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UPUA Confirms Directors, Talks Civic Engagement At Weekly Meeting

The University Park Undergraduate Association’s 11th Assembly reconvened in the HUB last night to confirm directors and discuss civic engagement in a brief meeting.

The meeting opened with a special presentation from Stand for State Coordinator Katie Tenny about the upcoming Stand for State Action Week, which will be held September 12-18.

“The goal of the week is to just get as many people to do green dots as possible and to see how many we get,” Tenny said. A green dot is “any behavior‚ choice‚ word‚ or attitude that promotes safety for all our citizens and communicates utter intolerance for violence,” according to the Green Dot website.

In his report, President Terry Ford reported on a meeting with Senator Jake Corman, State Senate Majority Leader.

“He was a champion for Penn State and a strong advocate for an increase in appropriations,” Ford said. “We requested that he and his colleagues continue to work for increased appropriations in the future, including a five percent increase for this next budget.”

Ford also discussed the future of the Governor-appointed student trustee on the Board of Trustees. Technically, the Governor is not required to appoint a student as one of his designated trustees. Although this tradition began in 1971, its future came into question when a true student trustee seat was codified to the Board in 2014.

Governor Wolf hasn’t responded to UPUA inquiries, but Ford emphasized the importance of student representation in the voting ranks of the Board of Trustees, recommending an “advocacy campaign to get the Governor to give us some sort of response.”

UPUA is hoping to get a Board of Trustees town hall meeting to convene this year for the first time so students can ask trustees about relevant issues.

“An event of this nature was planned two years ago but was canceled due to a campus-wide snow day,” Ford said.

Vice President Katie Jordan discussed meeting with OPP Manager of Marketing and Communications Alex Novak about the construction timeline transparency initiative.

“They do have a website with the construction projects on campus but it’s not very accessible,” Jordan said.

Jordan said she discussed posting signage with a description and duration at each construction project site, but OPP will eventually roll out an interactive map of what’s closed and for how long.

Jordan also said that County Commissioner Mike Pipe will assist UPUA in helping students understand where they need to vote and providing information about absentee and out-of-state voting.

State College Borough liaison Morgan Goranson told UPUA the borough is beginning to discuss the budget for the upcoming year. “[Students] account for a lot of the Borough’s revenue, so I’m going to work on having our voice in what we want to see prioritized in this next year.”

GPSA President Kevin Horne (also an Onward State editor) told UPUA about a “troubling” quote he read in The Daily Collegian from State College Elizabeth Goreham. The quote reads as follows:

“We live in different worlds, and we have different lifestyles, so we don’t know each other. So the alienation is just because we don’t come together,” Mayor Elizabeth Goreham said. “And it makes you realize that students aren’t scary and drunk all the time.”

Horne emphasized the last line, and encouraged the assembly to do something to combat this mindset. “I think it’s time to start thinking about new ways that we can tackle this issue,” Horne said. “If GPSA joins forces with all of you (UPUA), I think we can really make a difference, especially in May with the primaries.”

After a five minute caucus breakout, the 11th Assembly confirmed Freshman Council Co-Directors Garrett Warmbein and Madeline Fortin with a 34-2 vote and S-Book Director Emily Foster unanimously. This was the only new business of the week, as the assembly didn’t have any legislation to bring to the floor.

Perhaps the most exciting change this week for us sitting in the back (and, I’m sure, some members of the assembly as well) was that the UPUA committee chairs submitted their reports to be printed beforehand, accounting for the incredibly short meeting tonight. Not only could all representatives see what was done in the past week in committees and have the opportunity to ask questions, but it’s easy to zone out during committee reports, so the printed reports make sure that everything is appropriately recognized. Also, yes, it made the meeting much shorter.

Representative Isaac Will concluded the meeting by referencing our article bashing LionPATH and how many students shared it, telling the assembly they weren’t doing enough to advocate for students in how absolutely terribly LioPATH has been.

“It’s my understanding that if the students complain about something and Onward State writes about it that they’re looking to UPUA to do something about it,” Will said.

The meeting adjourned at 9:11 p.m. (never forget) and UPUA will be back in 233B HUB next Wednesday at 8 p.m. for it’s next meeting.

Quote of the week: “We have your handy-dandy vote papers, courtesy of Emily Miller…praise,” Speaker Alex Shockley said, looking up to the ceiling.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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