The aura of Penn State University is not confined to the limits of Happy Valley. Growing up in the small town of Dysart, Pennsylvania, only about 50 miles away from Penn State, this zeal was anything but absent from my childhood. Accordingly, I submitted an application and was thankfully accepted to University Park in 2015.
Since then, I have joined the Schreyer Honors College and entered majors in both history and political science. With the goal of giving back to a school which had already given so much to me, I joined the UPUA as a freshman councilmember and was soon voted into the position of At-Large Representative.
This academic year – my sophomore year – I was fortunate enough to be reelected into this position. Within the UPUA, I proceeded to assume the roles of both Vice-Chair of Governmental Affairs and liaison for the Pennsylvania Association of State Related Students. I hope to continue working into 2017, bettered by these experiences.
Increasing Campus Safety: The UPUA should seek to maximize campus security. This can be done through working for increased staff in the Office of Emergency Management, updating PSU’s active shooter preparedness video to match the Department of Homeland Security guidelines, implementing emergency management material into New Student Orientation, launching media campaigns to improve awareness, and so on.
Government Relations: The relationship between Penn State and the local/state/federal government is absolutely crucial for students. At the local level, the UPUA should advocate for a shuttle from campus to the fraternity district, alleyway lighting, decreased speed limits, a student “bill of rights” for landlords, and work on improving relations with the borough. On the state level, outreach to legislators should be constant; the UPUA should advocate for more state appropriations, improve collaboration with other state-related schools (PASS), and support more/larger grants for low-income students. Much of the same message should be continued at the federal level.
Improving Campus Health: The UPUA should emphasize its support for students struggling with drug/alcohol related issues, in addition to assisting recovery/rehabilitation organizations on campus. Furthermore, the UPUA should also work to end student hunger and malnutrition caused by unaffordability. Other projects include increasing physical activity by expanding gym hours, prolonging intramural seasons, and so on.