Maria Ruiz: Student Body Vice President

Maria Ruiz is a strong student leader on our campus as the Student Body Vice President. She is a senior, double majoring in international relations and Spanish, as well as minoring in political science. Maria is from Guanajuato, México with an amazing story. Learn more about this inspiring collegiette and say hi to her next time you see her on campus!

Her Campus: What is MSSA and how does it impact student life?

Maria Ruiz: "The Minnesota State Student Association (MSSA)  is the student government here at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and we represent the student interests to the University, Community, State and Federal levels. MSSA is involved in every University decision that has a direct impact on students and are relentless advocates for student rights both on campus and in the community."

HC: When did you join MSSA and how did you get involved?

MR: "I knew [the] former MSSA President Mariah [Haffield] when we took a Spanish class together. One time she messaged me saying she was running for reelection and would like to invite me to run on her party. I ran as the Social and Behavioral Science senator and I was fortunate to get elected."

HC: What has been your favorite experience while in MSSA, thus far in your college career?

MR: "My favorite experience while MSSA has to be the late nights in the office. During my term as Vice President, I made a goal of mine to be present in the office or around campus so that students are able to connect with me. It has been such a rewarding experience to see students who came to us stressed because they need help, anxious, or full of bright and incredible ideas to make MSU a better institution.I always feel a sense of accomplishment when they leave the office relieved and, even better, more confident in themselves."

HC: What resources on campus do you feel that all students should definitely know about and utilize?

MR: "One important message that I hope I can give to a student is the understanding that asking for help from appropriate resources does not mean that the student is no longer independent, and it does not mean failure.  Some students feel that needing help admits failure.  Some do not recognize that they need help.  MNSU offer students numerous resources, but resources are only helpful if students take advantage of them. It might sound redundant but I strongly believe more students should take more advantage of MSSA. I hope students realize that MSSA is their platform to voice their needs, concerns or ideas. The work that we do should be reflective of the needs presented to us by students.

HC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

MR: “Respect everyone. My parents taught me by the example. They taught me respect for all people and the empathy to try to see all sides of a situation."

HC: If you could master any skill, what would it be?

MR: "I would master the ability of  Cooking. Nothing brings people together like sharing a delightful meal."

HC: Do you use a paper planner or Outlook? Why?

MR: "I am more of an outlook calendar type of person. I love how easy it is to have things synchronized to my phone, computer and how I can share my calendar with others. I color coded, classes, meetings, personal events and such which makes my life so much easier. My Outlook calendar forces me to be realistic about how much I time I can dedicate to my tasks, meetings, personal times and goals. It is the only thing that keeps me balanced, to be honest."

HC: What is your ultimate life goal that you’re determined to accomplish?

MR: "My ultimate goal in life to serve my home country in the role of  Foreign Minister of Mexico, which is the top diplomat responsible for implementing the country's foreign policy. My passion in life is helping people, help with conflict resolutions, advocate for human rights while respecting human dignity and I strongly believe that the best way to do so is through policy making and the implantation of it. I want to help find solutions to complex problems, to problems that people are perpetually dealing with. I want to be able to make a difference in a way that’s bigger than myself.

HC: What is one piece of advice that you would give to an incoming freshman or transfer student to get the most out of their time at Minnesota State Mankato?

MR: "The most important thing about college is to do what you love, even if it doesn’t relate to your career. Education is the most important part of college, but it’s also supposed to be the best time of your life, so you deserve to have some fun! Do what makes you happy, and you’ll be motivated to do well whether it is taking a leadership role or attending a campus lecture. And please, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. It is easy to allow insecurities about age/experience level to prevent you from making a big move, or asking for a meeting with an influential person, or even admitting that you need help. However, if you don’t at least pose the question, it will probably never happen. So go for it! You might be surprised at what can happen if you just ask."