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A New Hope: UPUA’s 7th Assembly

UPUA’s 7th Assembly convened for the first time Wednesday night by swearing in new president Courtney Lennartz. She was sworn in by a tie-less TJ Bard — effectively ending the tie rating of the week tradition. The rest of the Assembly was also sworn in by President Lennartz before the meeting began.

Lennartz raved about the success of Capital Day 2012 — which the Assembly attended earlier yesterday afternoon — and then turned the focus to the committee chair elections. Without further adieu, here are the UPUA committee chairs for the 7th Assembly:

Chair of the Assembly: Spencer Malloy

The election was between two influential UPUA members from this past assembly, Elias Warren (At Large Representative) and Spencer Malloy (At Large Representative). While Warren gave a very passionate speech as to why he should be Chair of the Assembly, Malloy was able to sway the general assembly with his ideas involving better communication between the different committees in UPUA, which has been a problem in the past. Overall, Malloy seems to be a good fit for the position.

This election, however, featured the most heartwarming story of the evening. During the discussion between the two candidates, Curtis Houck (Off Campus Representative) spoke very fondly of Warren, despite having both come from rival high schools. “I will support Elias because that’s what friends do,” said Houck. Even though Warren was not elected, we all learned a thing or two about friendship in the end.

Internal Development Committee Chair: Dray Krishnan

Krishnan (On Campus Representative) ran unopposed for this committee chair election, which killed any tension going into the secret ballot. Krishnan, a freshman, stressed that he plans to be fiscally responsible with his new position, especially with the anticipated budget cuts facing Penn State.

Facilities Committee Chair: David Harrington

Like Krishnan, Harrington (Off Campus Representative) also was unopposed and will serve as chair for a second year. Harrington was not short of ideas however, as he plans to enforce more student safety near crossing zones and create more technology friendly lounges around campus (among other things).

Government Affairs Committee Chair: Rachel Franchesino

In what was probably the closest election all evening, Rachel Franceschino defeated Anthony Christina (Off Campus Representative) 17-14. Both sides gave a very convincing case as to why each should be elected as the Government Affairs Chair, but questions about Christina’s partisanship due to his involvement with the College Republicans were too much for him to overcome. Even former Governmental Affairs Chair Adam Boyer spoke during the discussion, saying that the Government Affairs Committee Chair had to be “someone who’s well spoken and knows what they stand for.” As a committee chair, Franchesino plans to make it easier for students to reach out to legislators and work more closely with government on the local level.

Student Life Committee Chair: Justin Laskowki

Laskowki (At large Representative) was able to beat out Dutch Markward (Off Campus Representative) and Rishi Kumar Mittal (Smeal Representative) to become the new Student Life Committee Chair. Despite being the “grease” of the Big Mac (“It soaks in all the flavor”) and identifying Markward’s only weakness as kryptonite (according to Markward himself), Laskowki was still able to win the election after his impressive work with setting up Sexual Assault Awareness Week. As a committee chair, Laskowki plans to, among other things, make students more aware of events going on around campus.

Student Diversity Committee Chair: Dutch Markward

Markward was elected over Mittal to become the new committee chair for student diversity. Both Markward and Mittal agreed that diversity needed to be stressed more, and that more Diversity Roundtables should be held. However, it appeared that most of the assembly viewed Markward as the more organized of the two, which most likely gave him the edge during the secret ballot.

Academic Affairs Committee Chair: Richard Pooler

In an astonishing upset (some would even label it the upset of the century), Richard Pooler (College of Engineering Representative) edged out Warren and Christina to become the new Academic Affairs Committee Chair. This committee chair position resulted in a lot of debate, and even caused Earth and Mineral Sciences Representative Dan Tauriello to say “Pick your poison” regarding the candidates. Pooler (who is apparently known for walking around his frat house with a clipboard and writing down things to fix) plans to meet with all the different academic counsels and work with faculty to make textbooks more affordable, among other things.

Non-voting Representative on the Borough Counsel: No one (yet)

Unfortunately, when called for nominations, a hush fell over the general assembly. Hopefully, UPUA will find someone who “wants” to fill this position next meeting.

After three hours and thirteen minutes, the meeting was finally adjourned. UPUA’s first meeting of the 7th assembly was in the books.

About the Author

Greg Schlosser

Greg is a senior majoring in energy engineering at Penn State. He is a big fan of Pittsburgh sports and sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries. You can email him at [email protected] or find him at the Phyrst drunkenly requesting the band to play "One Headlight."

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