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UPUA Kicks Off New Year

The University Park Undergraduate Association’s first meeting of the 2010-2011 school year welcomed exciting new initiatives and a focus on working with the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) to better represent the Penn State undergraduate community to the Penn State Administration. The UPUA welcomed a new Programming Chair, Ali Cook, who was elected to her new position at last night’s meeting. A former member of the Programming Committee, Cook’s new position focuses on student affairs, events that encourage student interaction with the State College community, and University-wide celebrations like Homecoming.

During his announcements, President Christian Ragland spoke on his recently accepted proposal for students to sit on the University’s Budget Committee, an effort that was spearheaded by UPUA, CCSG, and GSA. Ragland cites this “small step to big opportunities” as a great opening to future dialogue between students and administration–an ongoing discussion that is especially important given the University budget and the state’s current spending freeze.

Ragland also mentioned many new initiatives that the UPUA will be working on during the upcoming school year.

  • White Loop Extension: The spring trial semester has been extended into this semester, with continued White Loop service between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. CATA is looking for White Loop Ambassadors to act as liaisons for the burgeoning program. These Ambassadors will be compensated with free bus passes from CATA.
  • Students on the State College Borough Council: Plans to get non-voting student representation at borough meetings are in the works.
  • Expansion of campus WiFi: To be handled by ARHS, who is taking steps to extend coverage.
  • Subsidized test costs for graduate school exams (LSAT, GRE, MCAT, etc.): The UPUA is working with Academic Affairs to set up a contract with Princeton Review or Kaplan to lower testing costs for Penn Staters.
  • Big Ten on the Hill: An idea that is still in its beginning stages, this collaboration aims to organize the Big Ten schools to lobby the federal government to discuss tuition, campus safety, and other issues relevant to the conference.

Also during the meeting, concerns about the the lack of performance space at University Park campus were discussed by Dan Miller, representative of No Refund Theater.

Policy #07-05 was passed during the meeting, after debate ensued over its language concerning the implementation of a UPUA Code of Conduct. The policy, entitled “Assembly Suport and Visibility Efforts,” focuses on improving the visibility of the UPUA among Penn State students, supporting UPUA staff pay, and researching (and possibly implementing in the future?) a Code of Conduct for all UPUA members.

UPUA will hold its second meeting next Wednesday (9/1) at 8:00 p.m.

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