UPUA Hosts Five Guests, Three Special Presentations During Weekly Meeting

UPUA rolled out the welcome mat at this week’s meeting, bringing five guests in to present on three different topics before the assembly. The special presentations made up the majority of the meeting and only one piece of legislation was brought to the floor.

The first of the visitors was Rod Kirsch, Penn State’s former Senior Vice President of Donor and Alumni Relations who officially retired on August 31. Kirsch spent more than 20 years working with the university, and UPUA recognized his efforts with a special commendation.

“The University Park Undergraduate Association, on behalf of the University Park undergraduate student body, commends Mr. Kirsch for his decades of service to Penn State and for his superb performance on behalf of the University and our students,” the letter reads. “The UPUA recognizes and deeply appreciates the impact Mr. Kirsch has made and the benefits that generations of Penn State students will enjoy because of his work. We thank him for all that he has done and for his family’s personal generosity to the university.”

Humbled to receive the letter, Kirsch offered three pieces of advice when he addressed the assembly. One, find something you are passionate about and the money will always work itself out. Two, give something back to your community, as your biggest reward comes from giving back. And three, stay connected to Penn State. That last one shouldn’t be too hard (heart-eye emoji, blue and white dots, paw print, etc. etc.).

The next special presentation came from a group of Canvas project managers. Terry O’Heron, Tony Anderson, and Kate Domico discussed the transition from Angel to Canvas, which has generally been going  well so far. O’Heron, who works as the Canvas Project Co-Chair, urged students to urge their teachers to make the switch to Canvas. Almost if not everyone in the room seemed to agree that Canvas is an improvement over Angel.

The final guest and presenter was Teressa Hamsher, a Young Fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation who spoke about Peace, Justice and Democracy in Action – a non-profit, non-partisan, Quaker Lobby group. Hamsher, who used to lead State of State, works in “peacebuilding policy,” but presented the various organization and professional opportunities for students.

After the visitors ran through their lineup, President Terry Ford discussed another “It’s On Us” video which will be played at the Ohio State game. Similar to the video played before the Temple game, the short clip will feature fresh footage and also mention Stand for State. Ford also touched on a few other Ford/Jordan initiatives, noting that he hopes to have meetings regarding the Student Fee Board by the end of the month.

Vice President Katie Jordan’s report was brief, but noted the student farm and its progress so far. Members of UPUA had the opportunity to tour the student farm before last night’s meeting and had nothing but good things to say, and Jordan was no exception.

“It’s cool to go out there and see what our students are doing due to advocating for that,” she said.

The lone piece of legislation was Bill 11-11: “Funding of Mental Health and Wellness Week 2016 Keynote Speaker.” Passed unanimously, this allotment will go toward scheduling Lauren Cook to come and speak on campus during Mental Health and Wellness week, which the assembly began to plan for (get ready for a large HUB presence). Cook has visited campuses across the country, speaking with women about gratitude, goal setting, and happiness.

The unique meeting was adjourned at 9:27 p.m.

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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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