The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Credit: Lizzy Machielse , Lizzy Machielse

Getting involved in one of the six branches of Penn Student Government can be daunting, especially during New Student Orientation, when it seems like every other person you meet was the president of their high school class. 

To begin your first step towards student government, here is a guide to PSG.

Undergraduate Assembly

The UA is one of the main representative bodies of student government, with freshman elections occurring in the fall and upperclassman elections in the spring. Considered the legislative branch of Penn Student Government, this group of more than 30 representatives lobbies for students' needs provides services for students and allocates funding to the other branches of PSG.

“The work that we do for the most part goes unrecognized by the majority of students here, but directly impacts them,” rising College senior and incoming UA President Michelle Xu said.

“Our main influence is our ability to connect and lobby to administrations," she added. During her term, Xu hopes to work on reducing the costs of attending Penn, improving mental wellness on campus and modifying resources so they better fit the needs of students. 

“There are so many ways for students to get involved here on campus and serve our community of peers, and I think Penn Student Government is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had here,” Xu said. 

Class Board

The four Class Boards host events to foster a sense of Penn spirit and community. These popularly elected positions include class president, executive vice president, vice president for internal affairs, vice president for external affairs, vice president for finance and class chairs.

Nominations and Elections Committee

The NEC is the judicial branch of student government with three main responsibilities: nominating undergraduates to sit on University-wide boards and committees, running undergraduate student government elections and educating the student body about PSG. 

“The NEC is the right choice for students who are looking for a tight knit community as soon as they arrive on campus,” College junior and incoming NEC Chair Allie Rubin said. 

“Because the NEC is a four year commitment, in contrast to other branches that are elected, the NEC is always there for you throughout your Penn experience and leads to really close relationships.”

Social Planning and Events Committee

With nine committees and open membership, SPEC is the PSG branch for students interested in event planning as well as arts and culture. SPEC brings speakers to campus and helps to organize Spring Fling.

“As an incoming freshman, I wasn’t planning on joining student government, but I loved that SPEC gave me the chance to throw meaningful events on Penn’s campus,” rising College senior and incoming SPEC President Austin Borja said. “The opportunity to make the Penn community happy has really gotten me more involved in Penn as a whole.”

Student Committee on Undergraduate Education

SCUE is the PSG branch for students passionate about education reform. 

With initiatives to lower extraneous course costs, introduce more half-credit classes and implement alternative learning styles in the classroom, SCUE strives to improve undergraduate education. This group of 20-30 students accepts applications for membership throughout students' freshmen and sophomore years

Student Activities Council

Although students cannot join SAC until their sophomore year, it is an ideal opportunity for students interested in budget allocations and passionate about student organizations on campus. 

This branch of PSG is composed of one student representative from each SAC-funded group, and oversees the allocation of funds to Penn's clubs.

“SAC funds and supports over 220 student organizations and represents their interests to the Undergraduate Assembly and the Penn administration,” said rising College senior and SAC Chair Ed Jing. 

“SAC’s main mission is to improve the state of student organizations at Penn. SAC also organizes the fall and spring activities fair for student organizations to recruit new members.”