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UPUA Approves Creation Of ‘Mondays With McKinney,’ Puts Spotlight On Student Poverty

In its seventh meeting of the semester, the 14th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met on Wednesday in 233B HUB for a brief weekly session. Assembly members voted on legislation to approve funding for Financial Resources Education and Efforts (FREE) week and a resolution to support the creation of “Mondays with McKinney.” 

The assembly meeting began with a special presentation by from the director of the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose Tim Balliet who overviewed the duties and responsibilities of the center. Under the Department of Student Affairs, the center promotes ethical leadership, civic engagement, civil discourse and creates resources to aid students facing poverty.

Balliet highlighted the program Project Cahir, which works to alleviate student poverty and conducts surveys to collect data on student distress levels. Through cooperation with other programs like Lion’s Pantry, Project Cahir is working to solve the problem of student malnutrition noting that according to its report earlier this year, 37.6% of students reported that fresh fruit and vegetables were “unaffordable” for them.

Project Cahir is also planning to table in the HUB to raise awareness on this issue and in the spring open student forum in the spring. Balliet and the center are encouraging student orgs to spread the word of this upcoming event and amplify the issue of student poverty awareness.

President Laura McKinney’s report was brief, but she mentioned meeting with the leadership of the 2020 Class Gift Campaign, which was recently voted on to be an endowment for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Up next was Vice President Jake Griggs who reported back from meetings he had about evaluating the continued effectiveness of SRTEs and reducing the cost of releasing student transcripts from $10.

Confirmation for the candidate seeking the office of Director of Educational Equity was put off to next week because the candidate was unable to make it to Wednesday’s meeting, but the candidate had completed the interview process with exec board members.

In new business, the first piece of legislation discussed was Bill #13-14 which provided funding for the upcoming Financial Resources Education and Efforts (FREE) Week. FREE Week, which will be hosted by UPUA in the HUB from October 14-20, continues the legacy of Student Poverty Awareness Week (SPAW), which was hosted last year by the 13th Assembly. FREE week will build on SPAW’s mission of making students aware of both the financial struggles that some students undergo and the resources Penn State offers to students who are financially struggling.

FREE week will consist of four events. The Professional Attire Drive will take place in the HUB on October 14-15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteering With Professional Attire Closet will take place at the Bank of America Career Services on Oct. 15. The Lion’s Pantry and Hygiene Product Drive will take place in the HUB on Oct. 16-17 from 11-2 p.m. The ABBA Java Dinner will take place at ABBA Java on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. The legislation passed with a vote of 36-0-1.

Next on the agenda for new business was Resolution 13-14 in support of “Mondays with McKinney,” a not-so-subtle spinoff of former UPUA President Cody Heaton’s “Eatin’ with Heaton” events. The aim of the program is to organize monthly discussions with President McKinney to initiate conversations across campus focusing on improving student well-being and fitness. Support for the bill was unanimous and the first “Mondays with McKinney” event will be held on October 21 from 5-7 p.m in Findlay Commons. Food will be catered by Roots.

The assembly adjourned at approximately 9:05 p.m.

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About the Author

Andrew Woodman

Andrew Woodman or "Andy" as his friends don't call him is a senior majoring in Political Science and Business hailing from the enchanting land of DELCO. When he isn't reporting on stimulating UPUA meetings Andrew can be found at Canyon Wings the best wing place in State College. Forward all correspondence to his myspace account @woodrowwW97

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