10 Questions With UPUA President-Elect Emily McDonald

Penn State junior Emily McDonald recently defeated three other tickets in the 2015 UPUA presidential election. McDonald and her running mate Terry Ford will have their first meeting as the new leadership of UPUA on Wednesday night.

We spoke with McDonald about her campaign, the ensuing celebration, and plans for her coming presidency.

Onward State: Were you surprised at all with your success?
Emily McDonald: I definitely was surprised. I knew that we had worked really hard and had a great team on our side, but anxiety always gets the best of me. When the final vote totals came in it was an absolute surreal feeling finding out that over 60 percent of the voters supported us.

OS: Did you have any indicators throughout the day that you were leading in the polls?
EM: No, we had no idea. Our plan all day was to act like we were 100 votes down, and we had no way to know the actual vote totals. We campaigned until 9:59 p.m., and did not let up at all throughout the day.

OS: How did you celebrate your win?
EM: I celebrated with a group of close friends and family. I spent time with my parents who drove to State College to support me, my campaign staff who was critical all day, and all of our supporters and endorsements a few days after the election.

OS: What do you think was one thing that set you apart from your competitors?
EM: I think that everyone who ran in the election, regardless of the ticket, did a great job. We experienced the highest voter turnout in UPUA history, which is absolutely fantastic and is to the credit of those running in the election. Terry and I are confident in our ability to lead the UPUA and represent the student body, and we were honored when a majority of the voters felt the same.

OS: Are you nervous for your first meeting?
EM: I’m more excited for it than nervous. The assembly will be electing its committee chairs and Speaker of the Assembly. Other than that, we will be gearing up to start a great year.

OS: What do you plan to accomplish before the fall semester?
EM: A few of the things Terry and I want to focus on with the executive side is filling a majority of our Executive Board, working with the assembly leadership to create a strategic plan for the Tenth Assembly, and continuing to work to complete the existing initiatives the UPUA is working on that have carried into the Tenth Assembly. Over the summer, Terry and I want to work heavily on legislative outreach, having clearly laid plans in place, and corresponding with and visiting with the Pennsylvania legislature and governor.

OS: What is your largest goal for UPUA this term?
EM: Our biggest goal is to work for students every day and set the tone for how UPUA operates as we enter our 10th year. We want to avoid internal politics, and make sure every part of the UPUA is operating effectively and efficiently to improve student life for all students at Penn State.

OS: Has current UPUA president Anand Ganjam given you any advice?
EM: Anand has been fantastic on both a personal and professional level. During the election he stayed distant and gave me the same generic advice he did all of the presidential candidates, but after we won he has been able to warm up a bit and share the wealth of knowledge he has about the role of President and the UPUA.

OS: What do you wish to say to the students who you now serve?
EM: We want to work for you, day in and day out. Our office (314 HUB) is always open, and we would love to speak with you about anything and everything. We are only an email away at [email protected].

OS: If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
EM: Pterodactyl, because they can fly! And they make cool noises.

Photo: McDonald-Ford Campaign

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About the Author

Caitlyn Edgell

Caitlyn is a sophomore from Hollidaysburg, PA and is studying Political Science. She is also the Social Media Manager at Onward State. To contact Caitlyn, email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @caitlyn_edgell.

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