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UPUA Continues Internal Elections, Passes 16th Assembly’s First Legislation

The 16th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met virtually Wednesday night for its second meeting.

The night began with a special presentation from student trustee Bryan Culler. He spoke about his role in the Next Gen Penn State Advisory Group, a group organized with the purpose of seeking input and guiding community involvement in the search for the next university president.

Culler shared this survey for any students, faculty, staff, or alumni interested in weighing in about characteristics, priorities, and goals that are important in the search for the next president.

The next special presentation was from UPUA Speaker Sydney Gibbard, President Erin Boas, and Vice President Najee Rodriguez.

The trio gave a presentation about some UPUA organizational restructuring they hope to accomplish during their tenure. Restructuring aims to better streamline communication and make the various branches and departments more effective in the work they get done.

Following reports from Boas and Rodriguez, the assembly moved into new business and more internal elections and confirmations.

Elections

The first internal election was for the Association of Big Ten Students (ABTS) liaison.

Samuel Ajah was the first nominee for the position. He spoke about the goals he has for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the ABTS while also introducing new ideas, such as paying student government officials for their time and making Election Day a university-wide holiday.

The next nominee, Matt DeAngelis, spoke about how he believes the ABTS liaison should serve as a bridge between other Big Ten universities, Penn State, and UPUA. He also believes there is a plethora of legislation other universities are passing that he would want to introduce to UPUA that would help make Penn State a more progressive, effective, and sustainable university. For example, DeAngelis wants to introduce legislation that would require UPUA officials to wear nametags with their pronouns at all future in-person events, a program that DeAngelis shared has already been piloted at Ohio State University.

Matt DeAngelis won the election.

Next, an election was held for a non-voting student representative to the State College Borough Council.

Samuel Ajah and Carter Gangl were both coldly nominated for this position, meaning that these nominations were not planned ahead of time. A non-voting student representative to Borough Council is responsible for attending Borough Council meetings and facilitating a relationship between UPUA and the council.

Carter Gangl won the election.

UPUA struck the elections for the community diversity liaison and the Movin’ On spring music festival liaison from its agenda. UPUA hopes to host elections for these positions next week.

Confirmations

UPUA confirmed and swore in numerous executive directors, all of which are listen below.

  • Executive Director of Environmental Sustainability Kelly Matuszewski 
  • Executive Director of Finance Toni McFarland 
  • Executive Directors of First-Year Council Amy Garry
  • Parliamentarian Tim Tierney 
  • Executive Director of Records Nikhil Choudhuri

Legislation

The final piece of new business for the evening, and the only piece of legislation brought to the table, was Resolution 01-16. This resolution is in support of the referendum results from the 2021 UPUA Elections and the Penn State Climate Action Petition.

During the 2021 UPUA Elections, a referendum question appeared on the ballot asking students their stance on whether Penn State should divest from fossil fuels. Specifically, the question read, “Penn State should (1) commit to divestment from its long-term holdings in fossil fuel asset classes as quickly as possible; (2) release information about its current holdings in fossil fuels; and (3) publicly comment on the proposed divestiture.”

More than 2,900 students voted “yes” on the referendum.

Resolution 01-16 passed unanimously.

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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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