UPUA: From Talk To Action

It has now been six months since I was elected UPUA President. As I look at all the goals I ran on, I realized that I have been doing a miserable job at reaching them. There were a thousand issues and hiccups that caused me to divert my attention throughout that time, but regardless I want to be a man of my word.

The biggest idea is full blown legal services at Penn State. Here is the progress on that; on August 2 I had a very positive meeting with Dickinson Law School Dean McConnaughay, who conceptually was on board with moving forward.

That same day I stopped by Vice President Damon Sims office who was starting his second official day at Penn State. We talked about this idea in great length, with Damon sharing his expertise on the matter. He told me of Indiana University and their extensive program with five full time lawyers and 25 interns who are law students.

Here at Penn State we need to start on a smaller scale, likely with two full time lawyers being the best fit. The best model would be collaboration between UPUA, the law school and student affairs with the three wings of the university splitting the check for funding.

The beginning of this semester has been plagued with filling an Executive Cabinet which never existed in UPUA before, solving how to create a governing body for the facilities fee that will pleases the masses, and all the day to day.

I am by no means complaining, but I am reflective in realizing no one will ever remember my Executive appointments, or how many undergraduates sit on the facilities committee.

That being said, I am setting a deadline for UPUA to reach four major goals by December 1 of this year.

  1. Concretely set up the beginnings of the legal adviser system with funding being secured and a set up agreeable by all parties (Student Affairs, UPUA, and Dickinson).
  2. Have the Tennant-Landlord Dispute Center ready to go for the Spring semester with all funding issues securely resolves. The legal affairs portion of UPUA has done wonders on making this a reality, and this will be a major resource for students.
  3. Have an Online Book swap up and ready to run for the Spring Semester through Penn State IT. This idea was the brainchild of current UPUA Chair Ralph Crivello and former member Ricardo Torres. It has been three years in the making and IT has done an amazing job in working with us to make this a reality. It will basically be a half.com for University Park.
  4. Have five percent of the Undergraduate Student Activity Fee (SAF) under the discretion of UPUA. This will provide funding for effective legal services, the tenant landlord dispute center, student legal aids, and the six UPUA committees.

We’ve done a great deal of talking; now it is about time that the UPUA got to work.