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UPUA To Co-Sponsor Mental Health Awareness Week

There was legislation about website redesigns and health awareness week. There was debate on an amendment to change the amount allocated for a policy. There was a creepy tweet from Chief of Staff John Zang offering to give girls massages. This, of course, is your weekly UPUA recap.

The meeting opened with a brief presentation from Jacqueline Sheader, the marketing manager from CATA. She claims that CATA is the third largest transportation authority in Pennsylvania behind Philidelphia and Pittsburgh, so there’s that. She introduced herself to the assembly and briefly spoke about some new CATA plans, including possibilities of — wait for it — new signage.

Next up was President Courtney Lennartz’s weekly report. She discussed the renovation on Schwab Auditorium, which will cost more than was expected. She is meeting with the Tavern Association tomorrow to discuss bars agreeing to close again on State Pattys Day. She also brought up UPUA’s Listserv e-mail from Monday, and hopes that UPUA will have full access by the end of the semester.

She mentioned meeting with the Freeh Report advisory council —  adding that the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance will continue to head the University Park police and also brought up the university’s efforts to for Cleary Act compliance.

Resolution — Redesign of the UPUA Website Act of 2012:

The crux of this legislation is that the current UPUA website, though fairly well designed, is nearly impossible to learn how to edit and update. While one UPUA representative — Rishi Mittal — has taken the time to learn the process, it is not in any way intuitive and would take hours for him to teach others how to do fairly simple tasks on the back end of the site. This legislation designates $2,200 for a complete website redesign as they switch from using Drupal to WordPress.

Anthony Christina rose to voice his opinion that UPUA should not continue paying for websites, as they have already paid for both a PASS and a textbook website recently. I’d like to point out that Christina looked quite distraught last night as he mourns the Romney/Ryan campaign. Facilities Chair Dave Harrington then analogized that its “good to have a great stage, but if you only have one door to get backstage you’re not going to have a good play”. Everybody nodded, but they were really thinking, “I have no fucking idea what this kid is talking about.”

The legislation passed by a vote of 39-1-0, and I say through clenched teeth that I actually support the resolution.

Resolution — Mental Health Awareness Week 2012:

I’ve seen stupid UPUA legislation. I’ve seen pointless UPUA legislation. And then there’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Let me first set the stage by explaining what this resolution does. UPUA’s Student Life committee has organized a Mental Health Awareness Week. It will take place from November 12th to 16th.

Monday — which is Veteran’s Day — will be “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Day”, including trivia activities, prizes, and a donation box for the Wounded Warriors Project. Tuesday will be “OCD Day”, with a puzzle that participants will be forced to stop every five to ten seconds to feel the effects of OCD. Wednesday will be “Anxiety and Stress Day”, with masseuses, massage chairs, and free stress balls. Thursday will be “Suicide Prevention and Depression Day”, with 1,100 precut hands to represent the number of college students that take their lives every year. Students will sign these hands. Friday will be “Eating Disorders Day” and students will write stigmas on post-it notes that on a banner. There will also be a life-size Barbie cutout next to a cutout of a real person to “demonstrate that Barbie’s body proportion is unhealthy.”

I shouldn’t have to explain how ridiculous this entire project is. I understand that it is well-intentioned, but I don’t see it doing any good at all. Students with mental health issues will only feel more self-conscious and insecure about whatever problem they may have. I’ve dealt with anxiety issues in the past, and I don’t feel any comfort in knowing that UPUA is handing out some pamphlets and stress balls and giving massages. The fact that they even associate stress balls and massages with something like anxiety disorders is offensive in itself.

Representative Christina, who is seemingly constantly ignored by the assembly despite consistently offering well thought out, intelligent opinions, voiced exactly this sentiment during discussion of the legislation, arguing that he has friends with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and can vouch on their behalf that they would be nothing short of insulted by this Mental Health Awareness Week. But no surprise — discussion was short and the resolution passed by a vote of 33-7-0.

John Zang Tie of the Week (4 out of 5):

Zang wore a cream sport coat, khakis, a grey sweater vest with a blue button-down collar sticking out, and a dark red tie with some sort of grey pattern on it. Once again, the Chief ‘O Staff dresses to impress.

Elias Warren Quote of the Week:

When Association of Residence Hall Students liaison Malcolm Jenkins finished his weekly report by informing the assembly that their weekly movie will be something from the Bourne series, Elias Warren rose to ask Jenkins for the second or third time, “I have to ask again, when are you guys playing Batman?” It wasn’t that funny, but the assembly erupted in laughter.

As Porky the Pig once said: “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


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