Accomplishments from the week of October 16
Penn Park Tennis Court Fees Eliminated! The UA worked with Penn Athletics to remove the user-fee for undergraduates at the Hamlin Tennis Courts of Penn Park. We are happy to report that it will no longer cost $5/user per hour of reservation. That said, it is extremely important to remember to still make a reservation before using the facilities. One can do so here: http://penntenniscenter.com/reservations.html Questions about this project? Contact our CPE director, Dan Bernick at email@example.com
As always, you can find everything discussed at this week’s meeting here: https://docs.google.com/View?id=dnhzxtk_9fw9ms2g9
The UA has released its 2009 Annual Report, a comprehensive overview of its work over the last year in general and last semester in particular. This website will be updated in the next weeks with the complete text of the Report, but check out the consolidated and printable publication here!
Happy first day of Ramadan!
Muslims are required to fast during the daylight hours of the holy month of Ramadan, which overlaps with Fall semester. This means that Muslims at Penn with dining plans are at a disadvantage; dining halls aren’t open before sunrise.
That’s why the UA, led by UA Representative (now Treasurer) Sakina Zaidi, secured free breakfasts for observant Muslims during Ramadan after unanimously passing a resolution to give Muslims “Fast Food” for Ramadan. The meals will be handed out during the evening meal of Iftar, and are funded by the Office of the Chaplain and Penn Dining Services.
In addition, the MSA has announced its intention to have a memorial banquet on 9/11, to which President Gutmann and student leaders will be invited, as a direct result of this project!
Many freshmen have indicated an interest in the PennPass. On the face of it, it’s a great deal. No tokens! A mere $280 per semester for unlimited trips on SEPTA! And this is a 10% discount from four monthly passes!
Except it’s still not a good deal for most undergraduates – to break even on the Pass, you have to take SEPTA at least twice every day (including weekends) on average. Check out below the fold for the math.
That being said, the PennPass is a great and convienent deal for our small but significant commuter undergraduate population. But it’s not a good deal for those living on campus; not even the most dedicated urbanite travels into Center City and back every single day of the week for the whole semester.
The UA will continue to lobby for a good deal for undergraduates across this city from SEPTA – hopefully with SEPTA’s transition to a tokenless system we will finally see a PennPass that works for undergrads!
Many Penn students simply don’t use all, or even many, of the dining hall meals their meal plan gives them. Indeed, the Liberty Meal Plan (the smallest of the compulsory freshman plans) would have you eat at the dining halls 10 times a week to fully use up the whole plan.
UA representative Mark Pan, in conjunction with leaders of More Than Pennies, Circle K, Sigma Alpha Mu, and several other organizations around campus, decided to put those leftover meals to good use: feeding the homeless. Unfortunately, there was considerable resistance to permitting the donation of meals outright – so the UA passed a forceful resolution in favor of meal donation.
Sure enough, a few weeks afterward More Than Pennies was allowed to station volunteers outside of all three dining halls on Wednesday, April 29. The event was publicized by freshman-wide email sent by the UA. After one day, More Than Pennies had 531 students donate 10,300 meals! Simply by donating their spare meals, over 1,000 people in Philadelphia homeless shelters had food.
This fantastic initiative attracted a lot of attention from the local media, featuring in MSNBC’s “Making a Difference” segment on May 23 (check out former UA Representative Grant Dubler around 2:00). Check it out below or here.