We want to be your elected Undergraduate Assembly president and vice president because we have a vision for Penn’s future, and we’re the ones to make it happen.

Our platform consists of five of the biggest issues we believe face Penn students today. We want to promote a campus climate that emphasizes and prioritizes mental wellness, reduce the costs associated with attending Penn and participating in student life, ensure that Penn is a responsible, safe and inclusive environment for all of its students, fight for academic initiatives that our peers want and meet students’ needs by better utilizing spaces on campus.

In terms of mental wellness, we want to critically examine ongoing initiatives and work on creating more tangible solutions that better address our school’s culture. This past year, we partnered up with the Student Activities Council to pass a set of club recruitment policies that will ensure student groups are more conscientious as they recruit new members. We also want to increase awareness of resources such as Counseling and Psychological Services early on in students’ experiences by incorporating mental wellness resource programming into New Student Orientation.

For reducing costs associated with attending Penn, we want to focus on three things: cutting tuition increases, lowering course costs and making Penn Traditions more affordable. We plan to lobby for reductions in annual tuition increases by working with the Board of Trustees. We want to focus on course costs by working with professors so they do not request the newest, most expensive edition of every textbook and utilize Canvas functions instead of using expensive one-time only online course codes. Finally, through Michelle’s work this past year as student body treasurer we reduced the costs of participation in highly visible Penn traditions like Hey Day from $35 to $20 in partnership with the Class Boards.

To ensure that Penn is a safe and inclusive environment, we have been working on partnering with the Penn Violence Prevention office and SAC so more students on campus are educated about being active bystanders and preventing interpersonal violence. Along with this, we want to publicize and expand UA legal services to survivors of sexual assault. Most importantly, we want to collaborate more with organizations on campus this year to listen to and address wide-reaching concerns.

We want to fight for academic initiatives that we know our peers want. Michelle has worked on pushing departments to record class lectures on nationally recognized holidays so students who have to miss class are not disadvantaged. We also want to work with faculty to create more half-credit courses on current events, fitness, arts and other exploratory ideas. Along with this, we want to advocate that faculty accommodate their students better by providing alternative options to students who have three midterms in one day.

Additionally, we want to continue pushing for the University to modify underutilized spaces to increase space for student groups to use

Something that we want to refocus on and communicate to the student body this year is that the Undergraduate Assembly we hope to lead will strive to truly represent your needs. Oftentimes, many people on this campus either do not understand what we do or think of the UA as an isolated entity. We are here to listen to and pinpoint the issues that our peers have and to turn those ideas into tangible and solid projects. We are here to lend our peers support in times of need and to inform the administration of real undergraduate wants and needs. We want the UA to be a resource for everyone in the Penn undergraduate community.

Although we come from very diverse backgrounds, our experiences at Penn are shared. As you can tell, the projects that we are most passionate about are those that bring this community together and emphasize that we have the power to shape the Penn experience. Both of us have worked long and hard since our freshmen years on the Undergraduate Assembly and truly believe that we have the necessary experience, understanding, and work ethic to represent the amazing students on this campus. Please reach out to us at michx@sas.upenn.edu and shahjay@sas.upenn.edu for any input, concerns or questions about our campaign and check out more details at michelleandjay.com.

We’re looking forward to the year ahead and what Penn can be under our leadership.

MICHELLE XU is a College junior studying mathematical economics and JAY SHAH is a College sophomore studying Biological Basis of Behavior. They are running for UA president and UA vice president respectively. Their email addresses are michx@sas.upenn.edu and shahjay@sas.upenn and their campaign website is michelleandjay.com.

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