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UPUA Elects New Committee Chair, Funds Finals Week Events

The 18th Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) met Wednesday evening to hold an internal election and pass several pieces of legislation.

The meeting began with special presentations by Centre Safe, a Centre County organization that advocates for victims of domestic violence and harassment, Quill Murphy from Penn State’s Office of Donor Development and Alumni Relations, Kyle Quinn of the Interfraternity Council, and various speakers on UPUA Benefitting THON.

Centre Safe’s presentation explained the organization’s purpose and how it’s involved with Penn State. The organization most notably provides crisis services such as a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelters, crisis counseling and advocacy, civil legal representation, and economic literacy resources.

During the UPUA Benefitting THON presentation, it was announced that UPUA is now registered as an official THON organization in time for THON 2024 in February.

Old Business

Following a brief round of reports, the assembly voted on the new chair of campus operations. The only candidate was sophomore Fletcher Port.

Port’s speech raved about Penn State’s campus facilities. He wants to promote sustainability by implementing a signout system for the reusable to-go boxes, a plastic bag tax, and adding more options for dorm recycling.

He also wants to improve transportation by way of improved bike paths and CATA bus schedules. Lastly, Port wants to implement more disability accommodations through a live-and-learn community, on-campus sensory rooms, and general advocacy and awareness of students with disabilities.

Following an anonymous vote, Port was named UPUA’s chair of campus operations with a vote of 32-2-1.

New Business

After a brief caucus breakout, the assembly moved on to new business with a handful of new bills.

The first bill of the night was Bill #36-18: Establishment of the Syllabus Week Spring 2024 “Know Your Academic Rights” campaign. The bill revisits a yearly tradition of Penn State’s “Know Your Academic Rights” campaign, established by the 7th Assembly of UPUA during its 2012-2013 session.

The “Know Your Academic Rights” campaign consists of the Academic Affairs Committee taking relevant university faculty policies and creating infographics and advertisements for students. Ideally, with the new information, students will have an easier time identifying if they’ve been a victim of an academic violation and how to proceed. The bill proposed $125 in funding for five days of sponsored ads on Instagram.

Bill #36-18 passed unanimously.

Next up was Bill #37-18: Sponsoring Eberly College of Science Student Council’s Discover Ritenour Event. Hosted by the Eberly College of Science Student Council (ECoS StuCo), the council hopes to open a temporary study space and host a de-stress event in the Ritenour Building during finals week. Both ECoS StuCo and UPUA will sponsor the event where the groups plan to hand out study kits and comfort foods to attendees. The bill proposed $355 in funding for bulk office supplies, fidget toys, stickers, and decorations.

Bill #37-18 passed unanimously.

After that was Bill #38-18: Funding for Building UP! Student Leadership Panel. The Building UP! Student Leadership Panel, planned for the spring involvement fair, aims to inform students of new ways to get involved on campus. Instead of information on general membership, the panel will host a diverse group of student leaders from organizations across campus. The leaders will be asked to speak on why they got involved and how these positions gave them new opportunities. The panel will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10, in Freeman Auditorium. The bill proposed $148.50 for tech equipment and water bottles for the event.

Bill #38-18 passed unanimously.

Continuing strong, Bill #39-18: Martin Luther King Day Commemoration Committee Speaker was introduced. Annually, UPUA has contributed to the Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee. Throughout January, the committee works with the Student Programming Association (SPA) to provide students and faculty info sessions and events in honor of Martin Luther King Day. UPUA is responsible for partial funding of the MLK Day speaker, Soledad O’Brien, who was seen as the best fit for the event. The bill proposed $1,000 to host O’Brien.

Bill #39-18 passed unanimously.

The final bill of the night was Bill #40-18: Funding for Coffee for Finals Week Fall 2023. Similar to Bill #37-18, this bill hopes to boost student morale during finals week. Annually, Mary Edgington, the senior director of the HUB, has allocated a part of the HUB’s budget to provide students with Starbucks coffee.

UPUA’s facilities committee has agreed to provide an additional 55 gallons of Starbucks coffee and granola bars that will be provided from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through finals week (December 10 to 14) in the HUB tech lounge. The bill proposed $1,137.48 for the coffee and snacks.

Bill #40-18 passed unanimously.

The only resolution of the evening was Resolution #09-18: Honoring the Life of Grant McDermott. In honor of Grant McDermott, a 16th assembly first-year council member who passed away in December 2021, UPUA designed a commemorative plaque that year that is currently displayed in the UPUA office. The bill proposed that UPUA recommit to preserving the plaque and McDermott’s memory.

Resolution #09-18 passed unanimously.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a fourth-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected].

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