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UPUA Passes Legislation Supporting Students In Event Of Campus Closure

The 15th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually Wednesday for its fourth fall semester meeting.

The meeting began with a special presentation from Tim Balliett, director of the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose. The center works to inspire Penn State students to be responsible citizens who do public good.

Currently, the center works with PSU Votes, The Lion’s Pantry, and Project Cahir. During a typical semester, the center hosts lunch seminars, sponsored public lectures, and on-campus office hours with local government officials.

Balliet says in the future, the center wants to start a special living option focused on civic engagement. It also is looking into creating faculty and student fellowships and hosting more visiting scholars.

UPUA President Zach McKay then moved into his executive report. He gave a special presentation outlining UPUA’s organizational structure to answer representatives’ questions after he created a new department in July.

McKay also offered his condolences to the friends and family of Nicholas Papadopoulos, a Penn State student who passed away over the weekend. He encouraged representatives to reach out to someone new, check in on friends, and remember that life is short.

Following Vice President Lexy Pathickal’s report, the assembly then revisited Resolution 23-15, Calling on Penn State to Provide Housing Exceptions for Students who must Remain on Campus in the Event of a Campus Closure.

Last week, UPUA voted to recommit this resolution due to its last-minute introduction. In the event that students get sent home, this resolution recognizes six primary groups where students may face extenuating circumstances and need to remain on campus.

The resolution cites six groups — international students student employees, students with mental health concerns, students who are unsafe at home, students who would not be able to fulfill academic duties at home, and students with immunocompromised family members — as those with “extenuating circumstances.”

After passing Resolution 23-15 unanimously, the assembly moved into new business for the evening.

New Business

The first piece of new business for the evening was Bill 08-15, CommAgency/PSU Votes Fall Semester Partnership. This bill would allocate $750 of UPUA’s budget to CommAgency, a student-run media production. UPUA would enter into a partnership with CommAgency, paying for its services to assist the Department of Civic Engagement and the PSU Votes Roundtable.

The assembly debated over its necessity to outsource this partnership rather than use some of UPUA’s in-house services. UPUA already has a department of communications and a graphic designer who supplies the assembly with graphics and social media content.

Ultimately, the sponsors of the bill argued that given the large magnitude of content they are looking to create, and the importance of this year being an election year, they want to outsource this need to create quality content on a large scale.

Bill 08-15 passed 29-5-1.

The final piece of legislation for the evening was Resolution 24-15, Collection and Distribution of Menstrual and Hygiene Products in the Event of a Campus Shutdown.

In the event of a campus shutdown, UPUA wants to ensure that students still have access to menstrual and hygiene products.

This resolution tasks UPUA executive board members and committee chairs with collecting said products from the HUB and Paterno Library, bagging them in sustainable materials, and distributing them from the UPUA office prior to student departure.

UPUA will also coordinate the donation of menstrual and hygiene products. Lion’s Pantry will receive any excess product if it exists after distribution from the HUB, so students still in State College can still have access to the products. UPUA is looking to partner with Penn State’s chapter of Days For Girls and the Department of Sustainability for this project. Resolution 24-15 passed unanimously.

After executive reports and comments of the committees, the fourth meeting of the fall semester adjourned at 10:31 p.m.

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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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