How I Got Elected to UPAC
Did you know that, in addition to being accepted through an application process, a number of UPAC members are elected during the UPUA election season?
Yeah, prior to last month, neither did I. And neither, it would seem, did many of the other 39,999 students at University Park. Although six spots in the body were up for grabs, not a single individual had declared a candidacy by Wednesday, March 30th. In other words, six write-in candidates would be elected to a spot on the University Park Allocation Committee.
When I woke up on that fateful day, I didn’t realize that I’d be knocking one item off my bucket list. I didn’t realize that I’d be waging a campaign, entirely through social media. I didn’t realize that I’d have this article to write two weeks later.
But I had some inclination. Ever since my freshman year, I’ve written myself in for more offices than not–it was a combination of three factors: arrogance, ignorance, and protest. This year, because I’d become more involved in the process, I played by the rules, voting for most UPUA offices with approved candidates. But when I got to that last section of the ballot, the UPAC spots up for grabs, the wheels started to turn.
It started as a complete joke–I wrote in myself for one of those six spots, along with the editor-in-chief of this site, Davis Shaver, and thought nothing of it. But when Dan Vecellio noted the absence of UPAC candidates, I decided to inform the world of my candidacy through my Twitter page. Why should prospective voters choose me for the office? “Because it’s the only one nobody’s running for.” I drew some inspiration from Evan Kalikow, who’d been waging a battle all morning for the uncontested Schreyer Honors College representative spot–though his campaign was far less unilateral and actually involved forethought. But I cross-posted that Tweet to my Facebook page and figured it would get some laughs.
I don’t know how many of my 380 followers saw that tweet, or how many of them even go to Penn State. I don’t know how many decided to indulge my narcissism, or who’d already voted. And so I waited for the evening to see who’d win the elections, but I wasn’t holding my breath. I was far more curious as to how the presidency race had turned out.
It was a little bit disappointing when, as the clock neared midnight, and the results were finally announced, the UPAC seats weren’t counted amongst the other seats. I figured the lack of candidates probably meant that nobody would be elected from the write-in candidates, or that the six highest vote totals would probably include “South Park” or “Peter Griffin.”
But fast forward two weeks, and there’s an email from Mark Donovan, the current UPAC Chairman, in my inbox. To be honest, I’d forgotten all about my half-assed campaign until I saw the subject: “UPAC Elections.”
“Congratulations!” the email read, “You have received an appointment through the UPAC elections process.”
There are so many people I have to thank. First and foremost, the four or five people who decided to write my name in. I’m working on getting a full count of how many people voted for me, but I imagine it’s roughly between 3 and 40,000. But more importantly, I’d like to thank the other 40,000+ students at this campus for also not running, and for waging even less of a write-in candidacy than I did. I couldn’t have done it without you guys. Or, more accurately, I couldn’t have done it with you.
I’m still unsure of what awaits next year–it’s probably not a great reflection on my election that only since being named to UPAC have I started to study and learn what, exactly, it does. I understand the gist of it–that it spends the Student Activity Fee on clubs, programs, and projects–but I’m sure it’ll be plenty of touch-and-go come next fall. I’m not quite as gifted as your average sorority girl when it comes to spending money–I am Jewish after all–but I think I can handle the job.
I know that they say power corrupts, and I’m excited to have that chance. I know that UPAC is a high-stakes game, and I’m ready to take the bull by the horns. Because that’s how I handle business.
It’s a metaphor, but that actually happened.