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How Upward State Earned My Respect (And Why They Should Have Yours Too)

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There is an old adage about how simply showing up is a major part of being successful in the political field. As someone who has been involved in politics their whole life, I would have to wholeheartedly agree.

Before I go on elaborate as to why, I’d like to first take a step back and introduce myself. My name is Ted Ritsick, and I am one of the co-founders of the 114 mile nonstop walk to Harrisburg known as Steps for State.

Needless to say, there was a ton of planning involved in making Steps for State and Capital Day a success. As I was sitting in the UPUA office the week before our event, I received a phone call. The call was from Matt Schuyler, a candidate for the Board of Trustees endorsed by Upward State.

I had little reason to care about the candidates running for the board prior to Matt’s call. I had the chance to meet the Upward State candidates Matt Schuyler, Julie Harris McHugh, and Dan Cocco at an event in the HUB. The event was good and the Upward State candidates seemed like nice people, but nothing in particular gave me a reason to really care about the election’s eventual winners.

Following the conclusion of Capital Day and the walk, my mind would be significantly changed.

Unlike every single other candidate running for the Board of Trustees, Matt and the other Upward State had taken time out of their day to keep informed on what the we, the students were doing for the glory of Penn State. They gave their full support for the walk, offering us the contact information for every media outlet they knew and even asked if they could join us on our final stretch. I happily obliged, and at 7 a.m. on April 1st, Matt, Dan, and Julie showed up at the Yankee Doodle Diner to walk across the bridge to the state capital.

Now, you might be asking yourself this: “Who cares?”

I’ll tell you why you should. The Board of Trustees is out of touch with we, the students at Penn State.

We, the students are what makes Penn State one of the greatest university on the face of the Earth. We, the students are the ones who hold one of the biggest student run music festivals in the United States. We, the students are the ones who raise millions of dollars every year dancing for a cure, and we, the students are going to literally take Penn State to the moon.

On the backs of our tuition dollars and debt, we, the students provide the funding for most expensive public universities on the face of the Earth. We, the students are those who will eventually determine the members of the Board of Trustees.

As a result, our Board of Trustees has no right to say “You need to come to us” and it’s about time they take the time to show they care.  We, the students are what make Penn State such an amazing place. We, the students are who pays the bills, and we, the students are who will eventually hold the members of our Board of Trustees accountable at the ballot box.

We, the students are who deserve to be reached out to in the same way Matt reached out to me.

Actions speak louder than words. Through their actions, I firmly believe Matt Schuyler, Julie Harris McHugh and Dan Cocco believe that we, the students are the most important part of this university and will treat us as such.

So, to all those who had the privilege of attending the Pennsylvania State University, I urge you to support Matt Schuyler, Julie Harris McHugh and Dan Cocco in their bid for the Board of Trustees.

Getting a ballot is as easy as making a phone call, just click right here. If you’re willing to give a few minutes of your time like Matt, Julie and Dan did for me, we can make Penn State a better place. They’re willing to engage and connect with we, the students of Penn State, and that is exactly what we need.

About the Author

Ted Ritsick

UPUA Representative


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