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UPUA Swears In New Representatives, Hosts Internal Elections

The 17th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association met for the first time Wednesday night.

Najee Rodriguez and Sydney Gibbard were sworn in as president and vice president, respectively, while the organization’s other newly elected representatives followed.

Rodriguez then gave his first report, thanking the representatives and the student body for its faith in him and Gibbard’s campaign. He reminded the assembly of the vast diversity within the Penn State community and its importance, highlighting the pillars of empathy, equity, and empowerment.

Gibbard followed, expressing her excitement for the upcoming year. She touched on a few projects that she and Rodriguez had already begun working on through their transition to leadership. Gibbard also explained the rules of the internal elections that would take up the remainder of the night’s meeting.

Speaker Of The Assembly

The first internal election was for the Speaker of the Assembly. The two nominees were Nora O’Toole and Vincent Smedile. O’Toole spoke first and highlighted her experience as the Governmental Affairs Chair in the previous assembly. She also suggested resources for new representatives to help them acclimate to the organization.

Smedile followed, explaining that he desires to be involved in all sides of what UPUA does. He outlined his goals should he get the position, including more focus on legislation procedures.

O’Toole won the election.

Committee Chairs

The first committee chair election was for Academic Affairs. Owen Haddad was the sole nominee for the position. He spoke about making the academic rights of students more accessible as well as increasing opportunities for academic advancement outside of the classroom. Haddad won the election.

Next up was the committee chair election for Facilities. Kyle Quinn was the only nominee, and he discussed his initial apprehension for the Facilities committee. His apprehension was quickly overshadowed by the wide variety of projects he was able to work on. Quinn won the election.

The third election was for the Chair of Governmental Affairs, and the two nominees were David Morgan and Giselle Concepcion. Morgan spoke first, emphasizing the importance of increasing voter turnout. He noted his connections both within and outside of the Penn State community that can help the UPUA legislature accomplish such goals.

Concepcion spoke next and told her fellow representatives about her previous civic engagement both in high school and during her time at Penn State. Her goals include more collaboration with community organizations as well as the further development of Student Legal Services.

Concepcion won the election.

Next was the election for the Chair of Justice and Equity. Carter Gangl was the sole nominee for the position. Their goals include further inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ population, specifically adding more gender-neutral restrooms. They also proposed bias training for campus organizations receiving UPUA funding.

Gangl won the election.

The last chair election of the night was for Student Life, and Giani Clarke was the only nominee. Her goals for the committee include great communication, strategic organization, and making current programming even larger and more impactful.

Clarke won the election.

The final election of the evening would appoint UPUA representatives to the Student Fee Board. Conor Kelley and Ava Phillips won these seats.


The final piece of business for the night included several confirmations, including Vice President Sydney Gibbard to the Student Fee Board. Jeanelle Loiseau was confirmed to be the Chief of Staff, while Cade Miller was confirmed to be the Deputy Chief of Staff.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a junior in the Schreyer Honors College studying immunology and infectious disease. She is from Mifflintown, PA, a tiny town south of State College. She is a coffee addict, loves Taylor Swift, and can't wait to go to a concert again. Any questions can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter or emailed to [email protected]

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