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College junior Jeremy Cohen became the new chair for the Student Activities Council on Nov. 1 and will lead SAC until next October.

Credit: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

The Student Activities Council announced College junior Jeremy Cohen as its new chair on Nov. 1. The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Cohen, who will lead SAC until next October, to discuss his plans for the upcoming year.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: What role do you think SAC plays in the Penn community?

Jeremy Cohen: Most groups maybe have an umbrella organization that is able to offer them some funding. Maybe they are able to appeal to some other interest groups to be able to fund their event. But in most cases, SAC is kind of the first stop and one stop for a lot of student groups to get their funding, or baseline funding, for the whole year.

DP: What goals do you have for your upcoming term as SAC chair?

JC: I’m also a member of the Performing Arts Council, and PAC continues to have a moratorium even though most other groups had theirs lifted a couple of years ago. There are some continuing issues with access to facilities, costs, and with making sure that PAC groups are aware of the resources they do and don’t have access to. This speaks more broadly to a theme of transparency with all of our constituent groups, and I want to work on making sure they are aware of what resources SAC does have, and sometimes the limitations that there are.

DP: How do you plan to lead and communicate with a large general body?

JC: One thing that our previous chair, Renata, did a great job with was making sure that groups were aware of who they could contact. I want to continue that in SAC, and part of that is enrolling every treasurer from a SAC registered group in our 12 question Canvas module, which we launched a couple of weeks ago. There are some things that people have asked SAC in the past or weren’t even sure they could do. For instance, we have a policy where every group, after they get their main budget, can come in for contingency funding. If the group has a big event coming up or maybe they forgot something in the budget, SAC can sit down with them, talk about what they need and release funding details in just a couple of days. There are a lot of SAC groups who didn’t even realize that they could get additional funding after the initial budget. One of the Canvas module questions asks them whether they were aware of this policy. We want to use this to increase communication between SAC and its groups.

DP: What sort of legacy would you like to leave behind?

JC: Ideally, I would like to bring SAC exec and PAC exec a little more into conversation with one another. We can’t solve the world’s problems by negotiating facilities prices down, but at the very least, we can be on the same page about what we are trying to do. I would also like to have groups feel empowered rather than imposed upon by SAC. I want people to feel like they have stake with what’s going in the process.

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