Bridget Lasda Calls For Innovative Solutions In Board Of Trustees Campaign
Bridget Lasda currently serves as the Chief Customer Officer at the King Juice Company. She worked for 14 years within the Coca-Cola system after graduating from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in special education in 2002.
With a productive career in the business world in tow, Lasda is now running for one of the three available alumni-elected positions on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. She sat down with Onward State to discuss the upcoming election and several of her goals if she’s able to join the board.
“I could not have thought of a better decision or university for myself. I absolutely loved my time here,” Lasda said. “I didn’t really know anyone…But quickly I met some friends. I just loved the bigness of it.”
Lasda added that she eventually joined Chi Omega and soon became the president of her sorority and President of the Panhellenic Council. With such a deep-rooted connection to student organizations on campus, namely her sorority, Lasda wants to push innovations and opportunities for these groups.
“If I think about my experience at University Park, they’re trying to think of ways to make it seem smaller and more manageable,” Lasda said. “If we look at all of the challenges that students are facing, increasingly over the last few years — mental health, food, and housing insecurity…I think working with our new president on, ‘What is the role of student organizations within the university?'”
Lasda added that students running organizations will go onto be leaders in our world. She wants to promote more of a discussion on how these groups can conquer some issues so many students face today and remain open to any and all solutions.
Along with students already at Penn State, Lasda is well-aware that access and affordability are becoming real issues for many prospective students. While she understands Penn State has made some initiatives to try and tackle that, she has plans laid out for what else can be done.
“Regarding access, I think the university is already taking steps, like removing some standardized testing requirements by 2023…Some community programs back with high schools as you look at the Commonwealth Campuses,” Lasda said.
She also noted that the online learning component of Penn State’s World Campus has helped to welcome so many more students, and it was key that the university was already a leader in that field when the pandemic hit.
“The next big thing is around affordability,” Lasda said. “Penn State is one of the most expensive in-state universities in the country. Being a land-grant university, Penn State has an obligation to provide access and affordable education for Pennsylvanians.”
Lasda also said that there hasn’t been enough visibility on how money is being spent across all of Penn State’s campuses.
“We have a large endowment, but I think there is a lot of bloat within the budget that needs to be evaluated,” Lasda said.
Along with taking steps to make Penn State more affordable, Lasda points out that technological innovations are needed throughout the university. She feels that more than a decade of experience in an ever-changing business environment makes her a perfect candidate for these initiatives.
“There is more work to be done as it relates to ease and availability for students in picking classes and advisorship,” Lasda said. “How do we better utilize technology for helping students within their four years here? Right now, there’s a lot of reliance on the advisors, but if you look at other industries, you can use technology to help with these processes and not have to wait for a person to help you along.”
Lasda added that also utilizing technology in some of Penn State’s entrepreneurial clubs could help better prepare students for their future and let the university run more smoothly overall. If elected, she’s excited to use her experience to help push for some of these solutions.
Voting for this year’s trustee election will close at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 6. Eligible alumni can request ballots through this online form.
Editor’s note: Lasda’s interview is the latest in a multi-part series that aims to feature alumni running for open seats on the Board of Trustees. Onward State does not, and will not, endorse any candidate(s) in this election. Check back this week to read more about the six candidates vying for spots on the board this election cycle.
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