Erich Reimer | Bringing us together
Guest Column | It’s time for a new era of communication and cooperation at Penn
March 23, 2012, 12:09 am·
“Confidence … thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, 1933
The Undergraduate Assembly has lost the confidence of the student body and it is time Penn students stood up to reclaim the UA.
The UA this past year has been mired in scandal, ignored student communities in their times of need, pushed aside work on many projects that could greatly benefit the student body, and so much more. And what is the most tragic part of all this? That it really doesn’t have to be this way.
The UA can be a facilitator for communication between the many communities that make Penn great. The UA can be that advocate to the administration that the student body needs. The UA can be that force of change that works to make your Penn experience better. We need a complete culture change in the UA — a change that only the Penn student body can send through this election.
I’m running to be your UA Vice President because I believe I can be that herald to bring about a new era in both the UA and at Penn.
During my service on the UA so far, I’ve seen not only the problems but the immense potential as well. Rather than a UA that ignores and wastes the time of student groups, we will instead listen to your concerns and ideas and utilize your time effectively.
Rather than a UA that betrays the trust of the student body through scandal, we will act as the public role models we should be — upholding that sacred trust the student body has invested in us and holding accountable those who violate that trust.
Rather than a UA that wastes money on lavish beach retreats for themselves while student groups suffer extreme funding cuts, we will instead act in the service of student groups as the humble public servants of the student body we are.
Instead of cowardice, we need courage. Instead of bureaucrats, we need leaders. Instead of more of the same, we need change.
We will truly be able to finally unite the communities here at Penn once again and together build a stronger and more united Penn campus, which is why the theme of my campaign is “Bringing Us Together.”
What’s the blueprint for this new Penn? First off, let’s build a schoolwide calendar, the “One Penn calendar,” a combination of “Today at Penn” and “Wharton SPIKE,” that would allow us to see all the student events on campus.
Let’s expand opportunities for inter-school majors and minors. Let’s fight to finally end library bag checks. Let’s increase entrepreneurship training and student innovation. Let’s continue to make Pottruck the palace it should be.
Let’s give student groups the funding and support they need. Let’s create the “UA Council,” a collection of the major student groups on campus — abolishing the old and decrepit UA Steering — that would be a forum for discussion by our communities to find common solutions to our common problems.
Fundamentally, this campaign is about bringing about a new time for the UA and Penn where power is finally returned — from a clique of distant bureaucrats — to the students of this campus. We need a strong leader that will be the tireless and trusted fighter for the student body to lead this change.
Benjamin Franklin founded this university as a place to train the future leaders of America and the world. For generations, Penn has made good on his vision.
Let’s continue to fulfill Ben’s dream and make Penn all it can be. This vision of a greater and more united Penn is indeed possible, but it can only be made a reality if all the communities on this campus unite together to make their will heard. The choice really is yours.
Let me end with another fitting quote from President Roosevelt — “The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.”
Erich Reimer is a College junior from Albany, NY. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.