Nursing sophomore Candy Greczylo was elected as the Undergraduate Assembly’s Nursing representative last week, after the previous representative resigned mid-term at the end of last semester.
Running unopposed, Greczylo won the election with just 17 votes from sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the School of Nursing on Friday. Greczylo said she aims to prioritize the needs of first-generation, low-income Nursing students.
Greczylo is the third consecutive Nursing student to run unopposed after only one student ran in each of the spring elections in 2018 and 2019. In the most recent election for a Nursing seat in April 2019, Nursing junior Tess Doran was elected with 136 votes. Although first years cannot vote in the election, the Nursing School has a total of 583 undergraduate students with only 17 students who voted for this special election.
Nominations and Elections Committee Chair and College senior Olivia Crocker said she did not consider the low turnout unusual because the special election was in the Nursing School and Greczylo ran unopposed.
Doran, the former Nursing representative, resigned from her seat in December, citing long hours in clinicals. Nursing students are required to complete clinical hours that allow students to work with patients at local hospitals. Doran was one of six UA members to resign mid-term this year. The NEC filled the open College and Wharton seats with runners-up from the April 2019 election. Doran, however, ran unopposed in the election — which prompted the special election.
Greczylo said she heard about the position through her friends and an email from Student Nurses at Penn, the school's oldest undergraduate student organization which promotes opportunities for Nursing students. She added that she hopes to increase support for first-generation, low-income Nursing students and address financial burdens for students in Nursing.
Greczylo said Nursing students often have to travel to hospitals outside University City for clinicals, and she hopes the UA will advocate to fund Nursing students' travel expenses.
“There's further ones where you do have to pay — either split an Uber or take SEPTA, which adds up when it’s every week,” Greczylo said.
Greczylo added she also plans to address fees for missing clinical or lab hours, which can cost up to $400 for a make-up session, depending on the length of the clinical.
Crocker said the Nursing seat was open to any Nursing sophomore, junior, or senior. First-year Nursing students were not eligible to vote or run, Crocker said, as they are represented by the UA’s nine New Student Representative seats.
Crocker said that the NEC contacted SNAP to encourage students to run for the position. Crocker added that the NEC also sent messages out to Nursing listservs and posted in Facebook groups including the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 and groups specific to Nursing students.
Of the six UA representatives who resigned this term, both Doran and Nursing senior Jess Andrews, who was an associate member, cited the time-consuming nature of their Nursing clinicals as reasons for their departure.
The remaining three vacated UA seats belonged to associate members, which UA President and College senior Natasha Menon said the UA would not fill for the rest of this term. Associate members are unelected, non-voting members of the UA who are appointed by the UA Speaker.
Last year, the UA and NEC struggled to fill four Engineering seats which led to a six-month vacancy between April and October 2019. The NEC reached out to student groups to attract candidates and filled the seats through a special election in October.
The Nursing seat, now filled by Greczylo, was the only vacated UA seat this term to be filled after holding a special election. Wharton junior Anannya Shandilya, second runner-up in the spring 2019 UA elections for Wharton seats, will fill College and Wharton sophomore Nikhil Gupta’s seat. College sophomore Daniel Ruiz de la Concha, third runner-up in last year’s election, will take over for College junior Chase Serota as a College representative.
Greczylo will hold the seat for the remainder of this semester.