General Body Meeting


9:00PM Benjamin Franklin Room, Houston Hall

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Campus Recreation
  2. AOD and Anti-Hazing Policies
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings
  1. AVEN
  2. Speaker Advisory Group
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. University Council
  2. Project List
  1. UA Report
  1. GBM Schedule for Remainder of Fall and Spring Semester
  2. Holiday Party and Gift Exchange
  3. Member of the Week
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Contingency Request
  2. Finance Fall Check-in
  3. Contingency Request “La Luna Ball: A Night Under the Stars”
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Airport Shuttles
  1. Old Business
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Social Justice
  1. STI Testing
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. SHAB Discussion
  2. Study Abroad Cost
  3. FAQ Forum
  1. Project Updates
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Staff Appreciation Week
  2. Library Resources
  3. Uncoordinated Dual Degree
  4. Peer Advisor
  5. Test Bank
  6. Provost and EVP Office Hours
  7. Student Athlete Advisory Board
  1. Dining Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Trash Cans in The Quad
  2. Replacing Hand Towels with Automated Dryers
  3. Freshman Dorm Kitchen Checkout System
  4. Panhellenic Wellness
  1. Social Justice
  1. International Student Guide
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Student Life
  1. Connecting to AirPennNet and IT Services
  1. Dining Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Dining Hours Website Link
  2. Recycling Bins in Freshman Dorms
  1. Social Justice
  1. LOA Project- Returning Student Orientation
  2. Expanding the FGLI Textbook Library
  1. External Seats
  1. Meeting with University City District
  2. Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee
  1. Communications


President’s Report

  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Campus Recreation
  1. This past week, I met with David Leach, the Senior Associate AD of Campus Recreation to discuss reforming the Rec Advisory Board.  He is looking for around 18 people evenly distributed among students, staff, and faculty.  I will be discussing with NEC about this.
  1. AOD and Anti-Hazing policies
  1. Shawn Srolovitz and I will be meeting with IFC, Panhellenic, and IGC to go over these policies.  We will also be discussing them in the next UA Steering.  Please let me know if you think we should reach out to any other groups.
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings
  1. AVEN
  1. I will be meeting with Jess Mertz this upcoming week to discuss next steps with the AVEN program.  If you have not filled out the survey, please do so.
  1. Speaker Advisory Group
  1. On December 8, I will be meeting with the speaker advisory group to discuss plans for the next commencement speaker.

Vice-President’s Report

  1. University Council
  1. The proposal to expand the undergraduate seats on University Council by 3 seats was presented to University Council Steering on Wednesday. In order for this proposal to be voted on at University Council it needed to go through UC Steering. Unfortunately, the proposal did not pass through UC Steering. The general consensus in the room was that raising seats would set a slippery precedent for the future as well as equity in raising seats of other delegations. We steered the conversation to concerns with UC and how we can improve UC. In addition we will continue our conversation with Provost Pritchett regarding ensuring that the voices of underrepresented groups are heard.
  1. Steering Sheet
  1. Please take a look at the Steering Sheet and if your project is affiliated with an organization make sure it is there. If you are looking for project ideas, please utilize the sheet!

UA Report

  1. GBM Schedule for Remainder of Fall and Spring Semester
  1. There will be one more GBM this semester, on Sunday, December 3rd. There will not be a GBM on November 26 (Thanksgiving Break) or December 10.
  2. The spring GBM calendar, including the timing and tentative location of Budget meetings, will be distributed before the end of the semester.
  1. Holiday Party and Gift Exchange
  1. Max will be coordinating our Holiday Party that will take place before GBM on December 3. Look for more information that and our holiday gift exchange in the coming weeks.
  1. Member of the Week
  1. This week’s Member of the Week is...

Treasurer’s Report

  1. Contingency Request
  1. Monday, November 13th, Exec has an emergency contingency vote on $4,455 for UMC’s keynote speaker. Exec voted to fund UMC at $3,575, with a vote of 5-0-0. The Contingency Fund is now $9,685.
  1. Fall Finance Check-ins
  1. On December 3rd, the Budget Committee will be meeting with all the groups we fund to begin the Budget Process. This is required per bylaw:

Contingency Request for “La Luna Ball: A Night Under the Stars”

Authored by: UA Budget Committee

Event Description: “Our 3rd Annual St. Jude's Banquet will be on December 3rd and planned to start at 7:30. It will be a night of performances, live entertainment, dancing, and traditional Latin plates. This years it is being called "La Luna Ball: A Night Under the Stars". The theme for this year is to emphasize and honor the "stars" that usually go unnoticed- people/students of color, DACA students, immigrants, and most importantly the children and families of St. Jude's. We wanted to cultivate a coming together of the community and focus on the patients of St. Jude's. All proceeds of our banquet go to St. Jude's. Last year we raised $2,741 and are striving to raise even more this year through more ticket sales, donations, and raffle.”


Total Requested: $596.82


Budget Committee Recommendation: $0

Budget Committee Reasoning: The main reason we are funding at $0 is because of Contingency Guideline #8: In accordance with university policy, the UA will make no donation to charitable organizations or causes. Our second reason is that this is technically a revenue generating event, where we believe the expenses they are asking for can be covered by the tickets they are selling. They expect to sell around 200 tickets where student tickets are $15 and $25 for non-students. The third reason is because we are a last resort funding source and they have not heard back from PTAEF, they will be meeting with them on November 29th. If we did not bring it to the body today, then Exec would vote on this.

Financial Overview:

Secretary’s Report

  1. Airport Shuttles
  1. Airport Shuttles
  1. Dates and Times:
  1. Tuesday, November 21st 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  2. Wednesday, November 22nd 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  1. Shifts
  1. Be at your shift throughout entire time listed
  2. Check people off on the sign in sheet
  3. People that have not yet signed up for a shift:
  1. Kevin Myers
  2. Noah Kest
  3. Jason Kim
  4. Anthony Williams
  5. Delaney Kaufman
  6. Kyle O’Neil
  7. Nile Nwogu
  8. Ammar Bawa
  9. Baktiar Choudhary
  10. Grace Kim
  11. Anjali Mahadevia
  1. Advertising
  1. You must write which listservs you posted in on the shift sign up sheet

Old Business

Completion Reports

Social Justice

STI Testing

Authored by: Mary Bready

After meeting with the Director of Student Health (Erika Gross), plans are being finalized in November

for a month of free STI Testing in the spring (likely March). She explained that they have already found

most of their funding for this project and that they would need help to advertise the free testing to

students. She also explained that depending on interest and the success of this project, it may be able to

recur every semester or year.

Discussion Papers

Academic Initiatives

SHAB Discussion

Authored by: George Yang



Hand hygiene: Student Health Advisory Board discussed better ways to increase student health regarding hand washing. They are making public posters regarding hand washing.


Tobacco-free Initiative:



  1. Currently, use of Student Health Service (SHS) has increased this semester and SHS is running at capacity. Right now, patients are placed on hold when they call the nurse/triage line. Should this continue, or should we ask patients to leave a message with phone number for a SHS nurse to call back within the same day? No time estimate can be provided but we can tell the caller how many callers are ahead. Keep in mind, calls can be 2 minutes or they could be 20 minutes (raise hands for putting on hold and raise hands for leaving a message).
  2. How many have attended meditation and yoga here? (raise hands)
  3. Meditation: Quad session on Wednesday evening is dropping in attendance. We're considering other locations, pivoting our focus to non-freshmen who may be more interested.
  1. Should we move?
  2. What are better ways to market to undergraduate students so that attendance increases?
  1. Yoga: currently yoga is at the Palestra.
  1.   Is there a better location on campus?
  2. How can we increase attendance at monthly yoga? Is it worth it to increase attendance?
  1. SHS is trying to improve its social media presence. What do you think of the SHS Instagram and Facebook page?
  2. Recommendations in general (tobacco initiative, health, and wellness)

Study Abroad Cost

Authored by: Noah and Nile


As we have discussed in previous meetings, we are working on gathering more information about the school’s study abroad tuition costs. We have been in touch with the Study Abroad director Nigel Cossar, and we are meeting with him and Trevor Lewis, Vice President for Budget and Financial Analysis, on December 8th. He asked us to provide him with some questions before the meeting, so the two of them will be prepared. We have already prepared some questions but would also like to hear from you what other questions we should ask.


Currently, Penn charges the same tuition to study abroad as they do for a semester at Penn. Considering that Penn’s tuition is much higher than the tuition at other schools, it didn’t seem to make sense why the costs abroad and at Penn were the same. The study abroad website gives a list of reasons for this:

“This means that Penn students pay Penn tuition for their study abroad experience.  Penn in turn pays tuition to the partner institution abroad.  Penn students benefit from this practice by earning Penn credit and grades for their study abroad courses as well as having a wide range of program types to select from.  Each overseas course is reviewed by academic personnel to determine creditworthiness at Penn, thereby enabling overseas courses to count for grades. Charging Penn tuition enables students continued access to Penn services such as CAPS, academic advising, library resources, and financial aid.  It also ensures that programs are selected based on best personal and academic fit instead of cost and provides access to study abroad for the entire Penn undergraduate community.”


This makes little sense as to why students are required to pay Penn fees for services they’re not using while abroad. Therefore, we are trying to gain more transparency into Penn’s reason for doing this.


Below is a chart of peer institutions and their study abroad financial policies:


School Name

Tuition Abroad

Other Fees


Equal to Regular

Varies by Program


Equal to Regular

Equal to Regular


Less than Regular



Equal to Regular

Greater than Regular (General + SA)


Less than Regular

Equal to regular


Equal to Regular

Less than Regular (Just SA)


Less than / Equal to Regular

No General or SA Fee


Less than Regular

Varies by Program


Key Questions:

  1. Should the costs of study abroad programs be used to incentive students to pursue these programs (e.g. having all programs be the same cost deters student from making program vs. program decisions based on cost differentials; or by having overall cost of attendance be lower than a semester at Penn making students more likely to apply?)
  2. Which study abroad cost model do you think is the best?
  3. Should Penn charge students fees for services that they will not use while abroad?
  4. Rallying student support is crucial for any major structural reforms in university policy. Have you heard of any complaints about how study abroad costs are structured?

FAQ Forum

Authored by: Shaina Zafar



As students are admitted to Penn they use online platforms and social media to connect with other admitted students. Predominantly, the Class Facebook Groups are the most widely used means of communications. Students can post personal profiles on the group as well as ask questions.


However, there are is no centralized place for students to post their questions through fully regulated means. This means allowing questions to be categorized with tags, having students upvote and downvote questions, and verify their questions by student leaders and administrators. This creates a need for an online forum space, one that could be specifically garnered towards freshman as a Freshman FAQ Forum.


Most freshman often have the same questions, but not everyone openly uses Facebook or has upperclassmen to ask questions to. Penn Reddit is not university operated and a small percentage of students on campus actually use Reddit. Reddit isn’t regulated by the university and therefore wouldn’t even be a practical solution.


Recently, SCUE launched Penn Central on the New Student Orientation website. Penn Central congregates on campus resources with categories like “Academics,” “Arts”, “Careers”, and “Religious.” Similar to its categorized approach, a Freshman FAQ Forum would function as a space for students to post categorized questions and concerns without any hesitation.


Meetings with Rob Nelson, the Executive Director for Education and Academic Planning, have shown potential for a forum to be integrated into Next Generation Student Systems (NGSS). NGSS is a complete upheaval of Penn’s current platform with Penn InTouch, and encompasses academic planning, course selection, scheduling, and registration. The forum could be assimilated into the Pennant’s “InfoSilem” as its own personal tab. The forum is meant to multidimensional such that people aren’t limited to asking questions about academics, but instead can ask about clubs as well on campus events and institutions. It wouldn’t be an suited fit for sections like academic planning.


As for implementing the forum, there needs to be a series of preliminary surveys to see the demand for something like this on campus. Students should be given the opportunity to ask questions that aren’t limited to a Class Facebook Page. The forum would over time congregate a series of “Most Commonly Asked Questions” that can become useful for students regardless of their school year.


Projects like Events@Penn and Penn Central are currently implemented through third party institutions, as the Daily Pennsylvanian and NSO operate and maintain these two pages respectively. In addition to possibly being integrated with NGSS, The Vice Provost for University Life, could be a crucial outlet for the forum. Speaking with students from SCUE, Paul Harryhill and David Gordon, and the Head of Events@Penn, Megha Agarwal, made it clear that the forum must be launched in the appropriate place. Moving forward, I will reach out to VPUL Executive Director, Monica Kinney, to see how the project fits into VPUL’s current agenda, ensuring that student based platforms like a Freshman FAQ Forum can further contribute to the administration’s new programs.


Survey for Students

  1. Did you utilize the Facebook Class Page to ask questions before you came to Penn?
  2. Do you utilize the Facebook Class Page now that you are on campus?
  3. How effective are responses on the Facebook Page?
  4. What has been the most effective resource on campus?
  1. Upperclassmen
  2. Penn websites
  3. Class FB Page
  1. Would an online space to post your questions and concerns be something you’re interested in?

 .               Strongly agree to strongly disagree

Project Updates

Academic Initiatives

Staff Appreciation Week

Authored by: George Yang & Kristen Ukeomah


I have had email communications with Andrea Ning on Kite and Key, who noted that they do talk about academic advisors and security officers, but expressed that it would be difficult to have a specific section on staff, or to mentions staff by name, because they don't in general reference people on campus by name except for Amy Gutmann during their tours. We also met with Dave Dehuff, on the faculty division of Penn CRU, who delivers student appreciation letters to faculty every year in an ongoing project to promote faculty appreciation.


Library Resources Project Update

Authored by: George Yang


Library’s own initiatives: I met with Katherine Ahnberg (Katy), student engagement librarian, to discuss improving student awareness of library resources and improving library resources to better serve students. The library is currently working on many initiatives to make it friendlier to students and to gauge student perceptions and needs. Some of the things that it is working on in the future are informing students about what a good interaction with the library would look like (e.g. someone at the entrance of the library often is not a librarian but a student. Booking a GSR is good, but the library shouldn’t just be used in that capacity). The library is completely changing its website so that students will be able to search it better. Additionally, they are completing an in-depth statistical analysis of library use as a whole (starting with Weigle Information Commons). They will then compare how the library advertises itself online to see if they can close the gaps between library use and library advertising.


Textbook availability project: Katy noted that the information about EZ-Borrow and Borrow-Direct is likely not scalable, and increasing awareness of having books on course reserve is something that the library is more inclined to improve in the long term. On the other hand, she did say that we should promote the resources because they're not utilized enough as they are.


Future: Katy is going to come to GBM the week after Thanksgiving to gauge UA opinion on how the library can better serve student needs.

Uncoordinated Dual Degree

Authored by: Julianne Goodman and Simon Chen


We had a meeting with Jonathan Katzenback, the Managing Director of the Undergraduate Division of Wharton to discuss Uncoordinated Dual Degree advising. We discussed the rationale for the recent changes to the admissions process (higher GPA requirements and removal of Winter entry). In terms of advising, he proposed ensuring that particular advisors have institutional knowledge to help uncoordinated dual degree students and having at least one uncoordinated dual degree peer advisor. He raised concern with the database of uncoordinated dual degree students in terms of providing incorrect information. He was in favor of blog posts from current uncoordinated students that can be approved and vetted by each relevant school. The next steps include setting up a meeting with Lindy Black-Margida, Director of Advising to follow, as well as continuing the conversation with the coordinators in other schools.  


Peer Advisor

Authored by: Jennifer Richards and Simon Miller


On Wednesday, we met with Margaret Hanna, one of the four peer managers of the Peer Advising program to discuss what we can do to improve the experience of peer advisors for students. Overall, the peer advisors are trained very well: a thorough application process, ICARE training, as well as strong academic knowledge to best help their peers. However, there is a problem with these peer advisors staying in contact with their peers after the tour during NSO. To help combat this, we brainstormed ideas to implement such as a positive rewards system (such as free merchandise or gift cards) to those who reach out to the most students with emails and coffee chats. Another idea was having each peer manager watch over 25-30 of the peer advisors as a point person, to allow the peer managers to keep the advisors accountable by forwarding them their monthly emails to their peers and track them to make sure they are doing the full responsibilities of a peer advisor. We are now currently planning on contacting the Wharton Peer Advising program to see how each program can benefit from each other and work together to help improve the overall experience of peer advising here at Penn.

Test Bank

Authored by: Kevin Myers


This past Wednesday, Abhishek Rao (Co-Chair, University Honor Council) and I presented on academic archives (formerly referred to as test banks) to CUD. We outlined the policy, information, and equity issues related to these resources. CUD was very engaged with the issue gave helpful feedback concerning the faculty perspective on academic archives. In addition, they gave advice on where to go next with the project before bringing it back to CUD. Primarily, their advice focused on how to reach out to faculty in order to get them to understand the magnitude and severity of the use of academic archives. After Thanksgiving break, we will be meeting with Julie Nettleton (Director, Office of Student Conduct) in order to formally outline our plan forward.


Provost and EVP Office Hours

Authored by: Jay Shah, Jennifer Richards, and Simon Chen


In an effort to increase transparency and foster the relationship between students and the senior administration, we are working with the Provost office to see the feasibility of Provost office hours. This was brought up in a meeting with Rob Nelson who said the Provost would be very open to this idea. This has been implemented in some of our peer schools such as Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, and Brown to name a few. However, the frequency of these President Office Hours varies in the particular schools. We will also be reaching out to Office of the Executive Vice President and The President. Our next steps are to draft a mock schedule and mechanism of implementing this at Penn.

Student Athlete Advisory Board

Authored by: Jennifer Richards

After having met with Paul Schmidt, the Faculty Athletic Rep, what started out as one project, priority course registration for athletes, became three. The primary project became creating an athletic advisory board to address issues like course registration as well as athletic excused course absences. The two main problems that arose was a lack of communication and education amongst both the academic and athletic administrations, and a lack of centralization to institute policies across the four schools. This advisory board would consist of academic administrators, athletic administrators, varsity athletes and non-varsity athletes to discuss how to most effectively meet the needs of athletes as everything is done right now on a case by case basis. He also stressed the need to collect data through surveys to serve as evidence there are prevalent issues not being addressed that affect most student athletes.

        I then met with Rob Nelson, Executive Director for Education and Academic Planning, and he was very in favor of creating an athletic advisory board. He suggested Paul Schmidt and I draft a proposal and he would help implement it. Regarding course registration, there might be a waiting list type system down the line that would take into account particular needs, but this probably won’t take place until after the new NGSS system is in place. Regarding excused course absences for athletics, he suggested that athletes should submit conflicts within the first two weeks of school and could potentially be treated the same way as religious observances. Paul Schmidt had suggested a memo from the Provost to standing faculty about “unofficially” allowing school-sanctioned events where students are representing Penn (not solely just athletics) to be considered excused, but it would only be encouraged rather than enforced.

Dining Sustainability and Facilities

Trash Cans in The Quad

Authored by: Charles Curtis-Thomas

I have been working with Damesa Bennett, a Facilities Director within the Quad, to work on alleviating trash accumulation in the Quad. During a meeting with Mr. Bennett, we discussed possible solutions to the problem, such as adding more signage to denote trash locations, holding the staff more accountable, and ensuring all lounges have trash cans. In a follow up email, Mr. Bennett informed me that there has been improvement in staff trash collection and there will be discussions about increasing signage for trash chutes. In addition, Mr. Bennett sent the locations of the lounges in the Quad; in the future I will do a survey of these locations.


Replacing Hand Towels with Automated Dryers

Authored by: Will Castner

I met with Daniel Connelly (Penn Dining’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) last Monday about issues facing students with Celiac in Hill. He informed me of the many resources available for students with Celiac. He reaches out to every student who states a dietary restriction on the dining form when they choose dining plans. However, he explained to me that 50% of incoming freshman do not choose a meal plan; therefore, many freshmen with celiac do not know about the resources available to them. He also said the form cannot become required. How can we inform freshman about resources for people with dietary restrictions?


Freshman Dorm Kitchen Checkout System

Authored by: Jesse Fox

Recently, freshmen students have expressed interest in utilizing kitchens. I decided to contact Dr. Kaliher (Director of First Year Housing for Penn Residential) to make not only these kitchens more accessible, but also implement a “checkout” system for students. After a little back-and- forth, she deemed this system unlikely to be successful due to past vandalism/theft and the safety hazards associated with baking. I am investigating working on giving first-year students more access to kitchens.


Panhellenic Wellness

Authored by: Elena Hoffman

It is very important for students to hear about the various resources offered by CAPS and Penn Wellness, and giving presentations at sorority chapter meetings is a great way to reach a significant amount of people. I spoke with Caroline Ohlson, the President of Panhellenic, and she appreciated this project idea. She said she would be happy to help coordinate 10-minute presentations in sorority chapter meetings. I contacted the Chair of Penn Wellness to see if she would be interested in having Penn Wellness members giving these mental health resource presentations.

Social Justice

International Student Guide

Authored by: Maher Abdel Samad


I will be creating an “International Student Guide,” similar to the FGLI student guide. This guide would include all the relevant information many organizations such as the ISSS, AIS and ISAB wants to push to International Incoming Freshmen during their first check in with ISSS (when they request /receive their I-20/DS2019).I spoke to Dhruv Agarwal, president of AIS. He thinks this guide is a great idea as it would have, in a single space, much information that freshman didn’t know how to access. He also is willing to help spread the guide by sending it to the incoming international freshmen. He raised a few key concerns such as the fact that International Students are too overwhelmed before NSO and so many of them won’t see the guide if it’s sent too close to NSO. Also, he warned of having too much information as it would be overwhelming to a freshman who potentially hasn’t stepped foot in the US yet. I’m also looking to contact SCUE to see if they delivered the Roadmap to Penn to international students and whether they will be printing the guide next year.  

Completion Reports

Student Life

Connecting to AirPennNet and IT Services

Authored by: Sahitya Mandalapu


Numerous freshmen have had problems connecting to Penn’s Wi-Fi, and accessing the IT departments of college houses during NSO for help is hindered by extremely long wait times. But there are actually detailed instructions for connecting all kinds of devices on The Tech Center is a new resource for off-campus students to receive IT help. They just opened this past July and are located on the ground floor of Van Pelt Library. After talking to College House Computing and the Tech Center, we contacted Business Services to add links to these resources under the “My Computer” section of Campus Express. Once the Tech Center sends us their promotional materials, we will help them promote it.

Dining Sustainability and Facilities

Dining Hours Website Link

Authored by: Kyle O’Neil

In a Dining Advisory Board meeting, a link to the Dining hours was placed on the “Hours, Locations and Menus” page of the Penn Dining website. In the future, the page may be eliminated to reduce confusion.


Recycling Bins in Freshman Dorms

Authored by: Arjun Swaminathan and Kyle O’Neil

Recently, a project to put recycling bins in the Quad to encourage a culture of sustainability was suggested. Kyle brought up the idea at an administrator meeting, and the response was that with the experience administration has with bins, they do not think it is logically feasible at this point. According to administration, part of the reason why they give out recycling bags, which they have seen residents use for their intended purpose, was to avoid the historic problems they have had with bins. They added that they will continue to use bags to encourage residents to recycle for the foreseeable future. Based on this feedback, this project will no longer be pursued.

Social Justice

LOA Project- Returning Student Orientation

Authored by: Jordan Andrews

After speaking with Kathryn Dewitt about plans to expand the Returning Student Orientation that was piloted this fall, I was updated that a team of experienced students is moving forward to plan the event for this spring, which is the current priority. The UA will help publicize this event once the details are finalized.


Expanding the FGLI Textbook Library

Authored by: Mercedes Owens


After meeting with Nickolas Okrent to discuss the opportunities offered by the Penn library system and Isaac Silber to discuss the opportunities offered by the FGLI library, I concluded that capacity is not the problem. The problem that both Nickolas and Isaac brought to my attention was publicizing the information that already exists. I feel as though Santosh’s FGLI guide and George’s book guide are projects that would be sufficient to publicize these resources. I will look into a problem that Valerie DeCruz and many of my peers have brought up regarding this issue- the communication and transparency between the students and SRFS.


External Seats

Meeting with the University City District

Authored by: Samantha Shea and Samara Wyant

This past Wednesday Samara and I met with partners in the University City District which included major landlords, VP of DPS, the Executive Director of Real Estate, and other major stakeholders in UCD. At this meeting we shared our stories about moving off campus and how stressful it is to make housing decisions so early in the year. Ed Datz also provided Penn’s view of pushing back commitment dates from October/November to around the Penn housing deadline.

Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee

Authored by: Samantha Shea

This past Monday I attended the first meeting of SHIAC. “The Committee's primary responsibility is to review, evaluate and negotiate the renewal of the Penn Student Health Insurance Plan (PSIP) on an annual basis. SHIAC also serves as a forum for discussing issues relevant to the provision of the best possible health insurance plan to meet the needs of the students and the University.” With that said if any of you are on PSIP or know of constituents on PSIP and would like to provide feedback on how to make PSIP better, please reach out.


  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  1. Jason: I will be in Perelman Quad tomorrow for the mixer
  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Campus Recreation
  1. Michelle: I met with David Leach who is senior associate of campus rec. They talked about having an advisory board.
  2. Jason: How is Penn rec funding for this
  3. Kyle: In terms of budget I am not sure
  4. Arjun: Would UA have a seat on this
  5. Michelle: I think it would be a good idea to have one UA seat on it
  1. AOD and Anti-Hazing Policies
  1. Michelle: Sean and I will meet with IFC and ask for feedback. Let me know if you have any thoughts
  2. Kevin: Can you reach out to Pac exec
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings
  1. AVEN
  1. Michelle: PLease take the AVEN survey. We all talk about how important it is so please participate.
  1. Speaker Advisory Group
  1. Michelle: On December 8th we are meeting to discuss next speaker.
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. University Council
  1. Jay: This past Wednesday we presented a proposal to expand university council seats by three. The consensus in the room was that it would set a slippery precedent and that increasing seats could potentially make it ineffective. Another issue was equity because other groups would want more representation. We then directed conversation to see how we can make UC Steering more effective. How we can make the atmosphere more active rather than passive. Provost also said he is willing to reach out to groups.
  2. Jude: I saw an article online that the attendance record was very bad this year. Why are we advocating for more seats if no one showed up.
  3. Jay: In regard to attendance it is really delegations that have issues. We almost have a 90% attendance rating
  4. Michelle: At the end this is what Jay was advocating for in the end for a call for action. We use this as a forum for policy changes and because of attendance issues this is what we need to solve
  5. Jay: Next UC will be open forum. The meeting is December 6th from 4-6 PM. In order to ensure that you are given time to present send in questions by November 28th,
  1. Project List
  1. Jay: Please take a look at the steering sheet and see if there are any groups that could benefit from different projects.
  1. UA Report
  1. GBM Schedule for Remainder of Fall and Spring Semester
  1. Michael: We have GBM today and the last GBM is December 3rd. December 10th we might have a study break. I will have the Spring schedule for you very soon. We have three meetings for budget and two are in Huntsman.
  2. Maher: Does everyone in UA look at budget
  3. Michael: There are three meetings for budget
  1. Holiday Party and Gift Exchange
  1. Max: I sent an email about our holiday party on 8 PM December 3rd. We will use Elfster and everyone is assumed to be participating. There is a strict spending limit of $10. It will come out on Wednesday for who you have.
  2. Ben: It asks us to RSVP
  3. Max: I already RSVPd everyone
  1. Member of the Week is Shaina
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Contingency Request
  1. Sam: This past Monday exec voted on UMC contingency request.
  2. Kevin: Why did we not vote in full
  3. Sam: When they applied they also applied to Penn Wellness. And we funded because 85% undergraduates
  1. Finance Fall Check-in
  1. Sam: After Thanksgiving break, we will meet up with funding entities on December 3rd.
  2. Julianne: In the future can you let the body know more.
  1. Contingency Request “La Luna Ball: A Night Under the Stars”
  1. Arjun: The request is for an event on December 3rd. It will go to St. Judes. We decided to fund zero because of contingency guideline number 8. We also determined that this is a revenue generated event. We also feel we are a last resort funding source.
  2. Sam: We invite every group to defend themselves to the body
  3. Samara: Who is asking for the money? It is a sorority under the IGC.
  4. Jason: What is PTAF. They generally only fund alumni events
  5. Jordan: Did they tell you what their plan is if they don’t get funding.
  6. Sam: They will have to cover the event with their ticket sales.
  7. Samara: The University policy is that we won’t fund charity organizations.
  8. Sam: It is a gray area. What happens in SAC exec is that charity groups appeal to body and the policy is overturned
  9. Michelle: SAC exec doesn’t always get overturned. I am pro-budget committee because we don’t fund charity events. They definitely can still run the event.
  10. Kanishka: I am part of many groups that do charity events and it is tough with the money
  11. Kyle: I trust the budget committee recommendation
  12. Jordan: I feel like the content of the event shows the event is reasonable to fund in the future.
  13. Sam: You are allowed to propose something other than zero dollars
  14. Max: Did it come up with this group that they would not have to have tickets with this funding
  15. Maher: All proceeds from the ticket go to charity
  16. George: It says 160 next to tickets.
  17. Sam: They are not here to answer the questions
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Airport Shuttles
  1. Maria: What if you don’t have two listservs?
  2. Brian: You can repost on listervs
  3. Sravya: There’s also a shorter link to the ticket website. I’ll send it out.
  4. Brian: Tomorrow we will be on Locust. You can join Jude 11-2 and Brian afternoon. You guys will be docked one attendance point if you do not sign up for a shuttle shift by Tuesday night. Make sure you sign up under the advertising tab as well.
  5. Samara: Are you docked one attendance?
  6. Noah: I’m going home Tuesday and would like to switch.
  1. Old Business
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Social Justice
  1. STI Testing
  1. Natasha: Mary talked with SHS to do free STI testing. She spoke with Groves who is director of SHS. They will be doing this in the Spring and we would just need to advertise.
  2. Michelle: So this already happens at other schools.
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. SHAB Discussion
  1. George: I did not get enough responses from the slack post. SHAB they are increasing the amount of handwashing. SHAB wants to know if they should put that person on hold or if they should ask that person for a convenient time. SHS is divided on this. Who has done meditation? The quad session is dropping in attendance and we are trying to determine if we should move. Yoga is currently in Palestra is there a better location. SHS is trying to improve social media presence.
  2. Sahitya: With quad meditation sessions I didn’t even know that was thing. Do you have to pay for yoga at palestra?
  3. George: No
  4. Sahitya: Get RAs to send an email
  5. Natasha: I would say calling back at a convenient time would be good. In Harrison there are meditation classes every Monday. There is a place that yoga could move that is closer
  6. Max: Why can’t it be in Pottruck?
  7. George: They already have one in Pottruck
  8. Jess: I think leaving messages is a better option. I want to push back against the cigarette earns. I think promoting the cessation process could be a better intitiative.
  9. Maria: I did meditation with the no Penn sponsored. Scott Hoffman has a program called mindfulness. It is very helpful and is more techniques about how to be mindful. I think free messages are very helpful. I think meditation is good for people
  10. Samara: I think there are places you could fit enough people that are not as far as Palestra. CAPS also offers mindfulness classes. Do you know how much they partner with each other
  11. Jay: I agree with not making the caller wait. In terms of centralizing resources, I agree with Samara that we should centralize resources. I think high rise rooftop lounge is ideal. Potentially having Freshmen halls go together. Potentially have DP write articles and have faculty show up to the meditation sessions
  12. James: I used to work at Arthur Ross Gallery And they hold Yoga and they could also potentially give you space.
  13. Natasha: The smoking urns are difficult. If they could remind people not to smoke, it would be a lot more effective
  14. Jordan: I was looking at facebook and instagram pages, however it looks weird as health at Penn. When you search SHS this comes up. Potentially give feedback as that. Encourage them to do more collaborations in the future.
  15. Jason: For the first discussion question, it would be great for them to leave call back times. For publicizing free meditation events they should partner with other groups.
  16. Sravya: Talking about social media presence I like their content. Potentially add some incentive for liking the page.
  17. Maher: Since you are working with SHS can you get final verdict on free message
  1. Study Abroad Cost
  1. Nile: Noah and I looked into study abroad costs. Essentially students have to pay Penn tuition for these programs. I met with the advisor and was referred with Director. We are going to meet with them in December. We are hoping to get some ideas for the meeting.
  2. Noah: There is a chart regarding how other Peer institutions do study abroad. For some of them they have different funding.
  3. Nile: Penn has student services for the funding we pay. It is a long list of academic services.
  4. Jason: I would be curious if they are used or not in number 3
  5. Noah: We can poll students that are abroad
  6. Michelle: For question 3 I agree with Jason and it is still important that our students have access to these services. But maybe they can break down the costs more
  7. Max: How this would affect students currently on financial aid.
  8. Noah: In other universities they say they can provide financial aid.
  9. Max: At Penn they way it works you pay the same abroad. If you change the cost would it also change with financial aid.
  10. Nile: Our question is if this policy makes sense and how to present the information more clearly.
  11. Kanishka: They are doing it this way because 70% of tuition goes to financial aid.
  12. Samara: I would respond to that. I know I personally would love to go abroad but decided not to for financial reasons. We should see if that is a significant deterrent. We should also ask how many students are using those resources abroad. Potentially that charge could be broken up more. There are so many other factors that go into this
  13. Nile: We are looking at two models, you are charged the same or you are charged by program. We want to hear your pros and cons on this. It allows some students to treat programs more fairly
  14. Jordan: I would be curious what the money not going to partnership and fees is going to. Why is that money necessary and falls on individual students
  15. Elena: I have heard many students explain that it is overly expensive how much different
  16. Nile: You pay tuition and study abroad fees including food, visa cost and airfare. It ends up being slightly higher that your on campus cost.
  17. Jess: If hypothetically if Penn made you pay for each school, would you have CAPS access.
  18. Nile: You would get similar model as other schools. You pay for services and program fees. It is definitely and cheaper model.
  19. Natasha: Since Penn is getting extra tuition money where does money go to
  20. Nile: Hopefully we can get as much as we can
  21. Maria: I think it is somewhat funny because we say university provides resources but students do not use them. I know for Barcelona many students were evacuated. I think CAPS resources are important to have as a default. I get it why you would not want to pay. You end up getting credit at Penn anyways. You get these Penn resources. I think there is validity in the way it is now. I think there is another side to that
  22. Nile: I have had many friends who do study abroad and if they can improve utilization of services
  23. Julianne: I spoke with Rob Nelson about this and he brought up about the issue of financial aid and credits.
  24. Jay: I think it is justified that they can charge. I think I would be surprised if they did not supply access to resources. I think we have to take many other things into considerations regarding outside scholarships. I am wondering if other schools had student driven change or administration. For other institutions will you pay less? In other universities was it a student driven movement.
  25. Noah: We don’t know and will look into it.
  26. Maher: Do you have any way of contacting these other schools and seeing if they do costs
  27. Noah: I feel like that is some upper level information
  28. Michelle: I guess you can do same thing at other schools.
  29. Ben: Students would be paying tuition cost of foreign institution and relying on their financial aid.
  30. Noah: We are looking at it
  31. Nile: It depends on your home school that can decide on financial aid and scholarships. There is no one policy
  32. George: On 70% of students that provide financial aid
  33. Jay: We really do not know that information for sure
  34. George: I am curious if that is revenue generating. Potentially we can make an added premium. Is Penn even paying the full tuition of that institution. If it is cheaper many students want to go, then  that would reduce cost of university
  35. Noah: I think Penn pays that tuition
  36. Elena: I think just in general I think that is an unfair argument to make. As it stands now only those that are wealthy or on good financial aid package. I think Penn should strive to make this a good program.
  37. Jason: Do you know if Huntsman has special subsidies with other schools
  38. Nile: I am pretty sure they do not because they have to go to certain schools
  39. Maria: I think an interesting thing would be to reduce cost of summer programs
  1. FAQ Forum
  1. Shaina: The idea is that this is a cross between redit and FAQ page. Having a place where we could curate comments from students. When it comes to form itself, there is a Penn redit. SCUE recently launched a project called Penn Central regarding different resources on campus. There are survey questions for students but many students want to know places that are reliable.
  2. Andrea: I support for two reasons, I would recommend Piatza because engineering forum did this effectively.
  3. Michael: NSO released a website called total Frosh move. It does the same thing and you can post questions
  4. Kyle: It is run by Penn NSO
  5. Simon: Since the categories are separated by academics, who answers these questions
  6. Shaina: I think it should be about any student can like the comment. Ultimately it would be nice.
  7. Simon: How will we market this to make sure students look at it.
  8. Will: I have two thoughts on it, more than most of my questions would not be “Penn” sponsored. There is such an information overload for Pre-Forsha and this could be shoved to the back for freshmen
  9. Sahitya: I agree with Will. I think the peer advisors are good resources
  10. Samara; I agree with what Will said and there are many questions students want answered. I think it can be solved by fixing peer advisor system and they can point students in right direction.
  11. Ben: I want to bring up that this is a cool platform. In Cornell they had an admitted student database. I think if we were able to collaborate with Penn labs and create an app.
  12. Natasha: I think this is a good idea. I feel like when you are coming in your freshman year there are many questions. The forum could be very useful. It is not trying to increase freshmen to freshmen interaction but rather admin to student interaction and it has a lot of potential
  13. Jordan: I think that the facebook page is a bit Penn sanctioned. To a certain extent facebook is a good model. I am not convinced that upperclassmen would answer the questions. If you had a bunch of questions many people would not be helpful. Potentially do a publicity campaign.
  14. Sravya: In terms of who will answer questions reach out to specific groups like Wharton Ambassadors. I would definitely reach out to them because it has to be consistent. For this it would be very voluntary
  15. Julianne: Rob Nelson is very excited about it . I think this goes well beyond freshmen and it can bring all students together. Realize that this is so much more. Maybe create some way to make sure.
  16. Elena: To ask something in an anonymous manner could be useful. I get very nervous about posting now. Even though there might be ways. In terms of peer advisors I think they are super useful if you vibe with them. I got along with my peer advisor and if there could be some type of way to pair with diverse groups
  17. Julianne: Simon is working on peer advising
  18. Charles: You want to avoid the same problem you are trying to fix. Potentially fix how it is now. Seeing what is and isn’t on TAP and peer advising.
  19. Kevin: I want to support this initiative. Potentially have a forum for freshmen
  20. Shaina: It is definitely long term
  21. Jesse: At Pennacle we had all our leaders talk to us in an open forum. If you could set up panel in the summer that could be useful
  22. Sahitya: I thought they had a livestream over the summer
  23. Julianne: The university is very careful about vetting information
  1. Project Updates
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Staff Appreciation Week
  1. George: We emailed Kite and Key and originally we were trying to reference people by name but we cannot. I spoke with Class Board 2020. We need to figure out if we will use model with jars.
  1. Library Resources
  1. George: This was after library resource guide. My contact is analyzing resources to fix resources. Person at desk is most liley a student librarian. We might not be able to meet demand for diagram and yes the resource is available.
  1. Uncoordinated Dual Degree
  1. Julianne: I am meeting with Jonathan. We discussed the process. He said they are not as in favor of ding database idea. It will all be about how we organize it
  2. Jason: For database it would be helpful for advisor information
  3. Julianne: I agree, but they are concerned for getting wrong information
  1. Peer Advisor
  1. Simon: On Wednesday we met with Margaret Hanna. The biggest issue we see with peer advisors is there is a drop off with peer advising. They are supposed to be a person who constantly interacts with their peers
  2. Jennifer: We brainstormed ideas no how to improve this. We came up with a mid-semester review so that they can get feedback. Each manager can look over some peer advisors.
  3. Simon: Potentially have a positive reward system.
  4. Jordan: As a peer advisor I did not receive icare training. In the spring we do have some sessions. There is supposed to be a budget for coffee.
  5. Simon: All peer advisors get 5$ for each peer
  6. Natasha: What was Margaret’s response regarding inconsistency about peer advisors.
  7. Simon: She supported positive reward system and accountability idea
  8. Charles: What are the current incentives they have.
  9. Jennifer: They get 160-180 apps and take most of them. They want to make it more competitive.
  10. Charles: I see what you mean by that they are not very selective. Is there some sort of peer advisor review
  11. Simon: They send out information to all peer advisors and see if they are doing their jobs
  12. Charles: Many students leave after a while, potentially creating an incentive.
  13. Jess: Is this just for the college
  14. Simon: yes
  15. Jess: Many people find resources in the clubs you join.
  1. Test Bank
  1. Kevin: We had a very nice discussion about contents with the deans. They understand you cannot make a blanket ban on this. I will meet with members fo honor council and student conduct. The next steps will be meeting with CUE.
  2. Julianne: I spoke with Rob Nelson And he said a university wide policy is not possible at this moment.
  1. Provost and EVP Office Hours
  1. Jay: We thought of this as a way to increase transparency between admins and students. Other schools have this program for a variety of hours. You usually have to call in advance
  2. Simon: Our biggest concerns are if student would come to these
  3. Natasha: I think it is a good idea
  4. Maher: I think it is important to connect with the Provost. You should run a prototype and see how many students go to that.
  5. Jordan: you should do a pilot and it would be important to have something on the website.
  6. Nile: Why are we not including Amy Gutman
  7. Jay: Provost was open to it and EVP and President we are open to it.
  8. Nile: Periodic office hours would be great. Sometimes an individual slot could be good or groups for issue based.
  9. Jay: The other schools have it on the page and they do have staff office hours and underneath they have a signup form. They ask for concerns
  10. Julianne: I would recommend talking to college deans and see how that is going in a Penn setting
  11. Charles: Is this something open to everyone
  12. Jay: yes
  13. Charles: Would you want to hold this in irvine or small setting
  14. Jay: Small setting
  15. Charles: What type of continuity would this work.
  16. Jay: In other schools it has been sustainable, and it is usually a first come first serve basis. If students have a concern that they are facing then this is the way to go.
  17. Jason: I feel like this would be great idea to get organic feedback from student body. Is there a way to increase UA and admin meetings transparency. Asking EVP to write significant items for us
  1. Student Athlete Advisory Board
  1. Jennifer: I met with Paul Schmidt. There is a lot of red tape going on with this stuff. Penn is decentralized with all of its schools. The solution that came up is creating an athletic advisory board and can have this conversation. Also getting evidence could serve as information to get stuff done. I brought this to Rob Nelson and figure out a way to get this started. Potentially in new system they can take in needs for students. We get forms in the beginning of the year for classes we can miss. Potentially have memo sent out from Provost similarly to religious services
  2. Natasha: There is currently student athlete advisory committee
  3. Jennifer: They currently do not do that much. They don’t make many academic contributions
  4. Jordan: I feel like you could talk about getting increased classes for student athletes
  1. Dining Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Trash Cans in The Quad
  1. Charles: I met with Damesa Benett regarding noting signs for trash. On indoor lounges they do not have recycling bins. The idea that I had would be that a trash can would be locked later in the day. He is going to have discussion about adding signage. They said to fix these problems could address others.
  2. George: you would lock trash
  3. Charles: We would lock it at 4 PM in a centralized location
  4. George: Have you seen cigarette buds in trash chute
  5. Charles: There used to be trash can in quad and then cigarette lit it on fire
  1. Replacing Hand Towels with Automated Dryers
  1. Will: A lot of concerns was that Hill is not as gluten friendly for celiac students. People have perception that 1920s commons is most celiac friendly, but Hill chef can also be paired with. He pairs people if they write down dietary restrictions. I wanted to get some advice on where to go for this project
  2. Natasha: If they don’t sing up where are they placed
  3. Will: They are placed on bff
  4. George: What is mentioned in email
  5. Will: He sends out email to all students with dietary restriction.
  6. George: Many people do not fill it out because default is most dining dollars
  7. Jay: I got an email from Daniel and he reached out. The other place we might be able to do it is housing form.
  8. Will: He basically said they were trying to make it mandatory for the past few years.
  9. Michelle: You said he emailed everyone that had a lot of information maybe make it into a guide
  10. Jordan: I was given the option to change dining plan if I wanted. Potentially let people know that they can change it
  11. Kyle: You can change
  12. Charles: Is it just as easy signing up
  13. Ben: When you fill out dining form they ask you your preference
  14. Charles: Is celiac the most prevalent?
  15. Will: No, but cross contamination is very prevalent
  16. Natasha: Something that might be helpful is sending information on google forms.
  17. Julianne: If information exists they should add to website
  18. Samara: I think that the best way to go about this is to see if they can change plans
  1. Freshman Dorm Kitchen Checkout System
  1. Jesse: I emailed Lulu kaliher and she said we will not give freshmen easy access to kitchen in quad. She cited that fire alarm goes off in Hill.
  2. Max: Jordan and I worked in Ware last year and we did have access to the kitchen and could only check it out till 9 PM
  3. George: The GAs and RAs can use it. The fire alarm was set off by GA and RA. Maybe you could allow someone not in college house to check it out.
  4. Charles: Most of us are old enough. During Thanksgiving most dining halls are closed.
  5. Natasha: FGLI students over break have issues with food. Under represented communities could help you make your case
  6. Jess: In Hill are kitchens accessible through Penncard
  7. Michael: With SALTO system you can book stuff
  8. Jay: Some places already have kitchens and see use of those places. Dining Halls are closed and are looking into getting stipends.
  9. Sravya: Speakmen has kitchen and people do use it. There are some available to students
  10. Ben: I don’t believe any fires were caused by students cooking in kitchens.
  11. Sravya: Someone was making scallops and caused fire.
  1. Panhellenic Wellness
  1. Elena: I thought it would be a good idea for members of Greek system to know about mental health. I spoke with President of Panhellenic and she was open to idea of 10 minute presentations for each sorority. I spoke with President of Penn Wellness and she connected me with advocacy chair. As a result we will be moving forward
  2. Samara: I would talk about adding a more institutional role for wellness
  3. Elena: Are you suggesting a vice president for this
  4. Samara: Encourage chapters to make this a thing
  5. Elena: I know my sorority has a board position for these types of issues.
  6. Natasha: Reccomend to reach out to IFC
  7. Elena: We started at panhellenic because it is smaller.
  1. Social Justice
  1. International Student Guide
  1. Maher: It helps international students know everything they need to know when they get here. There is also a way to get an internship So many other small details you would never know. I spoke with ISSS and they are onboard and I spoke with Dhruv and he wants to help with publicizing the guide. International students are concerned before NSO. he wants me to send it not too late or too early. I wanted to compile the clear guide. After I have all the information I will work with Dhruv to see what is useful
  2. Vinny: As an international student what do you think?
  3. Maher: For me I had mentors but many students do not. I had to book appointments. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know
  4. Michael: Make sure it is as exhaustive as possible.
  5. Jordan: You might want to make sure you consult a lawyer with ISSS
  6. Maher: They are people in charge of legal stuff
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Student Life
  1. Connecting to AirPennNet and IT Services
  1. Sahitya: I talked to college house computing and we will update campus express.
  1. Dining Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Dining Hours Website Link
  1. Kyle: The admin put link on website and you can make change
  1. Recycling Bins in Freshman Dorms
  1. Arjun: We got recycling bins and we brought it up in admin meeting.
  1. Social Justice
  1. LOA Project- Returning Student Orientation
  1. Jordan: RSO is happening and is not be planned by me. We will publicize event as we did previously
  1. Expanding the FGLI Textbook Library
  1. Mercedes: Capacity is not problem and they will publicize
  2. Jason: Can anyone use this resource?
  1. External Seats
  1. Meeting with University City District
  1. Sam: This past week we sat in UC District meeting. It includes a lot of areas and we asked landlords if we could push back early housing deadline.
  2. Samara: There wasn’t any type of response
  3. Sam: Essentially first time students could talk to institution
  4. Kevin: Are there next steps for pushing back deadlines
  5. Samara: The landlords do not know this is what students want
  1. Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee
  1. Sam: There is a confidential board and the majority of students are not on this plan. If you have complaints please bring it to me.
  1. Communications