UPUA opened registration on Monday for candidates wishing to run in the impending elections. There are 19 open positions for executive, legislative, residential and academic representatives for the 2013-14 year.
Students interested in being eligible to run for a position are asked to fill out a packet. The Election Commission will be operating from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 1 in room 332 HUB and will assist any undergraduate freshman, sophomore or junior interested in registering. [INFO FOR BREAKOUT BOX]
The registration period opened soon after University Park Undergraduate Association confirmed a new elections code. The Internal Development committee introduced a revised elections code two weeks ago that was originally met with opposition from many assembly members.
But the Internal Development committee decided to forgo the new code and instead made minor changes to the code already in place. Last week, Internal Development introduced the revised form of the code. The assembly passed the legislation with a vote of 35-2-0.
Despite the delay in the code, Head Elections Commissioner John Zang called the process of confirming a code and opening registration a “smooth transition.” He said he has been preparing for elections all year.
The only aspect of the registration process that has been affected by the delayed code is the lack of time to entice students to register for elections, Zang said.
Deputy Commissioner of Candidacy Dave Harrington also said, “it’s always good to have more time” in situations like registration where there is a need for student outreach.
And some students might be intimidated with the complicated structure of UPUA, Zang (senior-international politics) said. UPUA has a “steep learning curve” and persuading students to become representatives is “the biggest hurdle to overcome,” he added.
To combat the short time period, Publicity Commissioner Hannah Kendig is working to promote registration and make the student body aware of the elections — though she did say her job wasn’t changed because of the delayed elections code.
Kendig (senior-political science and economics) said she plans to place flyers in high traffic areas. She also said she will utilize Facebook events to promote debates between candidates and information sessions, as well as “more original” tactics to expose the student body to the elections.
Harrington also said he wants to encourage students to register. He said he was emailing and meeting with various student groups to explain the registration process and to encourage students to consider joining UPUA.
“Democracy has a lot to do with getting new people involved,” Harrington (senior-political science) said.
Zang said students who join UPUA will have the chance to be more involved at Penn State, as UPUA is “one of the most influential organizations, despite its flaws.”
UPUA President Courtney Lennartz said she would also recommend that students looking to run for an executive position spend some time as an assembly member if they still have time.
But ultimately, prior experience shouldn’t determine anyone’s decision to run, she said.
“We have new people join every year,” Lennartz said. “Some of our best representatives are new people because they dive in head-first.”