics coming in having spent time as a VP, I’ve been able to build a relationship with the (North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott) and the vice chancellors,” said Smith. “There is always the big school versus small school debate, but we truly want what’s best for everyone. I don’t feel like you see personal agendas. We are representing 45,000 students and need to put personal opinions aside and think about what works for the state.”

But Smith does have items that she is most passionate about, including keeping the cost of higher education down, ensuring strong attendance at NDUS schools, and collaboration with outside organizations.

“One area that I plan to work on is creating more relationships with other organizations,” Smith said. “We worked with the South Dakota Federation last year and I would like to see a national coalition. Maybe a school in California needs help with something like dual credit and Texas is well versed in that, we need to get them together and share the information. I am also concerned with enrollment and tuition affordability. We want to see increased enrollment throughout the state.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 08/21/19   

» More MSU News