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I do not mean to attack or criticize any present or former member of the UA, but simply to tell curious undergraduates, faculty and administrators what the UA is really about. What does it mean to be on the UA? With the risk of generalizing, most people think that having the UA name will enhance their resume. How soon we forget convocation. Sitting in Irvine Auditorium as an eager freshman, I remember how insignificant I felt after University President Judith Rodin listed the achievements of the class of 1999. I think there were only 900 student government presidents, 20 Olympic hopefuls, 50 business owners? the list goes on. So, realistically, how much can it help you when applying for jobs to say you were a member of the student government or on the steering committee. Now think about it? how many colleges and Universities are there in the United States? It can't help that much. This is perhaps the major reason why the UA is so fundamentally ineffective. According to Larry Kamin, the present vice chairperson of the UA, who is presently running for reelection, he himself stated in his candidates statement that people on the UA are "self-promoting." It is beyond me if he in fact feels this way, why he is running again. I find it quite humorous after reading the candidates' personal statements how strikingly similar they are to previous years. It seems like everyone is promising again. When I reflect on my two years on the UA, I must sadly admit that as a body our list of achievements is not that impressive. There are, however, individuals -- and I stress individuals -- who are on the UA to better the University community. Their successes have come because they chose to take action on specific issues. I strongly believe those individuals would have accomplished their goals with or without the UA. The list of these initiatives includes more performing arts space, lunch express, better safety measures and a report on advising. Each of these projects were completed byone or two people for the most part. When members tried to get additional support, whether it was to stand on Locust Walk or go door to door, UA members were usually too busy to help. I will never forget in the fall when the UA's safety committee held three safety awareness days. There were more non-UA members who stood on Locust Walk passing out safety information than UA members. Let me remind you, this was a UA sponsored event! I encourage student activism, but I think the UA does not facilitate student involvement. Perhaps student leaders should consider creating campus wide committees to address specific concerns. I propose that a representative from each campus group meet at the beginning of each semester to come up with issues that are truly representative of the student body. Then these representatives can solicit these committees to their respective group. By encouraging individuals to participate simply because they want to, ideally the members of the committees would be sincerely concerned and thus more effective. Or perhaps change the form of the UA and make it more of a President's Council. In this case, the president of each organization would meet once a month to discuss University issues. Student activism is a fundamental part of college. Instead of electing new people to the UA, it is time for Penn to consider changing the structure of the student government altogther.

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