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UPUA Establishes Joint Student Government Advocacy Group

Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association met for its weekly meeting on Wednesday night in the HUB. The meeting was called to order at 8 p.m. and the full agenda was adopted by the tenth assembly.

To start things off, there was a special presentation from State of State’s Executive Director Tess Hamsher and Partnership Director Jesse Weber.

“Your voices as student leaders are always really appreciated and you all bring an interesting perspective,” Hamsher said. State of State will be held on February 13 and signup is live on the website.

Next up, President Emily McDonald gave her weekly report to the assembly. She gave a recap of the meetings she’s had in the last week, including Hillel, the Student Farm Association, and the Facilities Fee Advisory Council, to name a few.

President McDonald also touched on the ongoing healthcare saga. “There’s a big push from administration to have mandatory insurance so we’re working on getting in contact with international students and groups to hear their thoughts,” she said.

Vice President Terry Ford gave his report next. He’ll be attending the newly formed Diversity Coalition on Friday, which he said he’s excited to see what they’re doing and how the assembly can get involved.

Shawn Bengali gave a thorough borough report. He said after meeting with borough leaders, who support helping UPUA install lights downtown, they’ve concluded an old document preventing them from installing lights is out of date. He noted there will be a followup lighting tour, “so stay tuned for the sequel,” he said.

In his liaison report, Nikita Page announced they have completed the Movin’ On lineup but declined to comment further. A member of the assembly asked “are these acts people you’ll see at Coachella?” To which he smiled and said, “given the trend in the past years, yes it’s likely.”

With no old business to discuss, the assembly moved to a seven minute caucus breakout before moving into new business on the agenda.

First was the confirmation of Judicial Board justices. Riley Ebbs (38-1), Nick Rockwell (37-2), and Jesse Weber (35-3) were all confirmed to the Judicial Board. Following the vote, the assembly tackled two policies and two resolutions.

Policy 02-10, Revised Election Code 2016-17, was first. The policy was given to members of the assembly before the meeting, and the subsequent discussion focused on specific questions about the wording. The policy passed unanimously.

Next was Policy 03-10, Amendments to the UPUA Constitution. The policy passed unanimously with no discussion.

The first piece of legislation discussed was Resolution 32-10, Establishment of the We Are… Worth Funding Campaign. “As it stands, all legislative outreach efforts are decentralized, with each student government conducting its own efforts,” the legislation reads. The recommended course of action was to establish the “We Are… Worth Funding” Campaign with the purpose to advocate for and promote the state and federal legislative agenda at Penn State.

“The three student governments will manage this and it would be housed under UPUA,” At Large Representative Ryan Valencia, who co-sponsored the resolution, said. “However all three student governments will have a say.”

Resolution 32-10 passed unanimously.

The final piece of legislation for the night was Resolution 33-10, Support for Sustainable Napkin Dispensers Program. Alex Shockley, College of Health and Human Development representative, presented the resolution to the assembly. According to the legislation, replacing napkin holders with dispensers will be cost effective and eco-friendly. The resolution passed unanimously.

After committee reports, at least eight representatives stood when asked if there were any comments for the good of the order. The only notable thing to come of the announcements was Bradley Garrett, College of Agriculture Science representative, who expressed his frustration with the assembly for not being on the same page. He made the point representatives shouldn’t vote no on people or legislation just to vote no and encouraged everyone to own up to their votes. There was no further discussion on the topic.

Closing roll call was taken and the meeting was adjourned at 9:41 p.m.

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