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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Hillary Lewis: Strong Leadership Needed Within UPUA

The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) has begun its second year of service as Penn State University’s official student government. President Hillary Lewis has already demostrated that she’s interested in real, positive change at this university by participating in the Safeguard Old State-sponsored rally at Old Main on May

After a highly contested six-way race for the presidency, Lewis emerged as the winner on April 25, albeit by a very slim lead over second place freshman candidate Gavin Keirans. (Remember the Collegian’s editorial cartoon?) It’s worth noting that Gavin Keirans, despite losing in UPUA, now serves as Executive Director for Safeguard Old State.

The task facing Lewis is an enormous one. Not only must she unite an Association whose members’ interests are split even more so than this past year, but she must do so in a way that will provide tangible, positive results for which the student body at large will be largely unaware.

So what can be done on Lewis and Keller’s part over these summer months? Lots. It’s time to get the house in order, so to speak, and ensure that everything from the working environment in the actual UPUA office to the order of their cabinet is up to par. If they neglect these seemingly easy things now, over a lazy summer, they’ll spend the first semester bogged down in politics rather than action.

Penn State administrators often pick and choose when they will compare themselves to our Big Ten peer institutions. For instance, the Trustees just voted to borrow $600 million dollars (increasing the debt load of the university by nearly double) in order to pay for new construction projects. They argued the rightness of the decision by saying that if they had not borrowed the money, our facilities will lag behind our pees in the Big Ten.

Well, they’ve not been so quick to compare Penn State’s student government to other Big Ten schools. Why? Because they realize that UPUA itself isn’t yet a government. But for it to really effect change on behalf of students, UPUA will need to become a powerful voice of the students. Lewis must bear this in mind in her dealings with the administration, and also so as to remember to grow the relationship between UPUA and the Big Ten Association of Student Governments.

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Love the cartoon again. Is it me or am I cute when I am angry? Something to ponder.


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