PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Bard and Lennartz Tout Experience and Feasibility in Campaign Platform

It’s probably a good thing that T.J. Bard and Courtney Lennartz’s platform was more professional than their campaign song.

In front of 35 individuals–campaign supporters, volunteers, and other interested parties–the two set forth their agenda, unveiled a campaign website––and laid out a number of campaign promises and plans, but not before, regrettably, introducing a half-hearted hip-hop tune that implored listeners to “remember this rhyme come election time,” while a remix of Seven Nation Army played in the background.

But once the fun and games came to an end, Bard and Lennartz differentiated themselves not just from the theme song but perhaps from other candidates, touting their experience and realistic proposals to improve student life at Penn State.

Bard, who currently serves as UPUA’s Governmental Affairs Chair, is the longest-serving UPUA member, and has been involved in student government since his freshman year. So too has Lennartz, the sitting Academic Affairs Chair. As a result, the two argued, they were in a better position to accomplish their goals on a number of fronts–which covered virtually all issues of life both on and off campus, from tuition to scholarships, academic issues to housing, health and safety and forging relationships between groups, as Bard and Lennartz both simultaneously touted their previous accomplishments while presenting goals for the future.

As Governmental Affairs Chair, Bard said that he has worked with legislatures at a number of levels–from building relationships within the Penn State administration to the State College borough, where he worked to install a non-voting student member on the council, and even to Harrisburg, where Bard stressed his relationships with state legislators. Similarly, Lennartz’s experience in developing a course watchlist and in extending the add/drop period, and her appointment to the Penn State Board of Education by Graham Spanier offered a number of existing ties between the duo and key members of the University administration.

Jessica Pelliciotta, the Chairwoman of the Board for UPUA, saw that “unparalleled experience” as key to the campaign’s success, and though she drew the line short of endorsing their candidacy, Pelliciotta did say that Bard and Lennartz “understand other students more” and had the “best idea of what’s feasible.”

Chief among those proposals was gaining access to the administration, especially as Penn State faces a drastic cut in appropriations from the state. The Core Council, Bard explained, was made up of a mere 13 members, handpicked by President Spanier, which left both students and faculty out in the cold. Bard sought to create a comparable group of students and faculty to review proposals and offer their own suggestions on areas of cutbacks.

“We want to take the people left out of the discussion and provide our own input,” Bard said. “We want to take a responsible perspective, but we realize cuts will be made.”

That “responsible perspective” meant collaboration with the administration in the form of meetings, rather than “yelling” and “knocking down doors” in an effort to raise awareness.

Similarly, Bard wanted UPUA to align with student groups, citing a current “lack of cooperation” between the two, and encouraged an expansion of Spanier’s existing Presidential Roundtable to invite more voices into the conversation.

But many of the campaign’s proposals were more tangible in their scope. For instance, one suggestion for cost reductions was rolling back the taxes on textbooks purchased during the first week of classes–an accomplishment managed by students at Ohio State, and one that Bard claimed his experience with legislators could help facilitate. Another proposal to lower tuition came from a green scholarship initiative, one that suggested that the money raised from recycling efforts on campus could help create scholarship money, much like existing projects at Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center which raise money for students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. According to Bard, recycling mixed office paper alone netted over $450,000. And Lennartz expressed a desire to see course syllabi posted online before registration, so that students could know more about the classes they planned to take.

But perhaps the hallmark of Bard and Lennartz’s campaign was a commitment to facilitating off-campus housing–something Bard found himself uniquely qualified to do, since he became a licensed real estate agent before coming to college. Bard was “shocked” when he came to State College and “saw the crazy rent prices that students pay,” prices that closely aligned with those one might expect if living in downtown Philadelphia or Pittsburgh–and equivalent to a $350,000 mortgage. Bard wanted to initiate an information channel to be hosted by Penn State, arguing that information should come from the university, not landlords or housing companies.

Further, Bard claimed that many housing options failed to meet legal standards, with apartments failing to line up with code.  He proposed that UPUA subsidize building code inspectors, to bring in neutral 3rd-party observers in an effort to ameliorate “subpar” housing options.

But beyond presenting a platform of goals and past accomplishments, Bard also acknowledged a desire to reform UPUA, saying that he wanted to be a president focused on internal affairs as well as external ones, to help grow and evolve UPUA and to build cohesion between the executive board and the assembly.

“We recognize UPUA’s shortcomings,” Bard said, “and we want it to become less bureaucratic, and unite students together.”

Indeed, although Bard expressed a desire for UPUA to expand its visiblity, his running mate also acknowledged that it was far from all-encompassing.

We’re here for the students, but we need to hear what other students have to say, not just make decisions on our own,” Lennartz explained.

About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.


More by Devon

Guest Column: Endorsements Keep PS4RS on Wrong Track for Accomplishing Meaningful Reform

The loudest voices in this upcoming Board of Trustees election are those who are living in the past, driven primarily by an unhealthy thirst for vengeance. They refuse to acknowledge that the present poses new and distinct challenges, and that our Trustees are the ones who must lead this university through an uncertain future.

An Apology from the Managing Editor of Onward State

Onward Debates: THON Workshops Waste of Time


Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Former Penn State women’s gymnastics head coach Jeff Thompson has filed a lawsuit against the university following the termination of his contract in February 2017. Thompson, alongside his wife and associate head coach Rachelle Thompson, was accused by former gymnasts and an assistant coach of creating a hostile team environment. The Thompsons allegedly pressured athletes to compete […]

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Penn State Women’s Soccer Adds Swiss Forward Kim Dubs

Student Life

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

The lab uses a combination of human genomics, computational biology, and functional studies, using Drosophila and human cell lines, to understand the risks caused by genetic mutations and to grasp how gene disruption leads to altered neurodevelopment.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Pennharmonics To Hold 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love you to join us.

Mayor Don Hahn Asks Borough Council To Consider Changes To Proposed Overnight Parking Restrictions

State College Mayor Don Hahn posted on his blog Sunday republishing a letter he sent to Borough Council on August 1 outlining three revisions he’d like them to consider for the proposed overnight parking restrictions.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend