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Departing from the proceedings of traditional Undergraduate Assembly meetings, the UA on Sunday night held a special program with more than a dozen United Minorities Council members to discuss community service and minority representation in student government. The UA and UMC combined forces in Logan Hall and broke up into small groups -- each with two UMC members and four representatives from the UA -- to tackle how the groups can together address student government representatives and community service initiatives. "The UA does not represent accurately the school. We don't have enough minority representation," UA Chairman Michael Silver, a College senior, told the roughly 40 students assembled for last night's meeting. He added that the small groups should "start talking about how these organizations can pool their resources." After spending nearly an hour brainstorming, discussing and debating different initiatives the UA and UMC could put forth, the small groups came back together to pool their ideas. Among the proposed community service projects for the two organizations were culturally infused service initiatives, mentoring the student governments of local high schools and working together for Habitat for Humanity. But the students also spent time addressing how to recruit minority students to run for the UA and, once those students decide to run, how to help get them elected. The small groups suggested that the UA educate UMC constituent groups about different candidates that directly pertain to their interests, hold more UA and UMC joint meetings and co-sponsor more events. "Even when minorities run, they don't get elected. We don't know why that is," Wharton and Engineering sophomore and UA member Michael Krouse said last night to his small group. He added that the election of the next UA this spring may generate more voters -- including minority students -- because students will be able to access ballots electronically through Penn InTouch. UMC members echoed the need for undergraduates, minority or not, to understand the impact of the UA on student life. "We have to extend the idea that this is something that will affect you," College junior and UMC member Kevin Chan said last night. After the special session with the UMC, the UA returned to its traditional agenda. The group passed a $1,500 budget request for Change for Change, a project that will provide students with small plastic cups to collect spare change and, at the end of the year, pool it with other members of their college house, fraternity or sorority. The change collected will be donated to Upward Bound, a program to help Philadelphia high school students gain admission to four-year colleges and universities. The UA also passed a resolution supporting a new funding plan for Student Health Services that will prevent students insured by Penn Student Health Insurance from having to pay a Clinical Fee twice, as the current plan mandates.

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