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10 Questions With Student Body Vice President Lexy Pathickal

Lexy Pathickal, the new student body vice president, has already chaired the longest meeting in recent history for UPUA, after only being in office for one week.

The rising senior was recently sworn in alongside student body president Zach McKay. Despite working through a tricky remote campaign period, Pathickal has remained just as dedicated as ever to some of her initiatives and projects she hopes to accomplish within the next year.

We virtually sat down with Pathickal to learn more about her time in UPUA, her favorite Penn State memories, and her go-to Wawa order.

Onward State: Why and how did you first get involved with UPUA?

Lexy Pathickal: I had a couple of friends in UPUA at the time. I was not a part of UPUA my freshman year like freshman council, like a lot of students and members are. I came in my sophomore year and I interviewed for a vacant At-Large position, and unfortunately didn’t get that. Then my friends were like, “Hey, there’s an open Director of Outreach position. You should definitely go for it.”

At the time, I was like I do have some programming abilities and experience just from high school and my church in the past so I was like alright, I’ll go for it, let’s see. I, fortunately, got that position and I was part of the executive board my sophomore year. From there, I realized that I wanted to have more of a hand in the legislative branch, so I ran for At-Large [representative] at the end of my sophomore year and continued with that my junior year.

OS: What made you decide to run for vice president?

LP: Obviously being a part of UPUA my sophomore year. The reason why I got involved was actually more out of frustration and disappointment because I wasn’t really happy with how UPUA was going about things, basically. It was the time where community group seats were being passed and the fact that I was a student and heard that there was hesitation about it, that kind of sparked a fire in me…From there, I wanted to join because I was like, “Hey, my voice could be small, it could be really impactful, but no matter what, I want it to be in the room.”

So the reason why I wanted to be vice president was that was a continuing feeling my entire time at UPUA. I just thought you know what, I really could take on the leadership. I think I have the personality to take on this kind of role and hopefully change the atmosphere of UPUA, or at least try to foster a more positive atmosphere. When Zach asked me to be his running mate, I couldn’t think of a better person to run with or anyone else I would want to run with.

OS: What are some of your favorite projects or initiatives you’ve gotten to work on while being in UPUA thus far?

LP: I always say this, but my baby is World Cultural Week. When I was Director of Outreach, it was the first time it was going to be a full week because the year previous there were weather conditions and it was cut down to a one day celebration. In the 13th Assembly, with the help of Chair Beryl Bannerman and our Outreach Committee, we put on its first World Cultural Week that was actually a week. From there, this past year, my Director of Outreach, and now our Chief of Staff Rachel Chormanski, absolutely blew it out of the park and I’m really hoping that UPUA continues with it and makes it that much bigger.

The other thing would probably be Penn State PALS. That was basically like a mentorship program for incoming international students to pair with a current Penn State student. It was basically the idea of having an older buddy for advice on where to go for food, where to buy certain things, but just having a mentor there if you weren’t familiar with Penn State or anything. That was really fun to do with Zach and former Outreach Committee Vice-Chair Aphrodite Biswas.

OS: What advice would you give to incoming Penn State students?

LP: I would have to say always say yes. Obviously there are times where you have to be aware of your time management and how much you can handle, but the reason why I was able to get to know as many people as I did and to have the courage to even run for this position was because I kept saying yes to different offers.

I can say I’ve been a part of four to five different organizations at my time at Penn State that enabled me to learn and meet so many different people. The reason for that is because I kept saying, “Yeah, I’ll do that.” Obviously that leads into me also learning more about myself and what I can take on, but I feel like the more you say yes the more you surprise yourself with how much work you can take on, and just how much passion you have for something. Reach out of your comfort zone and just say yes.

OS: Looking back on this time a year from now, when you’re ending your terms, what do you hope your team has accomplished?

LP: I would really like to see more individual ideas be fleshed out. Zach and I have always talked about how we didn’t want to be an executive team that came out the first day of office and say this is our list of initiatives, this is what you have to do. But encourage representatives to be like, “Hey, you were elected, what do you want to work on, what are the flaws at Penn State that you think UPUA can definitely advocate for and improve on?”

I think, if anything, fostering that idea that it’s not that you’re just assigned an initiative, but empowering representatives voice and anyone’s voice within UPUA by saying, “Hey, you have a stake in the change that can be made.”

OS: What has been your favorite Penn State memory so far?

LP: I would have to say my sophomore year. I was on the R&R Committee as a PASS leader and, obviously, we didn’t have all of our shifts on the floor, but we had about two shifts on the floor. I think every year, but for some reason, that year, just being in a committee and being with all the best friends you made that year, listening to the music, seeing everyone around you and seeing the dancers fight on and keep standing, seeing everyone smiling, and knowing it’s all for one single cause.

Knowing that it’s the biggest philanthropy cause in the world run by students, that kind of feeling on the floor is just unmatched to anything I’ve ever experienced.

OS: What has been your favorite class at Penn State?

LP: I have to say Political Science, I believe, 474, and it’s because it was with my favorite professor, Dr. Adam Nye. He is like my favorite person in this world. Genuinely, he is one of the reasons why I have remained as passionate as I am in being in political science.

He is someone who just knows how to teach, how to get you engaged, but also has fun with it. Not only that, but I just had so many friends in that class so it was nice to start your morning off with your friends and your favorite professor.

OS: What is your favorite Creamery flavor?

LP: That is the easiest question! Death By Chocolate.

OS: What is your go-to Wawa order?

LP: I usually get an Italian hoagie with the sriracha mac & cheese. Then, I usually go for an iced tea, or if it’s midday, an iced coffee.

OS: As is Onward State tradition, if you were a dinosaur, which would you be and why?

LP: I would have to say a styracosaurus. The reason is based off just looking at pictures, but they’re also herbivores, so they help out the planet and look really cool.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a senior early childhood education major from "right outside of Philly" - or in exact words, from 23.0 miles outside of Philly. She loves all things Penn State and has been a huge Penn State gal since before she could walk. Send her pictures of puppies, or hate mail at [email protected]

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