GBM Meeting Minutes
The UA has a meeting every Sunday starting at 9pm. These meetings are open to the public and comprise all of the UA’s decision-making. The meetings follow a basic format:
Open Forum – An opportunity for guests & members alike to share their thoughts on anything they believe requires the UA’s attention.
Reports – The President, VP, Treasurer and Speaker all have an opportunity to report on any new developments.
Project Updates – Each committee presents updates on any projects that Representatives or Associate Members have been working on.
New Business – New items which require the UA’s attention, including discussion papers, resolutions and any special elections.
Old Business – Business that had been tabled from the prior meeting.
Communications – The final part of the meeting, closed to public, in which members share personal updates from the week.
The UA encourages members of the public to attend our meetings – especially the ones that involve pieces of legislation which will personally affect the student.
The meetings are held every Sunday at 9pm in the Benjamin Franklin Room in Houston Hall.
Minutes from the 46th Session (2018-2019)
Cabinet Announcement, the possibility of making first semester classes pass/fail, and including contact information for important groups on campus on Penn Mobile
Budget Committee Election Results, a resolution concerning UA endorsement of removing endowment funds from the coal and tar sand industries passes, and the discussion paper about new Huntsman Hall hours produces a lot of great feedback and project ideas
The possibility of publishing average GPA information, defining "Midterm" and updating the policies surrounding them, and National Voter Registration Day information
APSC Contingency Request and Penn Leads Voter Registration Kickoff Event
During Open Forum, guest Brian Schmitt lead a discussion about the new housing policy and members revealed upcoming steps for the UA, including a report that will be presented to the Provost; Welcome activities for new members coming up include Committee Shopping week followed by Welcome Week, which will feature Associate Members as well. See the minutes for more specific information about each of the five committees; GAPSA is heading a new initiative called Fall Festival which will include a lot of small events promoting mental and physical health at Penn. They are hoping to partner with the UA on this initiative.
In a discussion paper by Elena Hoffman, we discussed the possibility of giving non-Wharton students access to Huntsman printers. A lot of interesting potential short-term solutions were offered by the UA body and perspectives from both Wharton and non-Wharton students were provided. John Casey presented a discussion paper about the possibility of an online Club Recruitment resource. Among the aspects discussed were how this resource would be implemented (app, website, or a huge word document), what would be included in each club’s “profile”, and the logistical feasibility of the project overall.
Jen Ahn led a discussion about access to syllabi, Elena Hoffman and Charles Curtis-Thomas discussed the potential creation of Wharton minors, and Charles also discussed the planning of an exciting new Sophomore year tradition!
Kayla Prezelski presented a discussion paper on the topic of virtual Kite and Key tours, which could make Penn more accessible to students who are unable to travel to campus, and Regan Mizrahi & Ryan Bush presented a discussion paper about reforming pre-major advising to make it more effective. Simon Chen is leading an initiative to create a guide for freshmen and sophomore students to better understand the culture of living off-campus, including what resources are available and what to look out for.
Michael Krone urges us all to attend the Campus Conversation from 6:30-8pm, to VOTE on Tuesday, and to attend Penn Palooza on Saturday, Sravya and the Communications Team are in the process of organizing the UA tabling series, which begins with AI this Wednesday, and Charles Curtis-Thomas presents a new project that could potentially make learning real, practical life skills more available to Penn students!
The UA Body voted to pass a resolution authored by Maria Curry and Michael Krone regarding the advanced OCR timeline on Penn’s campus, the December 5th University Council meeting will be an Open Forum meeting. If you would like to submit a topic, please do so here before November 26th, and Kristen Ukeomah presented a discussion paper focused on informing freshmen Penn students about learning and performance disabilities so that they are able to recognize these disorders, get tested, and receive the appropriate help before their grades suffer.
Airport Shuttles begin tomorrow! Purchase tickets at shuttles.pennua.org, and remember to advertise. Dante Diggs presented a discussion paper about the revival of Pennvolvement and overall civic engagement at Penn.
Simon Chen presented a discussion paper about a UA x GAPSA mentorship program. He received a lot of great feedback on potential implementation styles for a pilot program. Anthony Scarpone-Lambert presented a discussion paper focused on the reevaluation of the GPA requirement associated with internal transfer and dual degree applicants. He argued that everyone deserves a chance to explain their circumstance before being denied. Sravya Alla’s lobbying efforts have paid off as the pilot of a CIS Advisory Board is set to take place at the end of January. Andrew Gegios has been working with administration to strengthen the support for students returning from leave of absence. He has been able to establish a strong relationship between Penn Wellness and Returning Student Orientation.
The NEC will be holding a special election for the vacant Wharton seat, and Arjun Swaminathan, Maria Curry, and Michael Krone are all working on a project to help demo and promote the new Uber-like Penn Transit service called Penn Rides on Request. The full-scale launch for the app will be in early February, and they are looking for honest feedback.
The UA voted to pass the Transfer Student Representation Resolution with a vote of 27-2-1. In summary, this resolution serves as a recommendation to the NEC to allocate one of the nine New Student Representative seats to the highest vote attaining Transfer Student. Vyshnavi Kosigishroff presented a discussion paper regarding the UA’s involvement in the “Earth Strike” climate movement. Voting for the Wharton Special Election will take place between Monday, January 28th – Wednesday, January 30th. Please tell your friends, including dual degree students, to vote at pennstudgov.com. Check out the Resources tab on the UA website and reach out with any recommendations for additional information. The 6B Town Hall is this Thursday from 8-9:30pm! This is a great opportunity to voice your concerns!
The Faculty Senate and the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Wellness are launching a University-wide contest called “Your Big Wellness Idea” to improve wellness on campus. Submit ideas here. Michael Krone presented a discussion paper to get feedback on the current dates included in the proposed Academic Calendar, specifically surrounding the length of breaks at Penn. Academic Initiatives committee members are collaborating across three projects. They will be emailing all Penn department heads in an effort to increase engagement and awareness in the following areas:
Reminding their faculty to upload syllabi to Penn InTouch
Asking faculty to serve as pre-major advisors and identify students that would best fit as peer advisors
Asking their faculty to identify students that can serve well as tutors and students that might need tutoring
UA Treasurer, Natasha Menon, led a smooth first budget meeting. Overall, all of the groups were pleased with their proposed budget allocations. Max Grove and Kevin Myers presented a discussion paper regarding the new Final Exam Schedule Optimization tool that will be included in NGSS. Thomas Cosentino presented a completion report detailing his lobbying efforts to increase access to water in the Quad. Residential Service Administrator Paul Forchilelli approved three locations pending financial approval: MoBo lounge, the entrance to Class of 28, and the 2nd floor of Ashhurst.
The proposed budget was approved for voting in the next and final budget meeting. The UA is partnering with SCUE to host an event for PSG Week called Community Conversation. The event will be held in the Hall of Flags from 7:30-9 and will feature three 20-minute rounds of discussion on various overarching topics. Priya Bhirgoo completed her project surrounding the creation of a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) study hall. The CBE Study Hall has been launched this semester and is being held every Monday and Thursday night from 7-9pm. There are 4 tutors who are paid $15 per hour to provide freshmen, sophomores and juniors help with CBE classes. Chase Serota and Jesse Fox highlighted their project of increasing the number of working outlets on campus. They decided to start with Van Pelt. Sal Caputo, assistant director of VP, was very helpful and receptive to the idea. This problem could be addressed within the next couple of weeks.
The 2019-2020 UA Budget Allocation was approved with a vote of 31-0-0! It’s UA Airport Shuttles season. Be sure to sign up for a shuttle shift here, change your cover photos, and advertise in at least 2 groups! Tickets are available at shuttles.pennua.org. The UA voted 29-1-0 to affirms the fairness of the interview and appointment process used by the Nominations and Elections Committee while appointing representatives to the University Council for the 2019-2020 academic year. Various divisions within Business Services— Penn Transit, Penn Dining, and Residential Services— are working on creating focus groups to gain student feedback and perspective on pressing issues within each division. Check out the agenda for dates and times!
The UA voted to fund two contingency requests— one for the Philomathean Society and the other for Penn Ice Skating. This bring the fund to $11,767.20. John Casey and Elena Hoffman are working on a UA x SAC x Penn Labs collaboration to create an online Club Recruitment resource. Following the gathering of responses from two questionnaires, they hope to have this recruitment tool ready for use by the Fall SAC Fair. Dante Diggs is working in collaboration with the Netter Center to revitalize the College Day program, which is a one-day event bringing middle school students from the local Philadelphia area to campus in the hope of encouraging these students to pursue college as an option and to demystify the college application and admission process in general.
George Yang presented a project highlight on publicizing the various videos he has made discussing resources on campus. Peer mentors and freshman should share this information with peers! Vyshnavi Kosigishroff and Charles Curtis-Thomas presented a project highlight on their project of integrating life skill workshops into the Penn experience. The workshops will consist of a collection five smaller workshops designed to teach students about five specific life skills: financial literacy, cooking, self defense training, Microsoft Office proficiency, and interview skills. They hope to have the entire plan finalized by mid-April and roll it out by the weekend of September 3-4.
The UA passed a bylaw amendment presented and crafted by Jess Andrews, Jude Dartey, and Michael Krone concerning attendance reporting. This bylaw passed with a vote of 27-0-0.
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