Adewumi Ticket Addresses Recent Conflicts

Thursday morning, UPUA presidential candidate David Adewumi and vice-presidential candidate Sri Pisupati called a news conference to address the recent controversy that has surrounded their campaign.

They said that while they have been criticized since the beginning of election season, their passion for Penn State and its students has not vanished and they are determined to make the university and its student government better.

After much difficult thinking and back-and-forth, they reached the decision to stay in the race

Adewumi’s Prepared Remarks

There’s been a lot of criticism in the past two weeks; about Sri, about me, and about the ideas we’ve presented as we run for President and Vice President of the student body. For the critics, I don’t know who you are; but I can honestly tell you I LOVE Penn State; and your comments will NOT stop me from doing everything I can to make this university better- those of you that know me, know that this is true.

In this difficult time, there is one thing that hasn’t changed, and that our my passion for the Pennsylvania State University. Our parents have worked here for almost a combined 50 years. We’ve grown up in this town. We’ve watched football greats from Kijana to Courtney to Lavar to Michael to Stefen.

When people question my involvement in Innoblue; a start-up student-run organization that has helped 20 ventures – including one that got an offer for $150,000 and called what we did for him “simply amazing”; when they ask about my involvement as a homecoming captain in 2010, or as a member of the penn state men’s rugby team that competed in then national collegiate 7’s rugby championship – they often asks what ties it all together.

Leading the student body is nothing new to Sri. In high school, Sri was the first four year president to run State High. Sri lead several programs though out his term, one of which included heading the Classrooms for the Future initiative put forth by Ed Rendell. The initiative started with providing more laptops to more schools with a goal of giving students modern one on one technology. throughout Pennsylvania. He was also well involved with the 2007 – 2013 District Strategic Plan, a guide for the district written up by 40 well-respected community member and himself. Sri was handed several responsibilities, some that school and student body would completely rely on him to complete. From freshman to senior year Sri planned the school proms, dances, pep rallies, homecoming events and spirit building events and activities. Over his four years, State High’s Dance Marathon broke a new record each year. By senior year Sri and his class had raised over $29,000. But see, Sri has also served in UPUA and has seen its strengths, and its weaknesses.

Sri is currently the UPUA representative for the Schreyer Honor College in addition to getting involved with the Honor’s College Student Council. Sri has been serving his community for years, whether it be through Donor Alumni Relations with THON or organizing and managing Dandia on Fire an Indian dance competition. His leadership and ability to work with others has been an essential trait in building a platform in which to operate UPUA in the future.

Growing up, I never thought I’d come to Penn State. I saw and believed much of the negative stereotypes and stigma that surrounds Penn State students; but only in finally attending here – through personal and professional struggles, have I gotten a glimpse of the greatest university in the world, and the most amazing student body.

There are fantastic people in UPUA – Christian Ragland is one of them, and he has been a great friend and mentor in these past few weeks. I admire Christian a lot, and am glad to call him the president of our student body. He will be missed, sorely. But there are others who are threatened by change; threatened by moving away from the status quote. A man once wrote, “And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, then to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws, code, and bureaucracy on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the man is endangered along with them.

We have to be honest here, we’ve made some mistakes; and although at times we feel a little vilified like Zuckerberg in the “Social Network” do know that in the end we have your best interests at heart.

There are problems in UPUA, but there are also problems elsewhere in the university; in this school, and in the state — that’s nothing new. We are not against individuals, we simply are pointing out some flaws in the system and have proposed a few ideas for improving those flaws. We’d like to see a student government that spends as much time governing and advocating on behalf of Penn State students as it does attacking individual candidates with petty violations.

That’s why we’re running, that’s why we didn’t go to the debate – we can argue and criticize all day, but what Penn State students are known for — from THON to the Collegian to the largest Greek system in the country – is for getting things done, and doing them extremely well.
I’ve canned for the last 8 trips for THON, I’ve cheered on the Football team, even when we’ve looked on at hopeless scores, and I’ve supported an incredible homecoming team who put in hundreds of hours to continue the honors and traditions and legacy of Penn State.

Penn State has the greatest student body in the world, and what we aim to do with ONE PSU — which right now is our presidential campaign & platform – is giving students what they need to help them keep making Penn State better; while we focus less on bureaucracy and legislation. UPUA when it was created, was about being light, advocating on behalf of students, and avoiding parliamentary procedures, bureaucracy and any thing that could get in the way of advocating for students. In some ways thanks to great leaders like Gavin Keirans, Christian Ragland, and current chair of assembly Jess Pelliciotta; they have overcome many of the shortcomings other organizations face. In other ways, the organization is still threatened to succumb to the status quo and bureaucracy.

We’re about three things:

  • Getting Things Done on behalf of students.
  • Supporting student organizations – which we’ve already done through our presidential forums that one student council president remarked: “This is an incredible resource for student group leaders, and as I know from personal experience, it’s not easy to step into the role of president and feel like you know what you’re doing. Knowing that there is a community of individuals holding similar positions throughout the Penn State community is very reassuring.”
  • And allowing all students to have a voice in important decisions at this university.

Entrepreneurs are people who make things, not just talk about making things. Entrepreneurs are “heat-seeking missiles” as one venture capitalist pines on his blog. Entrepreneurs, in the words of Michelangelo, “criticize by creating.” People make things they are passionate about.

Entrepreneurship, at its core, is about passionate people.

This, then is the definition of a passionate person. An individual, a student, a community member; regardless of rank, position, or title — who can look at the world and see a realm of possibilities, using their passions to not only solve problems, but to paint a portrait, a glimpse of what the world would be.

Steve Jobs ended his segment on ‘Think Different’ with this: “..and those people that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that actually do.” It is in this vein that a team of progressive-thinkers at Penn State built and launched Innoblue — an organization hell-bent on unleashing the passionate thinkers at this University and in this community into the world in order to make the world a better place. And that’s the same vein behind our presidential campaign.

A friend shared the aphorism; “Well everyone always says ‘someone ought to do something about this, or someone ought to do something about that. But guess what? You are someone, and you ought to do something.’” If you don’t do something, you forfeit your right to speak out against that very thing that you want changed. However; when you see something and you say to yourself ‘well someone ought to do something about that,” you have found your passion.

With much difficulty we considered entering this race, and with much difficulty we are continuing to stay in the race – with the support of friends, family, students, and other student leaders who fundamentally believe in our ideas and our passion to help usher Penn State into this difficult era.

We are someone. We are passionate. We are doing something, and we want to help you, the student, continue doing something too – for the glory of dear old state.

Thank you,

David A. Adewumi

About the Author

Dan Vecellio

Dan is a graduate student in meteorology, hailing from Bradford, Pennsylvania. His interests include sports, Penn State and commons cheesesteaks. Feel free to contact me through my email or follow me on Twitter.

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