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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

UPUA Campaign 2007 Wrap-Up: Losing Wisdom

The election is over and 1,357 votes later I finished in second place. Losing by 124 votes on a campus of 42,000 is not the easiest concept to swallow but in the end it showed me what I knew all along. Students at Penn State are, without a doubt, apathetic.

Sure, there are 700 groups here at Penn State and, yes, they all do care about something, but who will unite these groups together to fight for the main issues? If we do not make change happen now, then the administration will continue using us as pawns that they sacrifice for the greater good of King Spanier.

There was a political cartoon published recently in The Daily Collegian by Benjamin McKenna that really summed it all up. There was a picture of myself, arms crossed, looking solemn. There was Hillary Lewis with her arm raised in the sky signaling victory. Then there was over 80 percent of the student body looking down, asking “Who are they?”

In reality, your student government has been so ineffective in recent memory that you could be forgiven for asking “Why the hell should anyone know who we are?” We, as leaders of student representation, have failed for too long to involve students outside of the government realm. Now we must all step up to ensure that real issues are addressed.

In just five years students have lost the right to recognize student organizations, the right to control their activity fee, the right to amend their own constitution, the right to be more then just mere advocates. Most importantly, students have lost their right to have a voice. Today I say no more, a new direction of change is needed. If we do not unite now then student representation will effectively die in this Happy Valley.

The way to address these issues may seem extremely difficult, but in reality all it requires is a strong voice. In the spring of 2004, 10,977 voices were heard in the USG elections. Now more then ever there is need for that same amount of noise to be made for change. I propose a “President’s Conference” to establish the top issues that all student groups deal with.

Those 700 student groups that deal with their special interests need to unite around main issues. I guarantee that if we could get the presidents of these groups to come out and list their top concerns, issues like tuition, the activity fee, and general student rights would be at the top. From there we can unite these groups to have a powerful voice, a voice of reason, a voice of hope, a voice that says “enough is enough” and “its time for a change.”

The reason there is so much apathy is not because people do not have problems. Really, it is because our student leaders have failed to call on the student body to fight for change. Today, as a student leader, I demand that you get involved to show a united front. The administration forgot a long time ago that they are a mere few while we are a powerful 43,000.

We may be a couple years away from getting the “Dr.” in front of our names that they possess, but we are not far away from making actual change happen at this University. We have two options: unite together for change or be sacrificed like a pawn in the business that is Penn State Inc.

The choice is yours.

– For the Future of Old State

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