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Notes from Last Night’s UPUA Meeting

Keirans_Swearing_In_New_MembersThe University Park Undergraduate Association met last night in 302 HUB.

The association is putting in the work that the full realization of the Highlands Loop and Legal Clinic will require, but they’re not there yet. UPUA President Gavin Keirans and others are meeting with civic groups in October to talk about the proposed CATA route. He has also started a search committee for someone to head the Legal Clinic.

The biggest piece of business last night was the confirmation of three appointments by President Gavin Keirans to the SuperFriends Executive Board.

Chris Smith was confirmed as Director of University Services, a position in which he will lead the campaign for a medical amnesty policy. Favorite part of his confirmation hearing: Mike Wallace asking him, “What would you say to cynics who think you’re only up for this position because of nepotism?” Did someone say Wallypalooza?

Matt Sheroff was confirmed as the Director of Internal Affairs, which will serve an “investigating as well as auditing function,” in his words. Sheroff says that he is already “looking into the misuse of a giant Twister board” at last year’s Wallypalooza concert.

Finally, Greg Tallman was confirmed as Director of Encampment. Encampment was begun in 1952 by University President Eisenhower as a way to promote dialogue within the Penn State community. It has waned in terms of prominence and effectiveness since then, but the current government is working to bring it back to prominence. Tallman seems like a good choice to lead the charge, considering the relationships he has developed through THON. As Keirans said last night, “he’s a prime time person.”

One conspicuous absence from last night’s confirmation hearings was Samantha Miller. Keirans had passed her on to the Internal Development Committee as his choice for Director of Assembly Services, but the committee rejected her. Keirans remains determined to have her on his Executive Board though, and it’s a safe bet that through his and Matt Smith’s work, we’ll see her there soon.

There were also two interesting special presentations at the meeting.

First, Dr. Margaret Spear (yesterday’s Collegian opiner) presented to the assembly about H1N1 (Swine Oh Nine!). She says that our current rate of illness is 8 cases per 10,000 students, which is quite close to the national average. However, the number of new cases per week has been steadily rising– geometrically, in fact– over the past month. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has deemed us to be a vaccine distribution site. Once the vaccine is available, all students on campus will be eligible for it at no cost. She says that a vaccination effort of this scale will probably require a place like the BJC. University Health Services has rooms available to isolate infected students, she says, but  I’m a bit skeptical about that… why are these rooms only available now? I’m sure the students in supplemental housing would feel the same way.

Second, the Penn State Marketing Association has begun working on the UPUA’s image– even though no contract has been signed yet. The PSMA began “initial market research” on the UPUA and have already conducted three focus groups. After they finish that, they will be distributing another survey. Only then will they begin to develop specific marketing material for the group. All this for the low cost of $1700 per semester! The PSMA representative even said that they will control how UPUA “pops up in the Collegian, online, what have you.” Right.

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