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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


Truth: We Are Uniting Penn State

Safeguard Old State has been in action in a huge way all throughout this past semester. We began as a modest blogging initiative in the spring of 2006, originally for the purpose of safeguarding the now defunct Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Since that time, we’ve evolved and our mission has taken shape with SOS having grown to become the largest, most influential advocacy organization on- or off-campus.

We don’t say this to pat ourselves on the back; we say it because it’s the truth, and the truth frequently needs to be repeated. Safeguard Old State is not just about honoring our legacy through protection of our shared traditions as Penn Staters, but we’re also about protecting our future through a common sense and reasonable agenda for improvement across the board at this University.

Why Safeguard Old State?

I know there are some in the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), our fledgling student government, who do not appreciate SOS, to put it mildly. I know there are many administrators, like Vice President Bill Mahon, for instance, who would rather pretend we don’t exist. We know there are other bloggers out there who just don’t quite yet understand our mission in practice. Let me again reiterate something I’ve been saying for many months now:

Safeguard Old State is not interesting in causing acrimony, and we’re not interested in destabalizing the UPUA or and of its initiatives at Penn State. Quite the opposite. I can attest to the fact that SOS is fulfilling a vital role within the Penn State community though its mission of advocacy, advancing smart policy advice and trying in earnest to make a difference in our University.

Heck, I volunteered to design UPUA’s website! We’ve engaged in discussion with political groups like the College Democrats, religious groups within the Pasquerella Center, media organizations like PSN TV and The Daily Collegian, sports organizations, undergraduate student counsels, members of the University Faculty Senate (UFS) and many more. We’re hearing from probably the broadest spectrum of voices within the Penn State family than have found someone to listen in many, many years.

If you’re a member of an organization that hasn’t yet been in touch with us, either in regard to the SOS No Student Left Behind initiative or just in general, don’t hesitate to e-mail us and begin a dialog about what matters to you. Feel free to disagree with us, or if you’d like, to join us! Even if you’re a student who isn’t really involved in student clubs or other activities, we desperately want to get to know you and what matters to you. We’re charged with advocating the wants and needs of Penn State to an administration that all too often has shown a blatant disregard for the desires of the common student. We can’t advocate effectively without you!

Support In Unexpected Places

In this past semester, I’ve had easily more than two dozen administrators of various ranks and departmental backgrounds just at University Park approach me personally to tell me how important the work SOS is doing really is for the PSU family. I know Gavin Keirans and the other directors at SOS have had similar conversations. Many of these administrators, unfortunately, have only felt comfortable talking candidly in off-the-record conversations.

It’s because of this — because so many are still so afraid for their reputations and their job security lest they should support a grassroots student-alumni advocacy group like SOS — that we are all the more committed to our vision of a brighter future for Happy Valley.

We know just how many people are reading Safeguard Old State, and we’re excited that there has been so much interest in what we’re doing and say, because it proves that there is merit behind the vision we’re advancing. What’s most exciting to me is just how many visitors we’re getting each day who are coming to the website specifically from Student Affairs-based computers.

What Does Our Rhetoric Mean?

When we say we are fighting for the glory, we mean simply this: we’re fighting to protect traditions that are in danger, we’re fighting for marginalized students, we’re fighting against anti-student bearucratic policies, we’re fighting for an open budget, a transparent administration, a responsible fiscal policy, and ultimately, we’re fighting for a more honest, open and accountable system for the next generation of Penn Staters.

Whether you’re a frequent reader of Safeguard Old State or a first time visitor, get in touch with us! Whether you think we’re good guys or bad guys, we want to hear your voice, so make yourselves heard by commenting on our articles and blog entries, or by coming to one of our meetings. If you’re one who has opposed what we’re trying to do in the past, for whatever reason, please consider laying down your weapons and at least engaging in dialog with us.

At the close of one semester we look toward an even greater things for the next semester to come. We’re leading the charge in a genuine renaissance across all levels of student life. Consider what Penn State means to you, and what you mean to Penn State — consider joining in the fight to Safeguard Old State.

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Note: The Safeguard Old State Executive Staff does not moderate the comments posted by the public to blog entries. The comments of Safeguard Old State readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Safeguard Old State.

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