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UPUA Candidates: Evan Ponter and Ryan Kristobak

With UPUA election day quickly approaching, three presidential candidates are vying to replace outgoing President T.J. Bard. Over the next several days, we’ll be posting profiles of each ticket to help you make a more educated decision on March 28.



Evan Ponter: Presidential Candidate

Basic Information

Junior from Minersville, PA, Majoring in Print Journalism, Minoring in Political Science and English.

What is your political background/experience?

I am a political writer for Onward State and have worked with activism groups, planning teach-ins and rallies.

Why did you decide to run for UPUA President?

I wanted to make a real change at Penn State. Student body government is disconnected from the student voice and I saw ways in which that can be fixed. After the past year’s events, I saw it as necessary to take up the administration on their promise to students of transparency. I also believe the November riots were a direct consequence of students not having a productive outlet to be heard and challenge those in charge. This is where a student government needs to step up and be the power unifying the student dissent.

Why should students vote for you over the other two candidates?

Ryan and I are the only candidates dedicated to bringing real change to UPUA. We’re willing to dig through the constitution in order to restructure the system to be more student centered. Our implementation of a Progressive Student Union will destroy the hierarchy that has for so long deterred the average student from taking an active role in the legislative process. We’re giving the power to produce change directly to the students. This will further foster the voice of minority students and push forth dialog on the controversial topics that are too hot for the traditional UPUA to handle. It’s testing the limits of what can be done by the student government that will restore the confidence of the students in UPUA. In the constitution, it states the body only exists as long as there is faith in their governance. This has proved to be untrue through the lack of participation in deliberations and a lack of relevancy to the student body. Ryan and I will cut through the red tap that has formed into a bloated bureaucracy in order to foster a more inclusive environment.

We won’t just have an office and a title if elected. We’ll assume the roles of stewards to the student voice. Reform is something necessary that you won’t find on other candidate’s platforms. You’ll only see frivolous legislation like expensive water fountains and smoothie bars in the gym facilities. No one but Ponter Kristobak is addressing the underlying issue that UPUA isn’t operating effectively. The government needs to get tough with the administration in demanding more power over student affairs.

Why don’t students write student conduct codes? Because we’re spoon fed rules and regulations by a bloated administration. Faculty employment has been greatly over shadowed by the ever growing offices in the HUB and Old Main. Why hasn’t the student leadership stood up to them? Becayse we’re powerless under a UPUA that can’t unify the students.

The administration has the fancy offices and the six digit pay checks but the students have the numbers. We can use that to open doors and demand the transperency we’ve been promised.

We’ll listen to students. Not just during our one hour of office hours, but while walking between classes or over a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Ryan Kristobak: Vice-Presidential Candidate

Basic Information:

Junior from Lebanon, PA, Majoring in Print Journalism or History.

What is your political background/experience?

I served on my high school’s student council for four years. I’m also an Onward State editor.

Why did you decide to run for UPUA Vice-President?

As an Onward State writer and Penn State student, I had attended UPUA meetings and followed along with all they had done. There was a lot that I didn’t like about it, and so I constantly criticized it. This year I, as well as Evan, realized that unless I became part of the solution, my evaluations would only do so much good within the student government. Onward State has given me the unique opportunity to constantly meet with student’s and organizations from every corner of the university, and I want to make sure that their voices begin to hold a larger role within our government. Instead of student’s and UPUA calling each other out on their shortcomings from a distance, I want to ensure that we are having a genuine conversation.

Why should students vote for you over the other two candidates?

Students should vote for Evan and I because our platform is the only one that will directly increase the student voice within UPUA, as well as lobbying for greater representation within the administration. We offer a fresh perspective to a student government that needs to reevaluate its’ method of conduct. Evan and I want to meet with any student or organization that sees a route for improvement at Penn State, and we will never defer from addressing the controversial. We are approachable, and we understand and believe in an effective communications network.

*Disclaimer: Evan Ponter and Ryan Kristobak are Onward State staff members.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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