By Anand Ganjam and Katelyn Mullen
There is no doubt that The Pennsylvania State University is one of the greatest institutions of higher education in the world. However, it is no secret that Penn State faces a number of major challenges. Tuition levels remain far above the national average, with most students graduating with more than $35,000 in student loan debt. Counseling and Psychological Services remains underfunded, leaving many students without the mental health resources that they need and deserve. There are also challenges in the realms of diversity, student poverty, sexual assaults, and many others.
The election for our Board of Trustees is taking place right now, and three alumni-elected trustees will earn seats on this governing body on May 6. Each of the elected trustees will have the power to enact positive change by combating the issues listed above. This is best achieved by working with President Eric Barron, his administration, students, faculty, and community stakeholders.
As two former Undergraduate Student Body Presidents and Representatives to the Board, we had the opportunity to see and experience the positive impact strong trustees can make in shaping the future of Penn State.
Much progress has been made in increasing the student’s voice on the Board in recent years, but there is still one key voice missing: young alumni.
This year we are excited to have Dan Cocco, from the Class of 2008, vying for a spot on the Board. As an undergraduate student, Dan served as the Overall Chairperson (then Executive Director) of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. A quick glance at his platform and experiences is all you need to recognize that he believes in prioritizing the needs of the students, addressing the challenges faced by the university, and ensuring that the University is always moving forward.
We believe that the best way to honor our past is to focus on our future, and unite all Penn Staters in the process. We all have concerns and ideas for Penn State, but there is no reason why we can’t work together to achieve them. We believe Dan is the right person to bring our community together, and that is why we are proud to give our unqualified endorsement to Dan Cocco for Penn State’s Board of Trustees.
We hope that all Penn State alumni, especially recent graduates, go online today to request a ballot here and cast your vote for Dan before the deadline this Thursday, May 5 at 9 a.m. EST.
For the Glory,
Anand Ganjam, 2015-2016 University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) President
Katelyn Mullen, 2014-2015 University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) President