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UPUA Talks About What It Has Been And Should Be Doing In 59-Minute Meeting

The University Park Undergraduate Association held its weekly meeting in the HUB Wednesday night, and worked to pick things up for the new semester — or more accurately, talked about doing that. An evening that included a lot of updates and plans for the coming weeks saw only one action item in Resolution 29-10, “Restructuring of the Student-Borough Advisory Committee.”

The meeting opened with a special presentation from two familiar speakers; President Emily McDonald and Speaker Emily Miller gave the assembly an update on UPUA, aptly titled “UPUA Progress Update,” which included a PowerPoint presentation. Basically a recap of everything the tenth assembly has worked on, the presentation hit on everything UPUA has discussed over the last few months all wrapped into one black and white list.

“It’s good to have a check on things and see where we are,” Miller said.

Notably, McDonald and Miller discussed the freshman seminar overhaul UPUA is working on which would inform new students of things like sexual assault prevention and mental health over their four years at Penn State instead of just trying to cram it all in at the beginning. Additionally, the duo mentioned the upcoming Blue & White Brigade to New York for the men’s hockey game as well as student engagement in town halls and potential town halls that students could attend in the future, if there’s interest. McDonald said they’re looking for a date for a town hall with President Barron and would be interested in seeing if there was enough student interest in organizing one with the Board of Trustees (there was one scheduled for last year that got snowed out).

The last slide included a short, five-item list of tasks the assembly will work on this semester that were intentionally pushed to spring. These include Inspired Doers, State of the Student Body, the Anti-Hunger Games, Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Week, and He for She. With the tenth assembly’s term coming to a close in April, it will be interesting to see if these initiatives get completed as well as the more than 20 that are already in the works.

When it came time for her own report, McDonald didn’t have much to add to the special presentation. Bystander Intervention Coordinator Katie Tenny stopped in on the student leader round table, and McDonald encouraged everyone to attend the Stand for State launch in the HUB that will take place next Wednesday. The president also mentioned some of the potential beneficiaries of the extra $8 million facilities fee, including charging blocks and the possibility of a Shaver’s Creek renovation.

Vice President Terry Ford admitted that he didn’t really have much to report on, but talked primarily on bike and car initiatives and reiterated McDonald’s recommendation to attend the Stand for State event.

When the assembly got to the lone resolution, there wasn’t much to discuss other than adding a few representatives to the advisory board that the legislation addressed. The main point of the resolution is, as the title suggests, to restructure the Student-Borough Advisory Committee to make it more sustainable and successful long into UPUA’s future. The restructuring would mandate that a number of specific student individuals are always represented on the committee and that every meeting follows the same structure that was outlined in the resolution. The resolution passed unanimously after minimal discussion and a request for a vote by roll call.

Two interesting tidbits came out of the committee reports. Representative Steffen Blanco, who is also an Onward State photographer, mentioned in his report that UPUA unofficially voted to recommend that Penn State pursue a smoke-free campus. On the governmental affairs front, Representative Ryan Valencia discussed a recent focus on emergency management, which can’t be unrelated to the numerous threats being received around America and even at Penn State. Valencia said that there are more than 25 recommendations to improve emergency management on campus, focused mainly in the areas of prevention and awareness.

Additionally, Representative Alex Shockley applauded the assembly on the success of the Professional Attire Closet, which also took place Wednesday.

“Over 200 individuals came in to look for clothing,” Shockley said. “It was one of the best events I’ve seen as a member of UPUA.”

The short meeting was adjourned at 8:59 p.m. We’ll see you next week where maybe we’ll have something new to report on some of those initiatives.

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About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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