Borough Council, UPUA Discuss Student Representation

At the University Park Undergraduate Association weekly meeting on Wednesday, September 15th, Mayor Elizabeth Goreham and State College Borough Council President Ronald L. Filippelli spoke to the general assembly and the visitors about the possibility of establishing a formalized relationship between the Penn State student body and the Borough Council through student representation on the Council.

Filippelli, a retired Penn State professor, was concerned by the journalism he had read about the Borough’s presumed negative opinion of having Penn State students on the Council.  He assured UPUA members and other listeners that the “reporting was faulted,” and that the Borough Council is open to having a formalized student relationship– in fact, they welcome this suggestion because it will help Town & Gown relations by allowing the two groups to meet regularly, instead of only when problems arise.

As he spoke, Filippelli stressed the importance of Penn State students in the State College community, recognizing that Penn Staters make up the majority of the Borough’s population. Filippelli assured the Assembly that he is not “anti-student,” and went on to say that he thinks that, “[Students] are citizens, no different from other residents of the borough.”

Although Filippelli “[didn’t] speak for the Borough Council,” which is made up of seven representatives, each holding one vote, he believes that the Council would be “open to any kind of reasonable suggestion” from students.  He also said that he does not believe that students should be given a voting role on the Council, since Council members are voted for by citizens and represent the State College community as a whole, not special interest groups or certain areas of town.

At the meeting, UPUA also discussed many important events and ideas for the University Park student body:

Voter Registration: UPUA and other specialized groups are looking to increase voter registration for the coming elections, and hope to encourage registration in the coming weeks through programming and canvassing.

Green Campus: Legislation will soon be written to improve environmental practices on campus.

Bus Loop Hour Extensions: The project to extend bus hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (2:00-4:00 a.m.) is going well and will continue.

Campus Night Out: To be held on Thursday, September 30th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on the Old Main Patio. Organized by the Student Life and Diversity Committee, this event will focus on student resources and issues facing the Penn State community, including general health, sexual assault, physical and domestic violence, and alcohol and drug problems. There will be food, t-shirts, music, and performances by Ram Squad and Urban Dance Troupe.

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