We want you to elect us as your Undergraduate Assembly President and Vice President because we are the most passionate and most qualified candidates, and we will work hard for a better Penn.
Five main priorities make up our platform, and these are the governing principles that will guide our Undergraduate Assembly. We want to increase transparency between the Penn administration, student body, and Undergraduate Assembly; improve the accessibility of Penn’s resources and student life; fight for inclusivity and equal opportunity for success; promote mental wellness initiatives and culture change; and lobby for community engagement in West Philadelphia.
Transparency to us means that no big decision from the Penn Administration should come as a shock to students. This past year, we worked hard to gather accurate information about the new party registration guidelines and resources for DACA students, for example, but in the absence of clear channels of communication, information was sometimes inaccurate or lacking among students. We plan to introduce new forms of digital and video communications that will broaden the reach of the Undergraduate Assembly and amplify the voices of administrators seeking student feedback.
Regarding accessibility, we acknowledge that not all of Penn’s opportunities are equally available for all students. While we will continue to lobby administrators for reductions in the annual tuition increases, we also realize the cost of attending Penn goes beyond cost of attendance. Between dining, retail, club dues, and social events, one’s quality of life at Penn can be determined by socio-economic status. Through collaboration with the Student Activities Council to make club costs more transparent and working with administrators to keep price points in mind when expanding in the University City District, we will fight to make sure everyone can enjoy what Penn has to offer.
Relatedly, our third pillar is inclusivity, as we believe everyone should have an equal opportunity for success regardless of identity or background. One example of this is spreading Academic Archives (also known as test banks), which the Undergraduate Assembly and SCUE have been working hard to rebrand and spread. We don’t believe only a select few should get advantages when it comes to test-taking, as it is one of the biggest on-campus stressors. Another example is simply recognition, as we plan to collaborate with constituencies on campus to meet student need as it relates to physical space, funding, and recognition.
Mental wellness is another area in which we plan to collaborate with student groups and our peers to create a culture shift on campus. While the administration certainly has a role to play in providing funding for Counseling and Psychological Services and keeping student well-being at the forefront when designing breaks, we as students recognize the role we must play as leaders. Wise words from University Chaplain Rev. Chaz Howard recently reminded us that we were enough when we got here, and we will be enough even if we doing nothing else but make it to graduation. By improving the club recruitment process and supporting the usage of peer-to-peer mental wellness resources, we hope to reduce some of the toxic pre-professionalism at Penn while simultaneously building a healthy community.
Lastly, we want to focus on community engagement. While our primary responsibility as Undergraduate Assembly President and Vice President will be to the student body, we recognize our role as community members in West Philadelphia comes with a civic responsibility. We will remind Penn administrators of Penn’s history and footprint in order to help our institution foster good relations with the city in which we all live. To help acclimate students, we also plan to lobby for free or reduced SEPTA keys and focus on publicizing the existing transit schedules to promote popping the Penn bubble.
While these five guiding priorities will guide the direction of our Undergraduate Assembly, they are not an all-exhaustive list of projects we care to pursue. As SAC Chair this year, Michael has been working to improve funding guides and information around last minute financing so that all organizations on campus can feel supported in hosting accessible events and programs. For groups that struggle to meet, rehearse, and commune due to space constraints on campus, we plan to lobby for the creation of more multipurpose spaces in buildings like New College House West that are being constructed in the near future.
As the Undergraduate Assembly’s external seat representative for Penn Violence Prevention, Jordan is also passionate about seeing the new anti-violence bylaw incorporated into the UA’s internal culture to support survivors and inspire other groups to join the AVEN network. Further, we want to work on improving the education that elected UA members receive in terms of inclusion, sensitivity, and working with administrators so that we are the most representative and efficient session yet.
Academically, we want to work with the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to reinvigorate graduate-undergraduate mentoring program so that students who plan on attaining more degrees after undergrad can seek guidance. We plan to advocate on behalf of students who miss class for religious absences and lobby for more standardization among the faculty as it relates to discussing mental health resources.
The truth is, most students on campus don’t know what the Undergraduate Assembly does. Some don’t care, and others wish their student government was working harder for them. We understand those sentiments, but we are committed to changing that perception by listening and by doing. This list of priorities reflects some of the largest areas in which Penn could be better, but we want to hear from you.
What do you wish to see changed about Penn? You can find us on Locust April 3-5 posing this question and gathering responses or you can email us with your concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We’ve heard everything from improved math classes to Gatorade in Hill’s dining hall. We hear you, and we’re here for you.
We can’t wait to lead the Undergraduate Assembly next year and after more than five years of experience between us, there is no job we’d rather undertake and no community we’d rather serve.
MICHAEL KRONE is a College junior studying economics and JORDAN ANDREWS is a College sophomore studying political science. They are running for UA President and UA Vice President, respectively. You can find out more about their campaign at KroneAndrews.com. Visit pennstudgov.com from April 3-5 to vote.