GPSA President Kevin Horne (also an Onward State editor) and UPUA President Terry Ford held a press conference Monday evening in the HUB to announce their newest political campaign: BugPAC. In short, BugPAC was created out of frustration with the current local government in State College and its tendencies to disregard student interests to favor those of long-term residents.
“We aspire to build a Happier Valley for EVERY resident, regardless of student status,” the BugPAC website reads. “We hope you’ll join us in this work.”
This year’s local election primary is May 16 and BugPAC has endorsed local business-owner Michael Black for State College mayor. The three BugPAC-endorsed Borough Council candidates are graduate student Marina Cotarelo, Director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs Dan Murphy, and Borough Council incumbent Evan Myers.
It might seem strange for a political campaign to take on the name “Bug” voluntarily, but the name actually comes from a comment made by current Councilwoman Theresa Lafer. In May 2015, student leaders asked the borough council to put more streetlights in downtown alleyways. If you’ve walked downtown lately, you probably know this didn’t happen. Instead, Lafer implied that if the lights were installed, students would “coalesce” around them “like bugs.”
“The safety of the ‘bugs,’ who make up a majority of the residents in the Borough of State College was disregarded in favor of theoretical negligible disruptions in the Highlands Neighborhood,” the BugPAC website says.
Leading up to the primary election, BugPAC will continue to facilitate voting registration and absentee ballot requests. To hear more about the impact student voting can have on local elections, you can watch Terry Ford’s State of State address here. You can get more involved in the campaign by filling out a form on its website to show your support and volunteer to help register voters.