UPUA Reconvenes For Spring Semester

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The University Park Undergraduate Association’s 11th assembly has less than four months left to complete the work it started last April, and though President Terry Ford reported the assembly has been making good progress on the Ford-Jordan Platform and then some, there is still much to be done before the term comes to an end. UPUA reconvened last night for the spring semester, but despite a busy final meeting of the fall semester, there was no legislation or much discussion.

The meeting started with a special presentation from Stand for State’s Betsy VanNoy, who joined the program in November after graduating from Penn State in 2007 and working with the Centre County Women’s Resource Center. VanNoy thanked UPUA for their support of Stand for State and urged the assembly to request programs and encourage friends to take advantage as well.

President Ford outlined three priorities for the end of the 11th assembly’s term that he hopes to serve as an agenda of sorts, in addition to wrapping up the many other things the assembly is working on. His three priorities are diversity and inclusion, civic engagement, and ending the mental health crisis, and while you may recall successful UPUA efforts on all three of these topics, Ford maintained there is still plenty to be done.

Ford used the mental health agenda to segway into Friday’s upcoming Student Fee Board meeting, which will be the group’s first official meeting. The Board will hear from CAPS to help them evaluate a funding proposal and also from the Student Farm Club, not on funding issues but rather its challenges for the upcoming year. Ford also said he will meet with the incoming and outgoing Greek life student leaders to discuss the fraternity shuttle that would take students from frat row to campus but not vice versa.

Vice President Katie Jordan updated on efforts to provide priority scheduling for international students who are often impacted by their late NSO and registration dates. This affects their ability to follow their major’s required course plan and sometimes even prevents them from graduating on time. Jordan also complimented Facilities Chair Brent Rice and the rest of the Facilities Committee for their work to bring a tread desk to the White Building.

In liaison reports, Borough Liaison Morgon Goranson said he is working to undo the Borough Council’s legislation that voted against adding lights to alleys downtown. While some State College citizens were worried that adding lights to the alleys would result in increased crime in “non-pedestrian areas” and even encourage students to “coalesce like bugs” around the lights, Goranson is hopeful Council may consider updating the legislation, but said the timeline is “questionable.”

President Ford swore in the new College of Agriculture Sciences representative before the assembly moved to elect new Movin’ On and ABTS Liaisons. The two nominees for Movin’ On were College of Nursing Representative George Samuel and Freshman Representative Tomas Sanchez. Where Sanchez spoke to the togetherness that Movin’ On encourages and the experience he has organizing music festivals in Philadelphia, Samuel elaborated on a lifelong passion for music and mentioned a band he was once in that published music videos, which of course we found.

Samuel won by a vote of 21-11. Next, the assembly unanimously confirmed Representative Nick Karafilis as UPUA’s new ABTS Liaison. Representative Issac Will, who nominated Karafilis, spoke highly of his attention to detail, among other outstanding qualities.

Chief Justice Eric Love said he will work with Speaker Alex Shockley to revise the election code, noting UPUA elections may seem far away, but preparation will begin shortly for the Judicial Board. Speaker Alex Shockley echoed Love, saying they are looking for suggestions from the assembly on any revisions. Shockley also said he will take into account extenuating circumstances like those from the 2016 UPUA election when revising the code, but assured too that “we won’t have a repeat of last year.”

The meeting was adjourned at 9:26 p.m.

Comments for the Good of the Readers: Check out Rep. Samuel’s former band’s cover of “By My Side” by David Choi, because why not?

Photo By: Trevor Hayes
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