General Body Meeting

02/10/19

8:00 PM JMHH 370

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Budget
  4. Old Business
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Final Exam Schedule Optimization
  2. Uncoordinated Dual Degree Advising
  1. New Business
  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  2. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  3. Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. Past Steering Meeting
  1. UA Report
  1. Communications Update
  2. Member of the Week
  1. Project Highlights
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. Civic Engagement Project
  2. Club Recruitment Reform
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. CAPS Embedded Models Across Undergraduate Schools
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. Water Fountains in the Quad
  1. Communications


Budget


2019-2020 UA Budget Proposal

Authored by: Natasha Menon, Nick Parkes, and Kevin Zhou

Attached is the budget recommendation that the Budget Committee is proposing for the academic year of 2019-2020.  Presentations and questions from the branches and groups will occur in the following order:

  1. SCUE
  2. NEC
  3. SPEC
  4. UA
  5. MERT
  6. Penn Labs
  7. SAC
  8. Class Boards

Old Business


Discussion Papers


Academic Initiatives

Uncoordinated Dual Degree Advising

Authored by: Max Grove

 

Background: Currently, uncoordinated dual degree students do not have a centralized advising program. Students must navigate the schools independent of each other. Academic Initiatives has been discussing the pros, cons, and feasibility of peer mentorship for these students. Pros include allowing students to navigate their uncoordinated degree with someone who has done it before. Cons include potentially bringing in more students into dual degree programs, while uncoordinated dual degree programs are not for everyone. The main issue of feasibility surrounds logistics - perhaps Academic Steering, the UA, or a new group could host the database of uncoordinated dual degree students and matching processes?

 

The previous Academic Initiatives Director, Julianne Goodman, met with various stakeholders and found this project to be supported by Rob Nelson, ED for Education and Academic Planning, and Gary Purpura, Rob Nelson’s equivalent for the College. Jon Katzenbach of Wharton suggested a blog with posts that can be vetted by the individual schools in fear of a database containing incorrect information.

 

Questions:

  1. Is there a need for mentorship for uncoordinated dual degree students?
  2. Will this make uncoordinated dual degrees seem easier or more attainable?
  3. Who would host such a program or database?
  4. What are unexpected externalities of such a program?

Final Exam Schedule Optimization

Authored by: Kevin Myers & Max Grove

Background: Over the course of the next two years, the University will roll out NGSS (Next Generation Student Systems). As many of you are aware, this is a system which will improve upon much of the University’s current online student services. One of the many benefits of this new development will be improved final exam schedule optimization. After meeting with the University Registrar, Margaret Kip, we learned that the University is interested in our initial input into what areas the final exam scheduler optimizer should prioritize. Possible areas of priority could be shortening the exam period in order to allow for additional reading days, optimizing exam schedules so that exams are spaced out, optimizing schedules so that intro class exams are earlier in the exam period, etc.

 

In order to provide some initial feedback to the Registrar (note that this is in no way the final input that students will have in crafting NGSS or its exam schedule optimizer) we are seeking to learn about what final exam scheduling issues are most important to students.

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are your concerns regarding final exam schedules (too many exams in short periods of time, too much time between exams, etc.)?
  2. Which of those issues are the most important to be addressed by NGSS?

New Business


Reports


President’s Report

  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  1. Council of Undergraduate Deans - February 6
  1. On Wednesday, CUD convened to discuss the launch of the AAU survey (see below), the university’s new sexual misconduct reporting policy, and codified registration deadlines. In addition, we heard from the Associate Dean of the Professional Master’s program in SEAS about a change in their submatriculation/accelerated master’s program and the implications for dual degree students. Finally, we heard from David Fox, Director of NSOAI about the success of the Take Your Professor to Lunch program, revitalization of preceptorials, and mechanisms to improve office hours.
  1. GAPSA IDEAL Representatives - February 6
  1. On Wednesday, members of Cabinet met with representatives from GAPSA’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Leadership Council (IDEAL) to discuss ways to advocate for better and bigger spaces for cultural groups, particularly those in the basement of ARCH. We discussed the potential to use the UC Open Forum session to raise these concerns to top administrators.
  1. Speaker Advisory Group - February 7
  1. On Thursday, the Commencement Speaker Advisory Group convened to provide suggestions to University Secretary Leslie Kruhly as to who students would like to see as their commencement speaker. Suggestions ranged from entertainers like Ellen Degeneres and Lady Gaga to military leaders like General Mattis and Admiral William McRaven.
  1. Student Registration and Financial Services - February 8
  1. On Friday, Cabinet met with SRFS. We discussed the transparency of tuition allocation and financial aid policies as SRFS continues to undergo a website redesign. In addition, we discussed the factors that go into the cost of attendance, and how they may vary by school (e.g., lab fees in the College/Engineering, clinical travel in Nursing). Moving forward, we are looking to identify costs associated with Penn that could be factored into cost of attendance and identifying creative ways to communicate to Penn students what Penn covers and how to budget accordingly.
  1. PSG Steering - February 10
  1. PSG Steering convened today to go over plans for PSG Week, which will run from February 18-22 (next week). Our event will be a “Community Conversation” with SCUE, where students will be invited to come engage in dialogue about a variety of issues facing campus, including academics, housing and dining, civic engagement, and more.
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Business Services - February 15
  1. This upcoming Friday, February 15, Cabinet will be meeting with business services. We will discuss implementation of the Penn Rides On Request app, the initiatives concerning residential services (largely out of DHT), and ways to improve available dining plans. If you have topics of interest that you would like to discuss, please let me know!
  1. Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey
  1. Tomorrow, the 2019 AAU survey will launch. This is a survey to discuss the campus climate related to sexual misconduct, student experiences, and knowledge and quality of University resources. The survey is important to complete, and everyone that completes it will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Students will have until March 10 to complete the survey.

Vice-President’s Report

  1. Past Steering Meeting
  1. This past Tuesday, we convened for the second Steering meeting of the semester. We discussed safety and wellness with the Division of Public Safety and Counseling and Psychological Services.

UA Report

  1. Communications Update
  1. The communications team will be leading some new initiatives this semester including a video series to highlight member’s projects as well as continuing with tabling on Locust
  1. Member of the Week
  1. This week’s member of the week is...

Project Highlights


Student and Campus Life

Civic Engagement Project

Authored by: Dante Diggs

 

In the past weeks, I have been in contact with numerous officials within the Netter Center such as Cory Bowman, Faustine Sun, and Ira Harkavy in order to consolidate Penn’s civic engagement opportunities into one list for SCUE’s Civic Engagement Week, spearheaded by Victoria Warner. Faustine Sun has recently supplied me with 4 different lists of civic engagement opportunities. With these lists, I plan to create a list of definitions to help new students understand terms such as “ABCS” and “Netter Center”, as well as increase exposure and knowledge of these opportunities during Civic Engagement Week and thereafter. Next steps include identifying what terms and opportunities require further explanation and figuring out a method and time of dissemination of this information to the student body.

Club Recruitment Reform

Authored by: John Casey

 

I am working on creating an online web resource that highlights all extracurricular and student organizations available to undergraduates on campus. I have partnered with Penn Labs to create the online web resource, and SAC has agreed to populate the data that will be on the website. Last week, I met with two Penn Labs Representatives (Cameron Cabo and Valencia Fu) to draft a questionnaire with questions that would elicit information from clubs that we would then put on the website such as: ‘provide a brief description of the club, what are expectations for new members, what events do you hold, and include a link to your application.’ The questionnaire was sent to Elena Hoffman, Vice Chair of SAC so that clubs will be required to fill out this questionnaire as they apply for SAC funding. Using their answers, Penn Labs will be able to populate a page for all SAC-funded clubs, as they have already staffed the project.

Finally, with the help of UA President Michael Krone, I submitted this project to the Wellness at Penn Initiative “Your Big Wellness Idea” to promote support, development, and maintenance of the web resource in the future.

Equity and Inclusion

CAPS Embedded Models Across Undergraduate Schools

Authored by: Mary Sadallah

EDAB and administration in Engineering have shown interest in this initiative. They are working on gauging interest/potential utilization and they anticipate that it will take about a year to create an embedded model within the school. I will be reaching out to the Provost’s Office next to discuss how this model could be integrated into the College and Nursing. Advice is welcome!


Completion Reports


Equity and Inclusion

Water Fountains in the Quad

Authored by: Thomas Cosentino

While campaigning in the fall, a main concern that I heard from students living in the quadrangle was a lack of access to filtered water, specifically regarding water bottle fillers. Currently, the Quad has only 1 water fountain per residential building. These fountains are located centrally in spots such as McClelland Hall. In the past week, Residential Service Administrator Paul Forchilelli approved locations for water bottle fillers/fountains. The locations, pending financial approval, are MoBo lounge, the entrance to Class of 28, and the 2nd floor of Ashhurst. Facilities is currently working on an official quote, but three new fountains should be added!


Minutes


  1. Roll Call
  1. Kevin: AM on AI
  2. Natasha A: VP of SPEC
  3. Armaun: Chair External of SCUE
  4. Justin: Former Chair External of SCUE
  5. Mary: AM on EI
  6. Will: AM on SCI
  7. Valencia: Penn Labs
  8. Alex: MERT
  9. Linda : SPEC
  10. Bayley: SCUE
  11. Karim: Class Board
  12. Emily: SAC
  13. Bryce: NEC
  1. Budget
  1. Natasha: Attached is the budget recommendation that the Budget Committee is proposing for the academic year of 2019-2020.  There will now be presentations and questions from each of the branches and groups.
  2. Emily: SAC requested a bit of an increase from last year, and we received the full increase. We are happy with this budget.
  3. SCUE
  1. Natasha: There was a bit of an increase to SCUE’s budget. One main reason for this increase was to increase accessibility to SCUE retreat. We added the $1,800 for the White Paper to the collaborations line item for now because the event has not yet happened. There was a reduction in the printing costs for the roadmap to Penn, so there was a reduction to the printing line item. We decided to condense the collaborations line item because in the past, it has been a bit more transactionary instead of a true collaboration. A new item this year is the White Paper that occurs every 5 years. We did not fund the launch party because we do not typically fund events. The gift fund was set up for SCUE’s 50th anniversary, so we included $2,000 from the gift fund to be used towards White Paper production costs leaving the remaining $1,100 for supplementary spending.
  2. Bayley: The funding we received for retreat is important because currently, members have to pay around $10. This money would cover dinner costs for those who feel they are unable to attend based on this cost. Civic engagement week has been moved to collaborations. We have been working with Provost's office to launch this week of events in Fall 2019. We are planning to have a really big name speaker and a civic engagement fair to increase engagement. For the White Paper, every 5 years we publish this. This publication is read by a lot of higher level administrators and is our opportunity to have a real impact on campus. The cost goes toward printing. The launch party is still an event we hope to have. It would be an opportunity to invite the higher level administrators to express our appreciation and receive feedback.  
  3. Elena: To clarify, the $10,000 you did not receive would have gone towards funding the launch party?
  4. Bayley: Yes.
  5. Maria: How were the retreat and Civic Engagement week costs calculated?
  6. Bayley: We based it on past retreat payments which averaged around $10 per person. The Civic Engagement Week was based on the numbers for Education Week.
  7. John: Are you planning to fight for the $10,000 in future meetings?
  8. Bayley: No.
  9. Natasha: I will continue to work with them to find alternate funding sources.
  10. Daniel: Is this retreat funding for students in need or for everyone?
  11. Bayley: All students in general.
  12. Brian: Just a reminder that this meeting is for question, while the following budget meetings are for amendments and approval. Please ask all of your questions regarding the budget during this meeting.
  13. Chase: How different would the number be if it was just for those in need?
  14. Bayley: Significantly less, but it is worth it to avoid these problems.
  15. Justin: Sometimes it can be isolating to ask for financial aid, so this line item prevents this discomfort and also promotes community within SCUE.
  16. Sravya: Are the printing and operations line items similar to previous years?
  17. Bayley: Yes, operations also includes focus groups and promotion.
  18. Sravya: What costs are associated with focus groups?
  19. Bayley: Things like food and other incentives.
  20. Chase: Have you thought about moving toward a digital version of the White Paper?
  21. Bayley: Yes, but it is a less personal process. People like to annotate their own personal copies of the White Paper.  
  1. NEC
  1. Natasha: They requested no money for internal membership training, but instead requested money for internal new membership books/packets. There was an increase for publicizing PSG Week. The money for State of the School also moved into PSG Week to allow for more flexibility. They requested 75 for Path to PSG, which was really successful this past year. For Midnight Breakfast, they divided the costs into individual categories. There was an increase in publicizing the candidate center, the debates, and print advertising. They asked for decreases in online advertising.
  2. Kristen: Why did we not fund the candidate center last year?
  3. Natasha: There was an issue with the creation of the center. This year it is guaranteed to exist. so we will fund it.
  4. Bryce: The main reason for the overall increase was publicity. Midnight Breakfast had a major increase too allow for more Freshman dorm storming, as we were not able to do this year. The new member books really built community among NEC. The $50 will serve for having food for our meetings. The diversity training is kind of like our version of retreat. We have food and AV costs, so this increase is very helpful. SOTS and PSG week were combined to increase flexibility and promotion. The DP elections publicity go toward print and online advertisements. We will need this publicity after passing a no laptop policy.
  5. Dante: What exactly is the laptop amendment?
  6. Bryce: The use of personal laptops will not be allowed in future elections because it could be seen as a form of coercion. We are expecting the overall voting turnout to take a hit, but it is worth it for a fair election.
  7. Kristen: SOTS is still happening despite the combination of the line items?
  8. Bryce: Yes, it is in our Constitution.
  9. John: What is the NEC’s Policy for the promotion of Special Elections?
  10. Bryce: We struggle with that a lot. We rely on internal efforts of advertisement mostly.
  11. Stephen: What happened last year was that we overspent a lot on fall election publicity because of a last minute room change. We normally reserve the fall budget for Special Elections, but we were unable to because of this. Ordinarily,  it would be fine. We are moving towards more online publicity.
  12. Chase: Why was digital advertising decreased with the DP?
  13. Bryce: We have an agreement on a price package with the DP, so that was kind of out of our control.
  14. Jude: What happens at diversity training and why do the costs increase each year? Why do the facebook posts cost money?
  15. Bryce: You can pay to sponsor FB posts. We use the DPs Facebook, so we have to pay the DP to promote this. For retreat, we have a diversity TED Talk playing and a lot of activities on how to properly ask questions in the most culturally sensitive way. It puts us in a good community building place as an organization.
  1. SPEC
  1. Natasha: For SPEC Exec, there was an increase in training costs. The Art Collective had an increase as a result of a reallocation of their funds. SPEC Concerts no longer has a fall show, so those funds were allocated to the Spring Fling concert. The revenue decreased to more accurately reflect actual revenue. For Connaisance, there was an increase in honoraria and facilities costs. Jazz and Grooves, there is no more fall fest, so the funds were allocated to the Spring show and technology costs. Film only had an increase in facilities. Pop-Up increased giveaways for the winter and entertainment in Spring. SPECTrum asked for increases in production and facilities. Sound asked for the same amount. Spring Fling removed the carnival line item because it no longer happens, but the funds were reallocated. Daytime production increased as well to more accurately reflect the costs of security and operations. They reduced guest passes, which no longer exist. We will include Skimmerfest in this as well, which was increased for the talent line item and tech/AV costs. There were decreases in security, giveaways, as well as other costs. With the exception of the Freshman Board, all Class Boards contribute to funding food for SkimmerFest. New line items were created for a more accurate reflection.
  2. Linda: Most increases were for facilities. The increase in Exec was for fall and spring retreat costs. The new budgets more accurately reflect the costs and revenues associated with the various branches’ needs. This includes facilities, talent, and food. Fling had a lot of shifts to pay for venders and the decreased need for security with the change in the event itself.
  3. Ben: Why are there are no guest passes or venders this year?
  4. Linda: We pay for them to come here and give away free food for a set amount of time instead of them paying us. Since moving from the Quad, we no longer need guest passes.
  5. Nikhil: What type of talent is brought for Skimmer Fest?
  6. Linda: Generally between up-and-coming and well-known artists.
  7. Sravya: How has the fee for Penn Park been accounted for?
  8. Linda: That is the facilities fee for Spring Fling.
  9. Natasha: We are working on reducing the costs Penn groups have to pay for Penn facilities.
  10. Chase: Why is the overall line item for Fling still the same with the shift in format?
  11. Linda: We offer a lot of free things now like food, giveaways, and the Penn Transit partnership.
  12. Danny: Why does the cost in facilities increase each year?
  13. Natasha A: We decided to increase the line item to cover the variable costs in facilities, which we would have to take out of the funds for talent in most cases.
  14. Kevin: Could you comment on how much class board actually contributes to SkimmerFest?
  15. Natasha: The boards are interested in improving the collaboration between SPEC and Class Boards moving forward.
  16. Natasha A: In the past, it’s been SPEC concerts taking care of operations and talent, which is what we are good at and the bulk of the work. We are interested in having a true collaboration.
  17. Daniel: Is the cost a lot less to host in the Quad?
  18. Linda: Yeah the biggest costs in the quad were security. We got a lot of complaints from people who lived in the Quad because it was an impediment to their daily lives for a couple of days.
  1. UA
  1. Natasha: The only big changes were for meeting packets. It more accurately represents printing costs. We also decreased airport shuttles advertising costs.
  2. Arjun: We have spent all of the money we needed to spend, and we don’t foresee this increasing much from year to year.
  3. Kristen: Why did we decrease the cost of meeting packets?
  4. Arjun: We did not use the full amount in past years.
  5. Maria: Why do we not report the revenue we earn from Airport shuttles?
  6. Arjun: It would essentially be used to fund operation costs. We don't really include it because it would significantly reduce other line items, which would increase our overall budget request by a lot. We use the money to fund internal subsidization. This revenue changes from year to year, so it is a floating number.
  7. Natasha: The revenue is variable from year to year. It would mean asking for an increase overall. There could be an internal bylaw for the UA that outlines the spending of these funds which would avoid having to reconsider the existing budget.
  8. Kevin: We could very easily include a line item for our revenue to increase transparency to the student body.
  1. Pre Orientation and NSO Programs
  1. Natasha: We always check in and see if these two sections need an increase in funding. There was no increase this year. Janice brought up that some pre-orientation programs have scholarships and some do not. This could have something to do with the individual budgets for any of the programs.
  2. Michael: Is there a way to verify our name is on the Toga party?
  3. Natasha: I can check.
  4. Kristen: When will you find out about the scholarship funding?
  5. Natasha: When they respond to my email.
  6. Janice: What is the change in preceptorial cost?
  7. Natasha: They had the idea to start small and expand.
  8. Kevin: Are we involved in the planning at all or do we just fund them?
  9. Natasha: We are only responsible for funding.
  10. Arjun: How effective was the money that was put towards preceptorials this year?
  11. Max: There was previously a student committee operating this. NSOAI is working on building out a stronger infrastructure for this program. Our contribution serves as an undergraduate funding contribution.
  1. MERT
  1. Natasha: Increases for MERT are from general expansion of the program. We have combined some line items to increase flexibility. There was an increase in travel and conference fees because of increased membership. They were able to offset these increases with revenue.
  2. Alex: The increases are due to increased technology and a dropbox fee. There was an honoraria increase with more offerings of CPR classes. We have increased the number of classes offered and increased partnerships with groups to offer more large scale CPR trainings. If this continues to expand, we will adjust accordingly. We wanted to be a bit conservative as we do not know if this expansion will continue. We want to expand to offer narican and stop the bleed courses. Based on those revenues and costs, we will account for this. We try to subsidize as many opportunities as possible because they contribute about 250 volunteer hours. We were happy with this budget.
  3. Dante: Regarding opioid courses-- will they be offered to instructors as well?
  4. Alex: We are definitely planning to offer this to as many people as possible, but we will establish this next semester.
  5. Chase: Do MERT officers currently carry Narcan?
  6. Alex: Yes.
  7. Chase: How has the Alternate Response Unit affected MERT’s budget?
  8. Alex: It has not had a lot of influence on our budget.
  1. Penn Labs
  1. Natasha: Money was moved from wages to operations. Wages were not the motivating factor, so it was restructured to offer increased community building and food. Other changes were to more accurately reflect the costs.
  2. Valencia: There was a lot of reshuffling in our budget. As our products develop, so do our understanding of out costs. With application hosting, a lot of the money goes toward things like tech supplies, domain names, and the texting service. Operations costs are what we invest internally to our members. We have two two-hour weekly meetings for which we have food. There is also onboarding and training costs. We spend a lot more on operations now than we ever have. We are thankful for the UA’s support for our club.
  3. Kristen: How does this affect current work study students?
  4. Valencia: We have mapped out our funding and talked to the members affected.
  1. SAC
  1. Natasha: The increase reflects the 26 new accepted groups and there was an overall 2% increase.
  2. Emily: The difference in overall increase comes from increase in number of groups we accepted.
  3. Kristen: Why are there not a lot of line items?
  4. Emily: We are essentially a funding source for our groups.
  5. Natasha: The increase is a conservative estimate. The leftover money goes to SAC.
  6. Elena: The changes were relatively similar even though there was a larger increase in groups?
  7. Emily: We had money left over from last year, so this is sufficient.
  8. Kev: What are administrative costs?
  9. Emily: Facilities, meetings, etc.
  10. Nikhil: What are PAC fees?
  11. Emily: I am not completely sure, but this goes toward funding our collaboration with them.
  1. Class Boards
  1. Natasha: We allowed $500 ($125 for each branch) for retreat with the condition that it is used for an educational event. Freshman CB did not ask for an increase because they did not need one. For the Sophomores, this year, we gave back the money from the 17-18 grant to account for apparel costs. For Juniors, NCH West could have potentially affected the costs associated with Hey Day, but it does not after discussing this with Rodney. There was a $1,000 increase in events. For Seniors, there was $4,000 added to the cost for contribution to the First Toast. We created a line item for non-alcoholic programming during Feb Club. The senior week contribution was no longer necessary.
  2. Karim: Natasha and the budget committee were very helpful and everything went well this year. For freshmen, there were no increases besides retreat. For sophomores, there was an increase to reflect the actual need for their events. Juniors are continuing to fund the remaining events for the year, so the increase is very helpful. It will be nice for seniors to be able to contribute more to the Senior Toast event. We are also eager to contribute more to the SkimmerFest event to create a more equal collaboration.
  3. Nikhil: Why is Holi a separate line item in each class?
  4. Karim: Holi has always been divided among the boards. It is all combined in the end because there is equal contribution for all boards.
  5. Natasha A: On the freshman part, it says they are not contributing anything to SkimmerFest. Why is that the case?
  6. Natasha: They will not be able to contribute much because of elections. The Sophomores contribute most.
  7. Janice: Why don’t the Juniors have a line item for apparel?
  8. Karim: The amount is variable each year, so it was included in the Events line item. This way provides more flexibility.
  9. Elena: What does the UA fund in terms of subsidized apparel?
  10. Karim: It is variable each year. The money is spent based on financial aid requests, of which we received 300 this year.
  11. Kristen: Does the money follow the class?
  12. Karim: It is allocated to that specific class board in their budget. Revenues carry over each year.
  13. Michael: A lot of funding is going toward the Sophomore signature event. Do you see the UA be a funding source?
  14. Karim: With the partnership with the Provost’s office, they may continue to fund this event.
  15. Elena: Where does the revenue from P Sweaters?
  16. Karim: The way the funds are used is up to the discretion of the Class Board.
  17. Michael: The UA doesn’t fund alcohol, but this is a pilot year with the non-alcoholic event line item.
  18. Dante: Events includes P Sweaters?
  19. Karim: Yes.
  20. Elena: How much of the P Sweater is profit and how much does the sweater cost?
  21. Karim: This year, we prioritized comfort so they were a bit more expensive. The profit typically goes towards financial aid.
  22. Michael: How far in advance should we submit an amendment?
  23. Natasha: ASAP, but at the very least 24 hours in advance. We can help format and prepare a response.
  24. Elena: The majority of that increase goes to SAC. Has that been accounted for?
  25. Natasha: In March, we will amend the budget to reflect the actual numbers.
  26. Arjun: Could you bring up the guidelines for emergency amendments
  27. Natasha: Amendments can be proposed during the third budget meeting only if new information arises.
  1. Old Business
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Final Exam Schedule Optimization
  1. Kevin: Part of NGSS will include a final exam optimizer which will significantly optimize the final exam scheduling process. What are the types of problems you have with the final exam schedule?
  2. Max: Keep in mind they are interested in the beliefs of the general student body not specific instances.
  3. Elena: The two main concerns are the lack of reading days and the fact students with three scheduled exams must push the middle exam to the next semester. We could increase the exam period to include a day of make up exams, or just have another day of exams which will reduce the instance of this happening.
  4. Max: She also wants to know how common this issue is regarding three exams in one day and thee exams in 24 hours.
  5. Nick: They do a good job spacing out common major classes, but they should look into common double major courses.
  6. Michael: We could also look into having a straight exam period that continues through the weekend.
  7. Chase: Looking at peer institutions could be helpful. I know this is a huge issue facing the student body.
  8. Daniel: I see this as a problem in huge intro classes which everyone has to take.  There should be a make up exam scheduled into the exam period for these intro courses.
  9. Mary: I had two exams in one day then one the next morning. I’m not sure if this is common.
  10. Natasha: It would be interesting to see data surrounding how well students do on these exams.
  11. Ozi: I would work on grouping intro classes and making sure they are spaced out.
  12. Priya: They should also separating difficult courses commonly taken together.
  13. Ammar: The university should work on addressing the fasting period that begins during final season.
  14. Simon: There are some professors who refuse to move the third final exam. It would be great to bring this up to professors again.
  15. Max: Always report situations like that to the registrar's office.
  16. Sravya: Will the days rotate each year?
  17. Max: It is continually rotated now, so I assume the optimizer will do the same.
  18. Daniel: Also address the courses that have the final midterm on the last day of courses, and then have the final during the beginning of final season.
  19. Kevin: They aren’t allowed to have assignments during reading days, but there is no definition of what a midterm is.
  20. Max: I encourage lobbying administration to define midterm.
  21. Maria: Is there a date when days for finals are optimized?
  22. Kevin: We don’t have information for that.
  1. Uncoordinated Dual Degree Advising
  1. Max: This is a continued lobbying effort for AI directors over the past few years. The Wharton dean is against this project, but Rob is in favor of it. Do you believe this mentorship is necessary and who would host it?
  2. Daniel: Do you know how many people transfer into Wharton with a college degree as their second degree, what the rate of dropping that degree is?
  3. Max: I’ll look into that.
  4. Dante: How does advising currently exist?
  5. Max: You are expected to review all of the requirements with your respective advisors and for each of your individual schools.
  6. John: One of the cons include making uncoordinated dual degrees seem easier and more attainable. Advisors could also make a more straightforward suggestion to discourage students who are overwhelmed.
  7. Max: This would be peer-to-peer advising.
  8. Kristen: No one should be discouraged from attaining this type of degree. This type of advising could encourage growth and offer support. It could make it seem more attainable.
  9. Natasha: This could be a charge for Academic Steering. Training could alleviate the stress of mis-information among peer advisors.
  10. Kevin: This perpetuates a culture of stress and negatively impacts student mental health. Attaining two degrees in four years at this institution is very difficult and unnecessary.
  11. Max: I agree.
  12. Janice: It may make it seem more attainable, but it is still more difficult. There could potentially be an increase in dual degrees because there would be advising available.  
  13. Nick: How do you become an uncoordinated dual degree student?
  14. Max: You have to apply.
  15. Nick: I do not think there is a need for a formal advising program because there is peer-to-peer support within programs.
  16. Sravya: For peer advising, I have found it best to reach out to my network of students who are also completing my specific program. Reaching out to students who are willing to speak about their experiences is vital. Also, compiling an excel file with courses and what requirements they fulfil is a great resource.
  17. Kristen: The most optimal solution would be for them to have a collaboration between schools to create advisors for these students despite the separate school budgets.
  18. Michael: A cool model would be the college major advising program database. It would show a list of people who opt-in as mentors. In terms of housing it, one of the school advising boards should host it, probably WAB because most dual degrees are with Wharton. You could push for a Free for Coffee membership for incentive.
  19. Janice: It is not uncommon for students within dual degree programs to know each other. I don't think it would take away from uncoordinated degree because these students would not take away from our resources.
  20. Ben: Why does Penn Labs not create a database for this? It could be integrated into their existing technology.
  21. Kevin: To pushback on the MAPS model, no advising programs are great here, but maybe consider the peer advising model.
  1. New Business
  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  1. Michael: At CUD, we heard from the Associate Dean of the Professional Master’s program in SEAS about a change in their submatriculation/accelerated master’s program. We met with SRFS and talked about the new website and transparency with financial aid allocation. PSG steering met today and we discussed PSG week, during which we will host a community conversation in partnership with SCUE.
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Michael: We are meeting with Business Services this Friday. Reach out if you have relevant projects!
  1. Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey
  1. Michael: This is a survey to poll sexual misconduct instances on college campuses. There is a $10 Amazon gift card incentive for this initiative. The survey is around 20 minutes.
  2. Priya: Could you provide more clarification with the SEAS program?
  3. Michael: Accelerated Masters is replacing Submatriculation in order to better communicate the level of difficulty involved in completing this program within the 8 semesters Penn funds.
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. Past Steering Meeting
  1. Jordan: We had steering, and based on feedback from last semester, members wanted more administrative offices to visit. We had two administrators visit, CAPS and DPS, in one Steering meeting in order to maximize the amount of opportunities we have given our four meetings this semester.
  1. UA Report
  1. Communications Update
  1. Sravya: Tabling starts this week. AI, make sure to sign up for Tuesday! We started a UA video series with Jordan and Krone last semester, but we want to expand this to filming committee members about their projects.
  2. Maria: Reminder that we have $100 in our budget for marketing.
  3. Natasha: Comm team is also working on creating graphics for advertising legal services and UA contingency funding.
  4. Ben: We could use the $100 to promote George’s videos.
  1. Member of the Week
  1. Brian: MOTW is Will Wang!
  1. Project Highlights
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. Civic Engagement Project
  1. Dante: I have met with faculty at Civic House regarding civic engagement week for next year. I have gotten a list of terms and resources that may not be as well known to students at Penn.
  1. Club Recruitment Reform
  1. John: I met with Penn Labs to create a website about clubs at Penn, and we created a questionnaire that we gave to SAC to use as a comprehensive resource during the interview process for SAC recognition. Michael and I submitted this to the Big Wellness Idea contest.
  2. Nick: Will this resource include only SAC clubs or all clubs?
  3. John: Initially, SAC clubs.
  4. Nick: Could you use GoPenn?
  5. John: This method will be the best for gather the most recent information.
  6. Elena: GoPenn is outdated and difficult to navigate.
  7. Michael: The information we would want to provide on this resource is not listed on GoPenn.
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. CAPS Embedded Models Across Undergraduate Schools
  1. Mary: This is something that Kevin and Jess worked on last semester. I started with Engineering since it is a similar size to Wharton. They will begin looking into it but it could take up to a year. We have shifted our focus to the college and communicating with the Provost’s office.
  2. Chase: We will also reach out to DAB and bring the information from the Provost’s office to aid in this meeting. We need to look into alternate funding sources because the lack of CAPS access in other schools creates an even larger divide among schools.
  3. Maria: This is not unreasonable at all. Mental health is an important topic. Why can CAPS funding not be integrated into this?
  4. Mary: Each side funds themselves, but they do not have it within their budget to fund this project. Wharton’s money came from a donor.
  5. Natasha: This could be a great idea for the Big Wellness Idea contest.
  6. Max: Continue lobbying individual schools. I would look into how the graduate schools get funding for this.
  7. Michael: I would recommend talking to the student affairs division in each of the schools to partner with administrators who have a big say in student life.
  8. Chase: Any suggestions to make is scalable to the College?
  9. Natasha: In the Medical school, it is framed as a short-term solution. It could be marketed as a supplement to CAPS.
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. Water Fountains in the Quad
  1. Thomas: After a lot of contact with Paul, there will be additional locations that are pending financial approval.
  2. Priya: Do you know the cost?
  3. Thomas: Not yet.
  1. Communications