UPUA’s Eighth Assembly, spearheaded by President Katelyn Mullen and Vice President Brenden Dooley, made great strides to pass important legislation and earn respect from the university’s administration. It was, quite possibly, the most accomplished single year in UPUA’s short history, matched only by Gavin Keirans’ two terms in office. The pair’s forthcoming graduation leaves room for another couple to make an impact in the lives of Penn State students.
That assembly adjourned for good this past Wednesday, paving the way for one of the three candidates in the coming race to take the reins. While all three campaign platforms include lofty goals for UPUA and the university as a whole, there is one ticket that stands out above the others this year.
Anand Ganjam and running mate Emily McDonald enter the election with the most thorough and comprehensive platform and a history of leadership, student government experience, and tangible change in their past. We believe Ganjam and McDonald have the most potential to complete their platform upon entering office.
Our staff met with all three tickets last week, allowing them to present their platforms and visions for UPUA, followed by an intense debate in which we eventually settled on Ganjam as the best fit to lead our student body and continue what Mullen started this past year. They answered rapid-fire questions from the staff, making sure to fully explain their stance on issues or an aspect of their platform. We liked that they didn’t just present goals they hope to accomplish; they have a plan that clearly lays out how they will go about getting them done.
What tipped the scale in favor of Ganjam was not anything that the other candidates lacked, but the fact that Ganjam’s platform was so thorough, comprehensive, and ambitious. His student government leadership experience as the Student Life Committee chair along with McDonald’s position chairing the Diversity Committee truly set the pair apart.
One of the most important roles a UPUA president has is representing the student voice during meetings with administrators, faculty, and the Board of Trustees. In some cases, there is only one student representative in these meetings, meaning the person who is in that position has a responsibility to represent the student body. From his conduct during our interview and history of professionalism, we believe that Ganjam can meet this demand.
The pair already has a proven track record of success, leading our staff to believe they will be able to accomplish much of their platform. Ganjam has pushed through major initiatives, such as forming the new student financial education center on campus. The initiative within his platform that stood out most was his roundtable-based governance, a strategy in which UPUA would hold roundtables with student organizations to garner input on pending legislation. His ability to recognize that reaching out for help in areas that he may not have expertise is one of the ticket’s largest virtues.
From their platform, Ganjam and McDonald made it clear they want to facilitate the needs of ordinary students. We liked that the Ganjam-McDonald platform included ideas that will benefit the student body, such as implementing outdoor heat lamps at bus stops around campus, establishing a partnership with RidePost.com to increase the ease of carpooling, offering guest meal passes with the meal point system, and advocating for quarter machines in the HUB.
We believe that Ganjam is the most accomplished presidential candidate in this election. We have confidence in Ganjam and McDonald to make good on their campaign promises. We offer this ticket our unqualified endorsement, and are confident Ganjam will pick up right where the 8th Assembly left off.
Remember to vote today at vote.psu.edu!