Representatives from UPUA discussed common issues, an annual rally for higher education and refining the PASS mission statement with student leaders from other state schools at the PASS conference over the weekend.
The Pennsylvania Association of State Related Students conference, which began Friday and ended Sunday at Temple University, hosted student leaders from Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Lincoln University.
The University Park Undergraduate Association representatives in attendance were President Courtney Lennartz, Vice President Katelyn Mullen, Chairman of the Assembly Spencer Malloy, Chief of Staff John Zang, Governmental Affairs Chair Rachel Franceschino and At-Large Representative Ryan Brown.
One of the major points discussed at the conference was the Rally for Higher Education, a PASS organized event held in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg once a year.
PASS was developed as a reactionary group in response to budget cuts levied by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011, University of Pittsburgh Student Government Board President James Landreneau said.
“Every institution in Pennsylvania was engaged in trying to show their support, and the turnout for the first rally was high,” Landreneau said.
Since Corbett’s cuts have decreased since then, Malloy (senior-philosophy and agroecology) said there was a lot of debate from Pittsburgh and Penn State as to whether the rally was sending the right message.
Landreneau said he suggested that the universities host local rallies at each campus on the same day.
“It would allow us to voice our opinion, invite in more diverse students, and the overall rally would be a better experience,” Landreneau said. “It is hard for Pitt to get students engaged in the event and then drive four hours to Harrisburg.”
Malloy said they held off on setting a date for the rally and instead decided to wait and see what Corbett’s budget address looks like.
“We don’t know if it is going to be a big cut suggestion, so we decided to table it until then,” Malloy said.
Zang (senior-international politics) said the discussion over topics such as the rally helped form a line of communication between the universities and led to interesting ideas that UPUA will utilize in the future.
“It was beneficial getting to have serious discussions with the three other schools because the missions are very similar,” Zang said. “The way we are all funded in the same way by the state led to great collaboration and discussion.”
The next PASS conference will be held at Penn State early this spring.
“We will be working on two projects then,” Malloy said. “We will write up standing rules and a constitution and discuss the allocated funding for the PASS website.”