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No Days Off- Christian Ragland and UPUA

“No days off” is what UPUA President Christian Ragland will tell you if you talk to him about the time he has currently spent in office. Trust me, I have seen him working tirelessly over the summer, always dressed in his suit dashing from meeting to the other. However, I did recently get a chance to talk to him and discuss the direction UPUA hopes to take once the fall semester starts and what measures they have been taking over the summer to improve the lives of students on campus.

The list of UPUA executive goals (which they have started or will start) are as follows:

  • Efforts to lower tuition. This is done through the PA student association and getting in touch with PA’s state and public universities (our Commonwealth Campuses included!) to present a united front to lower tuition in PA
  • Increasing attendance at non-revenue sporting events
  • Subsidize standardized preparation classes. (Subsidized GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT! Woohoo!) UPUA has been in talks with The Princeton Review and other Big Ten schools with this program in place to see what the best way would be
  • Increased engagement with the Board of Trustees and alumni
  • Increased involvement regarding sustainability and green initiatives and policies at Penn State
  • Purchasing card for student organizations which will allow for student organizations to have more flexible spending
  • GPS tracking of CATA buses
  • Facilitating increased international student planning
  • Commission on student safety initiatives and policies. UPUA hopes to work with State College Police, Center for Women, Alcohol education and other student organizations to reach these goals
  • Stronger freshman outreach planning
  • Campus wide lighting survey to be taken in the fall
  • Campus Night Out to unite town and gown
  • Plan Presidential round tables, UPUA town hall meetings and diversity initiatives
  • Attempt to get a non-voting student member on the Borough council to help improve communications between town and gown.
  • Off campus housing seminar/ researching ways to improve housing options for students
  • Raise awareness of local elections
  • Tenant-landlord mediation with Legal Affairs
  • Expansion of campus wi-fi
  • UPUA Open House planned for the beginning of both semesters
  • Corporate sponsorships for student organizations
  • Strengthen ties with other Big Ten schools
  • Research is being conducted on 24-hour medical attention

I also got a chance to talk to him about the PSU Ride Share program and Last Stop. UPUA has been researching Ride Share programs, most notably Philadelphia’s proposed Bike Share Program, Michigan State’s Ride Share Program and Ecotrip. There will be more updates to follow as the UPUA executive has forwarded this information to the Facilities Committee.

On the Last Stop front,  while there is no money allocated in the budget for a future music festival, they “are not giving up on the idea of a spring festival if the opportunity presents itself.” They are “also strongly looking into collaborating with other student organizations to see if we can put on one concert with a united effort.” That would be fantastic! Imagine if Movin’ On and Last Stop and SOMA were to join forces and create the coolest concert in the Big 10!

That is truly a tremendous list of achievements UPUA is going for. I also got a chance to talk to him about the progress of the 5th UPUA Assembly so far and how he feels about his progress.  He had this to say:

UPUA so far this year has been very proactive for next year. We passed our budget earlier than usual, my executive board has been put together and are working efficiently on many initiatives this summer, and this summer I have already began making the proper contacts with many PSU student leaders, administrators, community members, and other student leaders at other universities. I have a mindset of excellence and being proactive and if we as UPUA continue this summer with that mindset, we will lay the foundation for a great fall and spring semester.

And that they should! I really hope UPUA has a productive summer and gears up for a phenomenal fall semester.

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