Penn's Nominations and Elections Committee is hosting this year's State of the School on Wednesday, March 23 as a part of the University's third annual Penn Student Government Week.
The event will feature all of the student government branches discussing their work over the past year and goals for the future. Wharton junior and NEC Vice Chair of Education Aarya Patel said that this will be followed by an open Q&A session with University administrators, including Vice Provost for University Life Mamta Accapadi.
“I really want [State of the School] to be an opportunity where students can have direct access to administration because I know that that can be really hard to get," Patel said.
Patel, who is in charge of organizing the event, added that the State of the School is an opportunity for the student body to hear about what the student government is doing and direct questions to its leaders.
Along with the NEC, there will be speakers from the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, the Student Activities Council, the Social Planning and Events Committee, and Penn’s Undergraduate Assembly.
The branches of student government will provide updates on their work and cover a variety of topics, including the presidential transition at Penn and other initiatives to improve student life on campus, according to College junior and SCUE's External Chair Lena Hansen.
“Something that [UA] is always looking to do is get more feedback and make sure that our advocacy is appropriate to what students need," College senior and UA President Tori Borlase said.
Borlase said that some of the topics that UA will touch on will include their projects on the COVID-19 Pass/Fail initiative, the new on-campus living and dining policies for sophomores, and general projects concerning the University’s transition away from COVID-19 precautions.
Hansen said that she hopes that the event will provide a platform for collaboration between different student groups and branches of student government. Hansen added that, throughout history, SCUE has played a big role in changing the academic calendar and enacting initiatives such as making the University co-ed.
Hansen said that she understands that there is a perception that "student government does not do anything," but she added that "changes at a large institution like Penn take a long time."
“Changes take time, but they do happen," Hansen said. "That’s what I hope students take away so that [they] use student government as a resource, telling us their thoughts so that we’re able to carry that to the administration.”
Penn Student Government Week will also includes mural painting, therapy dogs, and a raffle for a Spring Fling concert ticket, Patel said. She added that some of these events, including a bake sale on Wednesday, benefit WePAC, a local West Philadelphia nonprofit organization focused on promoting childhood literacy.