Gavin Keirans, Safeguard Old State Executive Director, will be teaming up with Lion Ambassador and University Faculty Senator Valarie Russell to make a bid at the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) presidency. Here why he decided to run in my own words.
I entered Penn State in the summer of 2006 excited about the possibilities of a school with strong academics, an amazing social scene and a football team beyond any other. After being here for a summer, I realized that Penn State was missing something, of what I could not exactly pinpoint at the time.
In the fall of 2007, I immediately joined the Undergraduate Student Government as a director on the executive cabinet. I spent my freshman year in a plethora of roles exploring what was missing at Penn State.
I believed I had it all figured out, so I ran for UPUA President as a freshman in April of 2007. I had a strong platform but with the typical ideas of a need for shared governance and how student apathy was the problem.
A lot of people bought into these ideas and 1,347 people voted for me causing me to finish as first runner up. This loss may have demoralized some, but it really inspired me to further my mission of filling the void at Penn State.
It was this year, that I had the distinct honor of leading the premier advocacy group Safeguard Old State. This experience basically put me at the helm of some of the brightest and most dedicated minds at Penn State.
It was in this role that I was able to lead the call for reform from outside the typical student government walls and help further the conversation on many issues.
I personally was one of the leading authors of a document called “The Roadmap for Change” which point by point called for needed changes within student life.
After meeting with many administrators about furthering certain policies, it became clear to me, that while these changes are important to enhancing student governance, they do not satisfy the void that exists at this campus.
In order for Penn State to truly have meaning, there needs to be a new approach of where student leaders hit at all angles. Calling for structural change does nothing to improve student life currently.
Instead what needs to be restored is a sense of tradition that was once at the heart of Penn State.
Penn State needs to be about something more, we are not supposed to be like the rest. This is why I felt the strong need to step away from my current leadership roles and lead the student body in a new direction.
It is great to work with the administration on certain issues, but in reality students must empower themselves and realize we don’t need their blessing on every action or initiative.
We can spend years fighting for changes that will effectively help very few, or we can spend today learning about the old traditions of Penn State as well creating our own for the future.
I will be here leading the charge for the Future and Traditions of Old State, the main question is will you join me on the path to a renaissance?