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The Student Body President

The Blog of the UPUA President

I Will Keep My Promise To You, Alma Mater

Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in the April 4, 2008 edition of The Daily Collegian. UPUA President Gavin Keirans (formerly SOS Executive Director) will be writing “The Student Body President” blog on Safeguard Old State, keeping the entire Penn State family up-to-date on his activities as student body president.


Through-out history, student governments have been looked at as meaningless, with the average student asking the question, what do these so-called “leaders” do for me? This year as president, I will make it so that the actions of the University Park Undergraduate Association answer that question.

The past UPUA assemblies have worked hard, so I do not mean in anyway to disrespect their effort. At the same time, they were forced to spend a great deal of their time on bureaucratic roadblocks such as a constitution and bylaws.

For the most part, all of that is settled. Now the UPUA has a responsibility to be a leading voice for students. Two years have been spent planting a foundation, and now it is time to actually accomplish concrete goals.

I have worked tirelessly in my first two years at Penn State for student rights, specifically running for UPUA president as a freshman and leading Safeguard Old State this year. While these are great as far as experience, I give you my vow that I will step up even further and under my term as president, I will work to better the campus climate .

UPUA is getting to work right away this year. Having only been elected Wednesday, we went ahead and held a meeting two weeks ahead of what was scheduled so that we could begin working for students this academic year. We have filled all of the committee chairs and even passed legislation already. In the past this was not accomplished until the following year.

Already I have been in strong talks about fulfilling my platform goals, specifically bringing in a legal adviser. This will be a lawyer who offers free legal advice to students. I have talked to former advisers of this university and even have reached a preliminary agreement on terms with the candidate that will best serve the students.

Now the only thing standing in my way is a roadblock in the form of rules for the student activity fee of which I will work out in the coming weeks.

Further, I have set up meetings with State College Borough officials in order to start planning how to make a Student-Landlord Dispute Resolution Center come to fruition. The UPUA’s goal is to foster a stronger working relationship with officials and the borough council.

In my short time as president, we as students are already facing an alarming issue in the form of the facilities fee which pledges to tax students $200 without a clear plan. Part of me understands the need for better facilities, but I can not in good conscience support my fellow students being taxed for fiscal irresponsibility.

It is in issues like these that UPUA will be your voice, standing up in opposition of injustices. The UPUA has a foundation and the leaders in the organization to make it successful. Now we must produce for students, so I ask that all students hold the UPUA accountable and challenge us to always be doing more for you.

Being in an elected position for the students is a privilege, and with it comes high expectations. The UPUA wants to empower students to lead on their own and we hope to lead the charge to better student life.

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