The UA was established by the Board of Trustees in 1972, and was given the following charge:
(Article 9, Section 5) "There shall be an Undergraduate Assembly… [which] shall provide the opportunity for [its] members to discuss and express their views upon any matter they deem to be of general University interest, and to make recommendations and pass resolutions with respect thereto. In addition, they shall have power to make recommendations directly to the President, the Provost, and the Trustees and request reports from the University administration."
The UA has five roles:
- We lobby for tangible change at Penn based on student needs,
- We represent students to administrators and outsiders,
- We bring students from different groups and identities together (see UA Steering),
- We provide services to improve student’s quality of life (see UA Services),
- We fund the other branches of student government and by extension all student groups on campus (see Budget).
The Undergraduate Assembly has the power to make recommendations to the President, Provost, and Trustees, and to request reports from the University administration.