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Ever wondered why you can take classes pass/fail, or who came up with preceptorials?

You can thank the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, which works to advocate for the student body in areas concerning academics. The group of students advises administrators on how best to meet students’ educational needs.

SCUE elected College junior Jane Xiao as its new chair on Jan. 18. The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with her about SCUE’s agenda for the upcoming year and what she hopes to accomplish during her term.

Daily Pennsylvanian: What was your past involvement like with SCUE and what made you decide to run for chair?

Jane Xiao: I joined SCUE first semester of my freshman year. It was the very first club I joined and right away I found a very welcoming community. I became the membership coordinator and me and my co-membership coordinator focused on building community, organizing social events, reaching out to new members to make sure they were integrating into the main body and planning all the recruitment events. It was a good experience to see what steering was like and the year after that I was treasurer. After a semester or two on steering, I knew I eventually wanted to run for chair.

DP: What are your goals for this year as chair?

JX: My goals are to help [SCUE members] achieve tangible goals but also to keep their eye on the long term [objectives]. I want to keep people accountable but also make sure that people stay excited about their projects. I also hope to increase our partnership with external groups like [Undergraduate Assembly] Academic Affairs. Through that, we hope to increase outreach and establish more SCUE visibility. People don’t really know what SCUE is but know what it has done in the past. I hope to continue doing things the student body can see and appreciate.

DP: Which projects is SCUE currently working on?

JX: We have four projects this semester branching from immediate, tangible goals to long term abstract policy-type initiatives. One of them that we’re really excited about is holistic education. We’ve been talking about it for the past two years and discussing how SCUE can work on mental health and improve Penn’s culture. We’re writing proposals on it and working with Penn Recreation and various other organizations on campus to discuss physical education and recognition of non-academic classes to encourage students to have a more holistic experience.

We’re also partnering with the Perry World House to pilot some cool initiatives like half-credit classes and seminars to get people to become more globally engaged. We also have a fun little project called ‘Steal This Penn’; we’re compiling a list of free or obscure resources that Penn has that nobody really knows about. For example, Wharton does free business cards — we really just want students to take advantage of all these resources.

DP: What is the biggest challenge SCUE has faced in the past and how do you plan on addressing it?

JX: Some challenges that we have faced in the past and continue to face is this debate about where we fall. We try to balance tangible goals and long-term ideas and we say SCUE is a combination between a think tank and a startup. Some people come in [to SCUE] more on the startup side and some more on the think tank side and I want to make sure that everyone is finding their place on SCUE. That’s what we’re trying to address with the spectrum of projects which range from producing immediate effects and addressing long term goals. A lot of people don’t know what SCUE is and we’re trying to increase outreach. We’re not the most front-faced organization and I think that’s the way it should be because we’re very behind-the-scenes working with administrators. I think our projects speak for themselves.

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