Student Fee Board Hears Requests From UPUA, SOTP, & More

The University Park Student Fee Board met Friday to hear allocation request presentations from the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC), and Student Orientation and Transition Programs (SOTP).

Zach McKay, UPUA’s president, kicked the board’s round of hearings off with a presentation of his office’s request. UPUA is requesting level funding of $139,628.55 for the 2021-22 funding cycle.

UPUA represents the University Park undergraduate student body to the Penn State administrators, elected officials, and the public. It is modeled after the federal government, with a legislative, executive, and judicial branch.

The Executive Branch consists of a department structure led by the president, vice president, and cabinet of directors. It is tasked with carrying out the day-to-day operations of the student government and providing the general assembly with research reports to be used in their advocacy.

UPUA’s Legislative Branch is the only collective body within UPUA (other than the president) with the authority to speak on behalf of students and amend the constitution. It consists of a committee structure and produces legislation for the president’s approval or disapproval.

Internal disputes within UPUA are adjudicated by the Judicial Branch. The branch is comprised of nine appointed justices, and it also oversees UPUA’s actions, ensuring fairness, equity, and ethics in its operations and actions.

UPUA provides programming such as sexual assault and misconduct prevention and opportunities to increase civic engagement. In addition, UPUA has successfully advocated for the implementation of alternative grading for the past three semesters.

The UPAC committee chair, Madison Camara, then outlined her office’s request of $4,178,500, which is a decrease in funding from previous years.

This decreased allocation request comes from the Office of Student Activities absorbing some of UPAC’s previous expenses, including telephone bills, HUB off-campus storage, and UPAC retreat expenses.

UPAC is a student committee that allocates a portion of student funds toward events, travel experiences, equipment, and other items requested by various organizations or individuals. It aims to enhance student life by improving the educational climate at University Park.

Student organizations can receive funding from UPAC for things like equipment, media, and travel.

Because of the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, UPAC is not currently providing any in-person travel funding to student organizations. It is, however, offering funding support through virtual registration fees for various competitions and conferences that these organizations continue to attend throughout the year.

The office also anticipates that more organizations will be requesting funding for the ability to successfully function through the use of streaming equipment. Funds allocated to UPAC would allow for ten more organizations to request equipment to the UPAC cap of $5,000 per organization.

Dan Murphy, director for Student Orientation and Transition Programs, delivered Friday’s final request.

SOTP provides welcome programs designed to support new and returning students in their transition. Although the office’s mission is centered around the transition to the university for undergraduate students, its programs are available to all students, including graduate and professional students.

After participating in the office’s programming, students are able to better navigate the campus and engage with faculty and staff. They are also able to demonstrate appropriate community standards both on and off-campus.

Welcome Weeks, put on by SOTP, occur in the fall, spring, and summer. During each of these weeks, SOTP provides a variety of programmings such as Friday Night Lights, Late Night at the HUB, and Tip Off the Semester.

Three years ago, SOTP piloted an interactive musical theater experience called “Results Will Vary.” This year, they hope to put together “Encore: Results Will Vary,” which will carry the same themes of alcohol and drug use/abuse, sexual assault prevention, and bystander intervention.

SOTP is requesting $97,000 for the 2021-22 funding cycle, which is a slight decrease from its 2020-2021 allocation request.

The Student Fee Board will hear its final round of allocation request presentations from the Student Farm, HUB Reserve, and University Health Services at its next meeting on Friday, February 12.

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About the Author

Abby Han

Abby is a freshman chemistry major from Hershey, Pennsylvania -- which means she's your gal whenever you have a craving for some chocolate. Born and raised a Nittany Lion, she loves all things Penn State. You can typically find her watching Friends, drinking Bubly, or taking timer pics on Snapchat. If you want to exchange cheesy puns, follow her on Twitter @_abbyhan.

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