Junior Katie Jordan secured the UPUA presidency last Wednesday night with running mate Alex Shockley after students shattered voter turnout records. Jordan’s election marks the fifth time in the last six years that the current vice president went on to become the next president of the assembly.
We sat down to talk to Jordan about her campaign efforts, how she celebrated the election, and her plans for the future of UPUA.
Onward State: Were you surprised at all with your success?
Katie Jordan: I was surprised to hear the amount of votes that Alex and I received, and how far we surpassed our competition. We knew that the election was competitive, and we treated it as such. We did not know what the outcome would be, but ultimately, we knew that the team of people supporting us would have our back and try their best, which was all we could ask for. Hearing the amount of votes shocked me. To think 8,000 plus students voted for us, I mean, that’s incredible and floored me.
OS: Did you have any indicators throughout the day that you were leading in the polls?
KJ: It was hard to gauge how we were doing all day since there is no way to truly tell which candidate is ahead. However, we encouraged our team and those volunteering for us to go hard all day long. And that was what we did. Every vote counts up until the last minute. I know for a fact that the green army was out all day campaigning hard. Additionally, it helped to know that so many students voted! When we were asking people if they voted and they said, “Yeah, I voted Jordan-Shockley,” I began to think things were going well, but we never got too confident because anything can happen.
OS: How did you celebrate your win?
KJ: We celebrated the classic way, with UPUA past and present toasting to a new year ahead. And my dad and sister got to State College just in time for the elections results to be read, so that was pretty awesome, too.
OS: What do you think was one thing that set you apart from your competitors?
KJ: I think what set us apart from our competitors was our ground game and our communication strategy. We had an amazing social media presence throughout the campaign and leading up to election day. We had the coolest videos highlighting our endorsements. These videos got up to 9 thousand views! We were so loud on social media and we never held back. Everything was green on every newsfeed you looked at. The graphics from Logan [Echard] and the execution from Jen [Heckman] and Joel [Schuck] made the difference. We were persistent in following up with endorsements and included them in all our efforts. When it came to ground game, we were top notch — all day we made sure every area was covered. Our team communicated and were comfortable with each other, which made all the difference.
OS: Are you nervous for your first meeting?
KJ: Not at all! I’m so excited. I’m so excited to see what this group of individuals will bring to the assembly. The nerves are gone now that we won; the feeling has shifted towards eagerness and excitement because I know we will accomplish so much.
OS: What do you plan to accomplish before the fall semester?
KJ: Before the fall semester we plan to lay the groundwork for several initiatives. I hope to have an outreach committee structure formed as soon as possible. Additionally, we will start conversations regarding medical amnesty and students as a protected class. These are some of the larger projects which we know will take time so getting the initial conversations started is essential. Something else I hope to tackle before the fall semester is expanding downtown recycling efforts. It is important that this gets done before move in, so students in the Borough are informed of their recycling responsibilities.
OS: What is your largest goal for UPUA this term?
KJ: My largest goal for this UPUA term is to prove to the students that the UPUA is there for them. This can be achieved several ways. It can be achieved by outreach initiatives and letting students speak to us about their concerns. It can be done by stitching Webmail to Gmail and students associating that with the UPUA. It can be something as simple as free resume printing. Our goal is to make sure that students know the UPUA is working for them, and that we are doing our best to serve students. Students knowing that the UPUA is attached to a certain project and students recognizing what the UPUA does is a goal for us.
OS: Has current UPUA president Terry Ford given you any advice?
KJ: Although Terry has given me lots and lots of advice, the best advice he has given me is to take advantage of the year you have to make a difference. A year is a short amount of time to get initiatives complete, so you need to take advantage of every minute. Our platform is ambitious, but so are we and we are going to do our best to get everything done. Terry always tells us not to be afraid to push people on initiatives and follow-up, which is something essential when you want to see tangible results.
OS: What would you like to tell the students you now serve?
KJ: I want to let students know that the UPUA is there for them. We are there for them and want to make their lives better. We are going to be more present than ever, and I want the students to know that we are willing to learn from them more than ever before.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
KJ: I would be a pterodactyl because I know that I can soar above the rest and take the UPUA to great places!