When you go to the polls today, you won’t see the name “Patrick Cines” officially on the ballot, but Cines, along with running mate Michael Straw, has launched a write-in campaign for the UPUA presidential spots and hopes to earn your write-in vote.
Cines grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and he fell in love with Penn State when he visited campus as a high school student. He studies marketing in the Smeal College of Business, where he recently led a campaign against the college’s partnership with Altria. Although he hasn’t been directly involved in student governance in the past, Cines believes his experiences with the private and non-profit sectors qualify him to lead UPUA.
“When I came here to Penn State as a freshman, I knew that I didn’t want to do anything that was ‘normal’ per se,” Cines said. “When I came into Penn State, I was a Supply Chain major…I realized after my freshman year that I didn’t want to do that any more. I had a supply chain internship, didn’t enjoy it, and I realized that I wanted to make more of an impact.”
Throughout his time at Penn State, Cines helped found non-profit organization Blockchain Education Network, which has grown to encompass 200 chapters, in addition to serving as the Campus Manager at Uber when the company started serving the State College area. He has also been on the executive boards of the Penn State International Affairs and Debate Association and Innoblue.
“During my time [with Blockchain Education Network], we helped grow the organization from five schools to over 200 schools on six continents, and I was constantly traveling around the country to different conferences and representing us as an organization. I even traveled to London on behalf of the organization. It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of responsibility,” Cines said. “It was interesting to see the way an organization can operate under such little funding. You take every dollar as far as you can. Building those relationships is something that is extremely important that carries over into UPUA.”
Cines originally decided to develop his campaign in light of the recent controversy surrounding the leaked GroupMe messages connected to the Divy Agnihotri/Megan Fleming ticket, which was later disqualified.
“It was the Thursday that the Underground article came out, and it was flying across my Facebook news feed. I opened up the article, and I read every legible screenshot, and I said, ‘Wow. This is absolutely repulsive and ridiculous.’ I just couldn’t believe that our student representatives were stooping that low to win an election to represent our students,” Cines said. “[Running] was the first thing that crossed my mind, and one of my friends who’s in the Presidential Leadership Academy messaged me and said, ‘You should run for president.’ It was something I was thinking about, and he was the one who really pushed me to do it.”
The campaign ticket would not be complete without Cines’ running mate and vice presidential candidate Michael Straw, who is a State College native studying Political Science and Economics. Straw is currently the Legislative Director for UPUA, and cites his passion for solving issues with the University’s state appropriations as a major reason for his candidacy.
“I was working with Michael Straw with the International Affairs and Debate Association that week [that the GroupMe messages were leaked], and it came up in discussion that we should run as a ticket,” Cines said. “He was UPUA’s legislative director, and we knew each other well. We knew each others’ strengths and weaknesses.”
Unlike most other candidates, the Cines/Straw ticket’s platform is comprised of just three categories — Governmental Affairs, Student Life, and Facilities — and features ten total initiatives. You can find the ticket’s full platform here.
“We didn’t want anything that would be like a phone book,” Cines explained. “If you saw the Divy/Fleming campaign or the Ford/Jordan campaign, it’s comprehensive, but no student is going to read through the whole thing. One thing that we want to reiterate throughout our platform is that, this isn’t the whole platform. It’s the things we thought students would care about the most, but it’s not exclusive of anything else. We’re for common sense reforms that we believe the greater student body would be interested in implementing.”
Cines also explained that one of his primary goals as UPUA president would be to increase awareness of the organization.
“I think, at its core, the real issue is just involvement and awareness of UPUA,” Cines said. “It seems like such a simple thing to fix, but it’s crucial to the organization as a whole…no one knows what UPUA is, or that it exists, or that they’re the organization that represents the undergraduate population here.”
This summer, Cines will be interning with Google in Mountain View, California. He hopes to be hired by Google full-time after graduation next spring, and is interested in working with recruiting new hires at Penn State as part of Google’s 20 percent program, which facilitates the opportunity for new employees to spend 20 percent of their time working on a project outside their own department.
“Through my nonprofit work and my experience in the private sector, I honestly feel that I’ve had a comprehensive set of experiences that allow me to run for UPUA and push through legislation effectively and push through common sense legislation that’s in the best interests of the undergraduate population,” Cines stated.
“I just care about the community as a whole. There’s no motive, I actually care about this community. It’s such a weird thing to say, but there are no regrets coming to Penn State,” Cines explained. “This is just an amazing school, and we have such an amazing culture. There are so many opportunities and niches for whoever you are, which I think is just absolutely amazing and unique.”
Read our profile on presidential candidate Terry Ford here. Due to the change in the ticket after yesterday’s plagiarism revelations, and his unwillingness to comment on said changes, we could not accurately profile Anthony Mitchell, the other write-in candidate.