From UND Student Body President to Grand Forks City Council?


Dominique Menard, News Editor

Former UND Student Body President Matthew Ternus has recently announced his candidacy for Grand Forks City Council. Ternus was student body president for UND during the 2020-2021 school year.  

What is Grand Forks City Council?  

Members of Grand Forks City Council serve 4-year terms and are elected by those who live within their Ward. There are 7 members on the City Council and Ternus is running for the Ward 2 position. City Council has “plenary powers” meaning that they act as a legislative body. This means they are responsible for making laws, ordinances, and policies that affect those within the city. This differs from the Mayor of Grand Forks as the Council is considered the “policy-making body” while the mayor makes sure that established policies are properly carried out/adhered to.  

What made Ternus decide to run for City Council?  

Ternus stated that he has always known that the community of Grand Forks has been special. He stated that he has a strong passion for working with those in the community which he has been able to pursue through different roles like being Student Body President of UND and his current position as prevention and education specialist at CVIC. Following his time and experiences at UND, Ternus decided that he wanted to continue giving back and working with the community by running for City Council. Ternus believes that “government and public service are the best way to give back” for him. “The City Council (as well as the larger city government) provides so much to residents in Grand Forks, but there is always more to pursue to make things more affordable and accessible within the community” Ternus states.  

One of the most exciting parts of Ternus’ campaign are the conversations that are currently happening. Ternus states that he believes that change starts with conversation, and that conversation starts with something as simple as “Hey neighbor.” He believes that the everyday conversations that will be happening across Ward 2 (and across the entirety of Grand Forks) will be what leads to change. 

What experiences from Ternus’ time at UND will support him in his pursuit? 

 Many of the skills that Ternus acquired will benefit him if he were to be elected can be attributed to his time as Student Body President. One of the biggest skills that Ternus learned was the importance of relationship building. While president, he had to make connections with elected officials, business/organizational leaders, and UND administrators to meet the needs of those he was serving (the students). Fostering relationships with others is key to efficient work in the community and will aid Ternus in his endeavors for City Council. Furthermore, Ternus also stated that learning about the policy making process will aid him if elected. Knowing this process is crucial to engage all stakeholders in conversations. 

How do City Council elections affect UND students?  

UND students may be wondering how city council decisions affect them as students. Ternus states that the decisions of the City Council affect UND students just as much as they impact life-long Grand Forks residents. Some of the major decisions that city council makes that impact students include aspects of student life (like the buses that provide services on campus), providing internships, other funding, etc. There is much that the City Council can do regarding the students on campus, so staying informed and collaborating with the city can provide many benefits.  

Being more informed means learning more about the upcoming City Council election that has been set for June 14th. Students who reside in Ward 2 are eligible to vote for the position that Ternus is running for. For more information on whether you reside in Ward 2, or about the general election, visit for more information. To learn more about Matthew Ternus’ campaign, visit @TernusFor2 on Instagram and Facebook. 


Dominique Menard is a Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].