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UPUA Passes Resolution Supporting Zero-Waste Commitment

The 15th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually Wednesday night for its ninth spring semester meeting.

The meeting began with a special presentation from Dr. Micah Griffin, University Health Services’ newest director. Griffin stepped into the role in early January and used his presentation to speak about creating a culture of campus well-being.

Dr. Griffin outlined future trends in college health that are a priority and goals for him to address in the future, which include expanding telehealth services, upholding racial equity, and supporting affordable health care services.

Next, UPUA President and Vice President Zach McKay and Lexy Pathickal gave their reports. Following liaison reports and no old business, the assembly moved into new business for the evening.

New Business

The first piece of new business for the evening was Policy 14-15. Under this policy, UPUA updated its bylaws in order to better understand how liaisons operate in the organization. This policy will attempt to clarify how liaisons can be appointed and what that process would look like. Policy 14-15 passed.

The second piece of legislation for the evening was Bill 22-15. This piece of legislation will fund custom graduation stoles for Black Caucus members, and UPUA will allot $2,727 of its budget for the bill. The legislation shared how in the past few years, students of the Black community have worked to celebrate their monumental achievements, like, for example, graduating from Penn State.

Funding for the stoles would assist in acknowledging and celebrating these students as they’ve worked to overcome the hardships of navigating a predominately white institution. Bill 22-15 passed unanimously.

Next, the assembly discussed Resolution 55-15. This resolution is in support of University Park student organizations making a zero-waste commitment. The legislation calls on student organizations, including UPUA itself, to dedicate themselves to waste reduction and zero-waste policies.

Specifically, it outlines that student organizations should aim to reduce 80-90% of their waste within the next five years and completely eliminate waste within five years after that.

The resolution also addressed the fact that Penn State has fallen behind in its zero-waste commitment efforts compared to other universities like Ohio State, Michigan, and Maryland.

UPUA said it to provide resources and assistance to organizations that pledge to move forward with this project. Resolution 55-15 passed unanimously.

Resolution 56-15 was the next piece of legislation brought to the table for the evening. This resolution calls on Penn State to completely divest from fossil fuel holdings. As it stands right now, Penn State is one of many financial institutions that invests a portion of its endowment into the fossil fuel industry.

Specifically, the legislation calls on the university to freeze all future investments in fossil fuels, construct targets to sell holdings in firms that extract, produce, refine, or transport oil, gas, and coal by the end of 2026. It also calls for the university to redirect its investments to wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy.

Resolution 56-15 passed 28-2-4.

The final piece of legislation for the evening was Bill 23-15, which will fund a variety of items for a tabling event during Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention week. The organization will host a tabling event during the days from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 2, through Tuesday, April 6, on the HUB Law.

UPUA will partner with Lion Ambassadors during this event to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate students about resources available to them on campus. Bill 23-15 also passed.

Following executive reports and comments of the committee, the meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

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About the Author

Ryen Gailey

Ryen is a junior 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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