College sophomore Dan Bernick and College junior Jake Shuster are running for president of the Undergraduate Assembly. Learn more about the two candidates below.
Bernick believes that “the UA should work for you.”
“It’s crazy, right? Penn students have been tricked into thinking they don’t deserve the best student government leaders out there, but they do,” he said.
Bernick, a former Daily Pennsylvanian columnist, sees himself as the man for the job, citing his “unparalleled level of dedication to serving Penn students” and his “experience not just in terms of years, but in terms of knowledge” as his best qualifications.
After serving as an Undergraduate Assembly associate member last year, Bernick is currently a College of Arts and Sciences representative and the director of the UA’s Civic and Philadelphia Engagement Committee. In these roles, he said, he spearheaded the effort to remove the fee for tennis courts at Penn Park, oversaw the PennCycle Launch at Hill College House and lobbied to make student photo identification a sufficient form of ID for voting purposes.
An active member of Phi Kappa Psi, the Penn-in-Washington Student Advisory Board and the Council of Philadelphia Student Government, Bernick sees the UA as his number-one priority.
“It comes before school and all my other activities,” he said.
As president, Bernick’s vision is to “make Penn move more quickly.” He plans to increase school spirit, make curriculum changes and reform the UA’s current committee structure.
“The UA needs to adopt a level of responsiveness that students haven’t seen before,” he said.
Bernick believes that time and administrators are on his side.
“These are issues that take more than a year to accomplish,” Bernick said. “As the only candidate that will be here for two more years, what I do have is time, and I feel the responsibility to use it to give back to Penn.”
Shuster — the self-proclaimed “Money Booster” — thinks he is ready to “jump start the UA.”
“I am the most serious person running for this position,” he said.
Shuster joined the UA in his freshman year, where, as the highest vote getter, he earned a position on University Council. He has maintained this position on the University Council, as well as serving as the Civic and Philadelphia Engagement Committee director in his sophomore year and as UA treasurer this year.
In running for UA president, he believes that “experience matters.”
“I have built strong relationships with administrators and other large student groups, which will allow me to best advocate for student needs,” Shuster said.
As UA treasurer, Shuster headed the UA Budget Committee this year in allocating roughly $2 million among the branches of student government. As a member of University Council, he worked to improve faculty diversity recruitment and retention with the rest of the 5B — Penn’s five minority coalitions.
Outside of the UA, Shuster previously held positions as the treasurer and vice president of Penn Democrats and as an intern at Hillel. He is also a member of Phi Kappa Sigma.
“Penn is a community of communities, and it needs someone who is involved in a lot of these communities — religious, Greek and LGBT — to bring all of these communities together,” he said.
As president, Shuster plans to improve athletic attendance, create more late-night dining options and procure portable credit card readers for student groups, among other ideas.
He feels he is up to the challenge of leading the UA.
“I have experience, strong relationships and a proven track record,” Shuster said. “I can accomplish these goals and more.”
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