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Expanding club opportunities, improving COVID-19 accommodations, and establishing a relationship with incoming Penn President M. Elizabeth Magill are among some of Penn Student Government's top priorities this spring semester.

Credit: Lizzy Machielse

As they return to an in-person format, Penn Student Government leaders shared their plans for the remainder of the spring semester with The Daily Pennsylvanian.

PSG leaders said that they will work to improve COVID-19 accommodations, expand on the group's prior initiatives, expand club opportunities, and establish a relationship with incoming Penn President M. Elizabeth Magill. 

The Undergraduate Assembly — the elected branch at Penn responsible for improving student life — highlighted several recent initiatives to address the challenges of the University's transition away from a hybrid learning environment. 

Last semester, the UA collaborated with the Center for Teaching and Learning to improve accommodations for students, especially for those who tested positive with COVID-19. UA president and College senior Tori Borlase told the DP that UA worked to update classroom recommendations for professors, in order to guarantee either recorded lectures or set up a Zoom option for students unable to attend in person.

SAC also boasted its highest recruitment in recent memory this past fall, according to SAC Chair and Engineering junior Evan Bean. In total, it welcomed 33 new clubs with a wide variety of focuses — ranging from consulting to health and well-being. 

“It’s very common for groups to just stop existing. One of the main missions is to stop that from happening — keeping as many clubs active and alive as possible,” Bean said.

Expanding storage for club equipment is another initiative SAC is pursuing, as well as continuing to improve opportunities to facilitate club collaborations, according to Bean. 

Student Committee on Undergraduate Education Chair and College junior Lena Hansen said that SCUE has three main initiatives for this semester: expanding CPR training in the College House system, improving advising programs, and working on disability advocacy at Penn. 

“Our priority is really creating a conversation between students and administration. We’re always happy to hear from students what struggles they’re facing, particularly looking forward to the new president and seeing what advocacy work we can do in that regard," Hansen said. 

According to Borlase, PSG hopes to continue its work on initiatives such as excused absences for athletes and schedule changes, as well as other dining, housing, and transit projects. 

Borlase recently submitted a proposal to the undergraduate deans which pushes for more breaks in the class schedule — a project she had been working on for a few years. 

Another project PSG is working on is sending a letter to Penn’s new president, M. Elizabeth Magill, describing the student needs at Penn and providing her with guidelines on what she should prioritize. 

The UA plans on sending out a survey to the student body within the next weeks to give students the opportunity to have their voices heard by Magill during this transitional period, Borlase said. 

“I have no idea how the transition to the president will be, but she has been very receptive to students so far, and so I’m hopeful that she will be very open about what she will help students with,” Borlase said.