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UPUA Confirms Freshmen Representatives, Introduces New Campus-Wide Initiatives

Although the UPUA’s tenth assembly met briefly this week, their fifth meeting of the year covered a wide variety of topics and welcomed plenty of new faces. The meeting went just over an hour and included two special presentations, the confirmation of freshman representatives, and  introductions to many new initiatives from the Facilities Committee.

The meeting began with two special reports from Susan Venegoni, President of the Highlands Association, and Jordan Barnett, New Student Orientation (NSO) Coordinator. President Venegoni introduced the Highlands as the biggest neighborhood in the borough of State College, home to forty fraternities and several different human service organizations. Venegoni also said that the Highlands has the highest crime rate in the borough, and urged members to get involved in neighborhood organizations to improve the quality of life for residents.

The second presentation, by Jordan Barnett, focused on the search for next summer’s NSO Leadership Team. The Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs is looking for 20 Orientation Leaders and three Student Program Specialists to assist with New Student Orientation in 2016. Information sessions will be held in the HUB starting in October, and applications will be due by October 28. Barnett says that they are looking for students from all backgrounds, and students looking to develop their leadership skills are encouraged to apply.

President Emily McDonald gave a fairly concise reports this week. McDonald mentioned an increase in student leadership before introducing the the (very large) Freshmen Council. She then noted a special meeting with this year’s State of State panel, with whom McDonald hopes to begin and maintain a partnership with in order to create even more conversation about the present and future of the university.

Vice President Terry Ford’s report was brief as well and mainly emphasized transportation on campus. After discussing his meeting with the Student Leader Transportation Committee and campus bike share programs, Ford mentioned a possible automatic vehicle location (AVL) for campus shuttles, much like the CATA app that exists for the CATABUS system, but more reliable for passengers. The tentative release date for the shuttle AVL system stands at the end of the year, but nothing is set in stone.

Liaison reports continued as normal, and the confirmation of representatives for the Freshmen Council followed. Both Nick Karafilis and Bhavin Shah shared with members their reason behind joining UPUA. Members followed up with questions and then voted on each potential representative. Both representatives were confirmed with a vote of 33-1.

Representative Adam Terragnoli laid out several new initiatives, including more charging stations across campus. A survey about possible locations for charging stations will be sent out the student body. Although Terragnoli mentioned the idea of a gym “look-up” system for students who don’t have an ID at hand, the idea was vetoed due to a university policy violation. Other clever ideas included a professional attire rental system, for which the UPUA wants to partner with the Smeal College of Business.

Before closing roll call, members congratulated President McDonald on her nomination for this year’s Homecoming Court. The meeting adjourned at 9:04 p.m.

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.

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