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At its general body meeting on Sunday, the Undergraduate Assembly launched a pilot of Tech Office Hours, discussed the creation of a digital design minor and passed two contingency fund requests for the Social Planning and Events Committee and Art Speakers at Penn.

The Tech Office Hours Pilot Resolution passed unanimously. This launches a free service that will allow student groups to receive short-term advising and basic guidance on technical issues, said UA representative and College and Engineering junior Mike Rivera, a co-sponsor of the resolution.

“A lot of student groups deal with Webmaster and need help,” he said. “It would be a service that would help them create better websites.”

Penn student groups will be able to sign up for the service on the UA’s website, after which they can arrange an appointment with a technical expert.

“Right now, we are doing a pilot to understand service delivery, gauge the level of demand and see what skill set is needed for the job,” said College senior and UA Speaker Cynthia Ip, who will serve as the technical expert and coordinator this semester.

If the experimental phase is successful, the UA will consider how to make Tech Office Hours a permanent UA service, Engineering and Wharton senior and UA President Tyler Ernst said.

The UA is also exploring the feasibility of creating a digital design minor between the School of Design and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The minor is geared toward students with an interest in digital and programmatic arts, said Rivera, who has been in discussion with the undergraduate chair of the Fine Arts department about the potential interschool minor.

“Currently in the Fine Arts department, you cannot specialize in web design,” he said. “Technology now is everywhere. Everything now involves integrated design. That’s the idea behind the minor.”

Rivera and Ip are now writing a minor proposal and will be seeking a minor adviser.

The UA also unanimously approved two contingency requests at its meeting.

SPEC will receive $6,467 — the remainder of the UA’s contingency — to allocate among SPEC Connaissance, SPEC-TRUM and the Fully Planned Committee, all of which no longer have funding.

“We believe it is important for SPEC to continue to put on the events that students want to have,” College junior and UA Treasurer Jake Shuster said. “The more money that we grant SPEC, the more money SPEC can allocate to student group events.”

Art Speakers at Penn also received $500 from UA contingency to help cover the expenses of bringing Lucinda Marshall, the director of the Feminist Peace Network, to campus on March 22.

College senior and Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention Chair Joseph Lawless said Marshall’s work in Occupy Patriarchy is timely and of importance to the Penn community.

“At a time when economic injustice is finally being seen as true social injustice, having someone here on campus who can speak to forms of privilege that are being replicated on campus in the Occupy movement … is tremendously important,” he said.

As per UA bylaws, next week’s meeting, March 25, is the last general body meeting in which business, committee reports and resolutions will be discussed. The 2011-12 UA leadership will have its last meeting on April 1.

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