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The four class presidents sit and listen to the State of the School address, in which the six branches of student government discussed their recent accomplishments and future goals in College Hall last night. Student government leaders took questions from

At last night's State of the School, heads of the six branches of student government recounted the past semester's progress, outlined future plans and fielded questions from students in attendance.

To increase interaction between the student body and leaders, the annual update on student government activities featured a question-and-answer period for the first time.

Each branch's presentation began with a overview of its function, followed by a summary of what it has accomplished and what it hopes to achieve.

College senior and Social Planning and Events Committee president Michelle Jacobson gave the first report. She highlighted the sold-out event featuring Anderson Cooper and built excitement for future events like Spring Fling - all in the form of a rap.

College and Wharton senior and Undergraduate Assembly Chairman Wilson Tong gave an update on this semester's initiatives, emphasizing its goal of bridging disconnect between the UA and the student body.

College junior and Nominations and Elections Committee chairwoman Brittany Stark updated the group on a successful fall elections cycle for the freshmen UA seats and class boards, as well as plans to increase publicity efforts in upcoming student elections.

College junior Natalie Vernon, who was recently elected chairwoman of the Student Activities Council, outlined plans for better customer service and the second annual spring activities fair. She also discussed issues with funding and collaboration with other student government branches.

The Student Committee on Undergraduate Education has several projects in the works, College and Wharton senior and SCUE chairman Zach Fuchs said. These include a freshman research seminar, promotion of problem-solving learning and a new interdisciplinary international development course.

The final group to present was the Class Boards, represented by the four presidents of each class: College senior Brett Perlmutter, Wharton junior Arthur Smith, College sophomore Adam Behrens and Wharton freshman Jibran Khan.

The presidents reported on traditional class activities that took place this fall, like the freshman Econ Scream and a senior kick-off event at Smokey Joe's and the Blarney Stone.

The evening ended with a Town Hall session that invited audience members to ask their leaders questions. Wharton junior and NEC Vice Chair for Education Patricia Liu, who mediated the event, said the first-ever question-and-answer session was successful.

"There were a number of good questions asked," she said. "It's better that we've increased the interaction between government leaders and the students."

Stark echoed Liu's sentiment that the event was an overall success. But she added that the NEC, which coordinates State of the School, is constantly working to improve.

"We're trying to get more non-Penn student government students to come," she said. "We'd like to increase transparency between PSG and the student body so undergraduates know what student government is doing for them."

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