University Park Undergraduate Association Representative to the State College Borough Council Laurel Petrulionis has been working to bridge communication between Penn State students and the community.
“I’m really grateful to have held this position,” Petrulionis said. “It’s been very rewarding.”
To represent the voice of University Park students to council, Petrulionis said she sits in on meetings and reports back to UPUA on what is discussed, while also informing council on what UPUA is doing. Sometimes she is also asked to voice her opinion as a student, Petrulionis said.
“It’s important to show that students have a government here that represents them in addition to the State College government,” Pertrulionis said. “They’re equally functioning units.”
With municipal elections coming up, Pertrulionis is working to encourage a strong student voter turnout, she said, to make sure council knows that students have a strong impact on the community.
“She’s very informative and has really contributed quite a bit to the discussions at borough council,” Don Hahn , council president, said.
Petrulionis said she spoke to council regarding a statement saying that the Voter ID law was unjust. Both UPUA and council ended up passing resolutions stating their position on the bill, Petrulionis said.
Petrulionis was chosen for the position in May 2012, she said. At the beginning of her term, council passed the nuisance property ordinance, which she reported to UPUA.
Petrulionis said she is encouraging students who live in the borough to tell neighbors when they will be having a party and when the music will be on to prevent drastic eviction threats, Petrulionis said.
“It’s frustrating to see an anti-student sentiment from people who speak before the council,” Petrulionis said.
Recently, she has been working with UPUA Chair of Governmental Affairs Rachel Franceschino as the vice chair of the committee to draft a letter to students on State Patty’s Day.
“Most student leaders know that Penn State students know how to be smart and that students know what the repercussions are,” Petrulionis said.
There have been drastic changes to how people who are underage will be prosecuted this weekend, Petrulionis said.
Last week, she gave council an update on alternate activities UPUA is providing to keep down drinking and partying on State Patty’s Day, Mayor Elizabeth Goreham said.
“She is always accessible as well as informed,” Goreham said. “Council has respect for the role of the student representative and a better understanding of the student perspective in our town.”