General Body Meeting

09/30/18

9:00 PM Benjamin Franklin Room, Houston Hall

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  2. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  3. AVEN Updates
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. Past UA Steering
  2. Steering Group Meetings
  1. UA Report
  1. New Student Representatives and SAS Representatives
  2. Committee Meetings
  3. Welcome Week
  4. Retreat
  5. Associate Member Application
  6. Member of the Week
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. MSA Contingency Request
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs
  1. Project Highlights
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. Communications

Reports


President’s Report

  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  1. Student Registration and Financial Services - September 25
  1. On Tuesday, September 25, UA Cabinet met with SRFS administrators, Matt Sessa, Elaine Varas, Adam Sherr, Margaret Kip, Joanne Pepe, Jackie Smith, and Paul Richards to discuss various initiatives that SRFS has been working on. They discussed new programs for highly-aided students, such as a laptop discount program, opportunities for up to $4000 in funding for summer activities before Junior and Senior year, waivers of the expected summer savings for the first ($1200) and second ($1800) year. We also brought up potential fee waivers for required reports and systems such as official transcripts and the Penn Payment Plan. In addition, we discussed NGSS timeline and rollout at a very high level, and what students can expect to see over the next few years. We addressed the policy in which, currently, outside scholarships are applied to reduce summer savings expectation, then work study, then Penn Grant.
  1. Provost Pritchett and Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein - September 28
  1. On Friday, September 28, UA Cabinet met with Provost Wendell Pritchett, Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein, Senior Associate Vice Provost for University Life Sharon Smith, and Executive Director for Education and Academic Planning Rob Nelson. We broadly discussed UA priorities for the semester, including: civic and voter engagement, wellness and inclusion initiatives, student spaces on campus, and transparency of student government and Penn administration. We also discussed the implementation for the new two-year on-campus housing policy and the UA’s plans for gathering student feedback to ensure that all voices are represented.
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Business Services - October 10
  1. On October 10, UA Cabinet will be meeting with Business Services to discuss initiatives related to Penn Dining, campus housing, facilities, and Penn Transit options, as well as initiatives that are currently being piloted by Business Services. If you have ideas for what should be discussed, please let me know.
  1. Council of Undergraduate Deans - October 3
  1. I will be meeting with the Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD) on Wednesday, October 3. The other undergraduate representative on CUD is Justin Bean, the Chair External of SCUE. CUD meets monthly to discuss issues of undergraduate education.
  1. AVEN Updates
  1. The first step in becoming an AVEN group is to have 50% of our membership fill out this survey. Please take 3 minutes to fill it out at this link: https://upenn.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2uBcwAYQANnc7n7.
  2. The October AVEN step is to send at least three (3) representatives to a “Survivor Support Training” on October 12 from 1-4pm. This event is on the UA General calendar. Anyone can attend, and more than three (3) participants is recommended!

Vice President’s Report

  1. Past UA Steering
  1. On Tuesday, September 25, UA Steering convened. We were joined by Provost Pritchett, Vice Provost for Education Beth Winkelstein, and Executive Director for Education and Academic Programs Rob Nelson.
  1. Steering Group Meetings
  1. So far, I have met with Penn Dems, Kite and Key Society, and UMC. I have upcoming meetings with PAGE, UMOJA, AIS, and Penn First, and others are currently being scheduled. If you have questions about these groups’ projects or would like to join me in these meetings, please let me know.

UA Report

  1. New Student Representatives and SAS College Representatives
  1. Congratulations to our New Student Representatives; Dante Diggs, Danny Dontoh, Thomas Cosentino, Quinn Lawery, Regan Mizrahi, Ozi Amuzie, Janice Owusu, Nikhil Gupta, and Mandi Nerenberg.
  2. Congratulations to our new SAS College Representatives; Kristen Ukeomah and Chase Serota.
  1. Committee Meetings
  1. This week the new representatives will shop committees on Monday and Tuesday. They will be assigned to committees following Fall Break.
  2. Committee Director Overview of Committee.
  1. Welcome Week
  1. Welcome Week is soon! Tomorrow I will be sending out the form for everyone to sign up to attend and host welcome week events. This is a great way to informally get to meet all members of the UA
  2. When: October 8th - October 12th
  1. Retreat
  1. Get ready for a great time, the UA retreat is soon! We are going to have amazing food, games and bonding for the Retreat.
  2. The UA retreat will be held on:
  1. October 13th -14th
  2. Saturday 12:00 PM - Sunday 12:00 PM
  3. Vagelos 2000 and then Chamonix Mansion
  1. Associate Member Application
  1. The Associate Member application is open until Sunday, September 30th at 11:59 PM. Please be sure to tell your friends and submit the application. Associate Members will be assigned to committees after Fall Break as well as attend Welcome Week.
  1. This week’s member of the week is ...

Treasurer’s Report

MSA Contingency Request

Authored by the UA Budget Committee

Group Name: Muslim Students Association

Event Description: From the event proposal, MSA will be hosting an event featuring Yasmin Mogahed, “a psychology graduate who is internationally renowned for her self-help teachings. Her book, Reclaim Your Heart, which she will be selling at this event, is a beautifully crafted novel on self-help and spiritual growth. The purpose of this event is to bring in a speaker who will help guide the students of the MSA on their respective spiritual and personal growth journeys.” MSA has stressed that the focus of this event is mental wellness and spiritual well-being. The event will be held in Huntsman Hall at 7PM on October 12th.

Total Requested: $200

Budget Committee Recommendation: $127

Budget Committee Reasoning: The expenses being requested are in line with current Budget Committee Guidelines, as it will be used for the speaker’s accommodations. However, we will fund $127, which reflects 63% of the total request based on the proportion of undergraduate attendance.   This will bring the Contingency fund from $16,617 to $16,490.

Financial Overview:

Secretary’s Report

  1. Penn Labs
  1. Katie, Dominic, Emily and I met on Thursday to discuss the direction of Penn Labs this year. We talked about Katie’s expectations during future meetings, and I reminded them about the weekly updates I should receive from them. We have our first official Penn Labs board meeting on Monday, October 8th.

Project Highlights


Student and Campus Life

CAPS Awareness Week

Authored by: Simon Miller and Kevin Zhou

Last Sunday, I (Simon) met with Penn Wellness Steering to discuss the implementation of a CAPS Awareness Week for the fall semester. There is a similar event that happens in Spring (Mental Health Awareness Week), and Penn Wellness and CAPS Advisory Board were interested in having an event like it in the spring, so the idea was well received. I (Simon) will be meeting with Penn Wellness on October 2nd to discuss the details of the event itself, such as how we can best promote CAPS in a meaningful way as well as promote our mental health groups on campus.


Minutes


  1. Roll Call
  1. Brian S - EVP of IFC
  2. Baktiar - MSA Rep
  3. Anthony SL (1)
  1. Open Forum
  1. Brian S: I want you all to know that the new housing policy will hurt the students you represent and create a negative culture. Without sophomores, greek life will become more toxic and we are already struggling to fill houses. Raising dues and excluding those who can't afford it. Off campus frats will thrive, but on campus ones will suffer. By allowing on campus frats to be included, it would potentially eliminate off campus. We want to gather data that has been sent out to chapter presidents. With this data and a UA resolution, we hope to change this policy. The chapter house was the best part of my sophomore year and aided my mental wellness significantly. This policy wont make Greek life go away, it will just eliminate the more diverse inclusive frats. I don't want to see Greek life deteriorate.
  2. Ben: Addressing the UA resolution, i would be happy to work on this with you. Speaking to one of my FGLI friends, he would not be able to afford a frat house and dues with this policy. You also mentioned lowe rents of off campus housing would be affected?
  3. Brian: Yes with less demand, the price will be lowered, helping the off campus frats become stronger.
  4. Jordan: You mentioned working to compile data, I am wondering what the timeline is on this information.
  5. Brian S: The survey has been sent out and asks questions regarding the amount of sophomores in these Greek houses, financial aid being received by the sophomores, and sophomore feeling of overall wellness. The sophomore experience is something that has long been a priority in the Greek community.
  6. Elena: Panhel came together to discuss this. A lot of chapter houses on Locust have been bought back from the university by chapter alumni, so those Frats will be there no matter what. I have also talked to other universities, and living in chapter house counts as living on campus.
  7. Brian S: I personally would love to see Phi Delt turn into a new Women's center, but these houses will always remain frat houses. There are buy-back clauses on these homes and these homes will be the worst, most powerful greek homes. It makes sense for them to go off campus which makes them exempt from many of the rules that the university has in place for current frats to retain safety of its members. As the executive vice president of IFC, I want to represent better Greek life than that.
  8. Natasha: What are the average prices that sophomores pay for housing in on campus chapter houses?
  9. Brian S: It hovers around the same amount as existing freshman housing. No one pays more, but it is usually less. We would be willing to make it more equitable in compliance with the university.
  10. Simon: A lot of on campus chapter houses have Penn card access, but a lot of chapter houses don't have that, the smaller more diverse frats specifically. Would they be included in your presentation plans for the new policy?
  11. Brian S: The IFC has the rights to all but one on campus frat. The university has complete control over our housing. Selling the Frat homes back to the university makes a safer environment for everyone involved.
  12. Kristen: I want to make note that this also affects students who aren’t a part of greek life. Low income students will also be greatly affected by this policy, and I just wanted to highlight this. I have spoken to the Black Student League about this issue, and I encourage you to have these conversations with our constituents to gain perspective as well.
  13. Brian S: I represent the IFC, so I am also talking about sororities and cultural frats, so this isn't just about poor frats. I could not live in on campus housing because I could not afford it. I would ask you guys to figure out who is being drastically, negatively affected by this policy and build protections for these groups that include low to middle income students and greek life,  and we need to help make exceptions to the rule in the university’s eyes.
  14. Max: I reached out to SRFSAB about this issue. There is a concern that this would cause a price inequality among students in greek life and those who are not. I would recommend reaching out to various constituency groups and gathering data about this because administration will be more inclined to respond.
  15. Brian G: The UA will be creating a report compiling all of this information that will be presented to the Provost's office.
  16. Brian S: I am thankful for the UA. I think that this along with a formal UA resolution will be effective. Also I am wondering why would it be bad to have a cheaper option?
  17. Max: Having a cheaper option is not the concern, but it is inequitable becuase only those in greek life will have the opportunity to take advantage of this lower price.
  18. Brian S: There are a lot of things about greek life I would change, and I know a lot of greek organizations are willing to give up things to keep sophomores in their houses.
  19. Regan: I am confused. Are you saying that this policy would only allow sophomores to have access to those select 8 frats?
  20. Brian S: No, that’s just the worst case scenario. Additionally, the on campus frats are already considered freshman dorms in an existing policy so it would make sense to include them in this policy as well.
  21. Dante: Another group of students that could be affected are those who want to live in Philadelphia at their homes sophomore year. They would not be able to commute.
  22. Michael: Like Brian (G) said we are compiling a report for this issue, which will address the concerns that potentially affect the majority of Penn students. SCUE is also hosting a town hall that will be a great opportunity to become a part of the discussion and gather diverse perspectives on this topic.
  23. Elena: Max’s point about inequality is valid. But I also think that Greek life can be very exclusive, so this could encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to participate in rush because a lower price incentive would make it more accessible.  
  24. Simon: There is more than one on campus frat that is not owned by the university, and mine is one of them. It is important to include smaller frats in this policy.
  25. Brian S: Definitely.
  26. Chase: Did administration offer any rationale behind excluding greek housing?
  27. Brian S: I found out about this on Monday, and they were very dismissive about including greek life in this new policy even after we argued. I think it is because greek life takes about 35% of the sophomore class off campus, and this is more about financial gain than mental health.
  28. Priya: It is also important to think about the implications of the new dorm NCH West, which would not be useful if this policy was not in place.
  29. Brian S: This is definitely happening, so it will be used, but we have to protect those groups who are drastically negatively affected by this. Please reach out if you have any other questions or concerns. I very rarely have a forum to talk about these things.
  30. Simon: GAPSA is hosting programming, Fall Festival, promoting physical and mental wellness. I was asked by GASPA if we as the UA would be able to partner with them on this event. It is for all students, and they want it to be as inclusive as possible.
  31. Ben: Can you elaborate on the specific events? Combating mental health is more than puppies on locust. Is this truly effective?
  32. Simon: It is a month long event focusing on smaller events that promote mental wellness and normalizing taking care of yourself at Penn. I am having another meeting that I will learn more about the specifics.
  33. Kev: Would we be running this event?
  34. Simon: That is what they're asking essentially. For partnership and publicity.
  35. Brian: If we do this, we have to talk offline about co-sponsorship.
  36. Ben: I think this is an important initiative that connects the entire student body, not only undergraduate, but graduate students as well.
  37. Priya: I am all for these types of events, but all Penn students are super busy. We need more events that tackle the root of these problems.
  38. Simon: I am aware that these events won't solve the problem, but they put these things in the spotlight and start a conversation.
  39. Elena: One of my roommates is a La Croix campus ambassador, and I will be bringing these to every GBM for a while.
  40. Jordan: On Friday Michael, Jude, Max and I met with administration about changes to the sexual misconduct policies which will make the channels simpler for students filing reports. There will be a specific person that will serve as the point person for Title Nine initiatives.
  1. Reports
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. MSA Contingency Request
  1. Natasha: The UA has a contingency fund that funds emergency events for various groups. Tonight, we have one from the MSA.
  2. Baktiar: On October 12, we will be bringing a speaker, Yasmin Mogahed, that will speak about mental health and spirituality.
  3. Natasha: We recommend funding $127 which is the same amount as undergrads that will be attending
  4. Ben: Since it is on Oct 12, do you think this is something that you could coordinate with GAPSA and their event?
  5. Baktiar : Yes of course. This is supposed to be inclusive to everyone. We are talking to a lot of universities in the surrounding area to get the greatest impact.
  6. Maria: Will Temple students be coming, and how was the 63% found?
  7. Natasha: They will be there. The MSA submitted a proportion of Penn students to non-Penn students, which is how we came up with 63%.
  8. Brian: We will now descend into pro-con debate.
  9. Michael: Pro. Sounds great!
  10. Simon: Pro. I trust the budget committee’s recommendation.
  11. Vote passes, 26/0/0.
  1. President’s Report
  1. Past Administrator Meetings
  1. Michael: Cabinet met with SRFS then the Provost’s Office last week.
  2. Elena: Would you be willing to bring up the flexibility of price consideration depending on the city?
  3. Michael: The stipend can be used in addition to other funding options.
  4. Max: Yes is the short answer.
  5. Kristen: How does the summer savings contribution waiver work?
  6. Michael: The expected summer savings will be waived for freshmen and sophomores.
  7. Max: If you have issues or recommendations with these new policies, please let me know.
  8. Kristen: What do you mean by “we addressed the outside scholarship policy?”
  9. Max: Once your outside scholarship covers your summer savings contribution, a dollar for dollar reduction from your Penn Grant occurs. Recently, they have begun reached out to all of the donors and asking them to divide the remaining funds over the entire four years to reduce the amount of reduction from the Penn Grant.
  10. Michael: SRFS are receptive to this policy, and improving the process of outside scholarships. They are a bit cautious because this is an opportunity for Penn to take the wheel on this, as our peer institutions don't do this.
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Michael: I meet with CUD this week to discuss the housing policy, and I will bring up the feedback I have received today to this meeting. Cabinet will meet with business services to discuss DHT initiatives.
  2. Arjun: Will you address the transit app in this meeting?
  3. Michael: Let's talk offline.
  1. AVEN Updates
  1. Michael: There was a survey that was sent out, and we have reached our 50% required member participation. We have a set of monthly action steps. This months step is the survey completion and appointing two liaisons, and the next month we need at least three representatives to attend a “Survivor Support Training” on October 12 from 1-4pm.
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. Past UA Steering
  1. Jordan: We had UA Steering this past Tuesday. The Provost’s office was in attendance, and we discussed the rollout of the housing policy. I would recommend coming to the meetings for a meaningful discussion from many diverse perspectives.  
  2. Simon: When is steering?
  3. Jordan: Every other Tuesday from 7:30-8:30pm in JMHH 270. UA members are always welcome as special observers, but remember that these meetings are off the record.
  1. Steering Group Meetings
  1. Jordan: I reached out individually, and am setting up meetings to find out the goals of these groups for the year. If you're interested in coming to the PennFirst meeting, reach out. Most conveniently, I attend the group’s board meeting. Reach out for more info about these meetings if you have a specific concern about groups.
  2. Maria: It is great you've taken the initiative to meet with all of these groups.
  1. UA Report
  1. New Student Representatives and SAS Representatives
  1. Brian: Congrats to our new representatives! Welcome to the UA.
  1. Committee Meetings
  1. Brian: This week is committee shopping week. More info is in the email attachment, but you can also check out the Trello.
  2. Max: I am happy that AI is first, considering it is the best and most important committee. We focus on long term projects that are very high impact. I would look at the summary report at the end of the agenda to see what my amazing committee members are working on.
  3. Brian: This is alphabetical...
  4. Maria: DHT is great! We have a great balance of short and long term projects. I would recommend looking at the Trello project idea list. It contains so many cool projects that you may be interested in.
  5. Jude: EI works on projects that surround mis- and under-represented groups on campus. If you're interested in giving minority groups a voice on campus, please join EI. The members are incredible, which you will see when you stop by while shopping.
  6. Jess: SCL works on any project affecting students and campus, which is basically everything. This is a very broad committee with great people, and we have a ton of room for collaboration with other committees.
  7. Ben: Thanks for saving the best for last. SCI works on projects revolving around sustainability and community impact which is the first time the UA is engaging in civic engagement initiatives within the west Philadelphia area. It's the best, and you should join.
  8. Brian: On Wednesday I will send out a committee preference form after shopping.
  9. Jess: Feel free to reach out to CDs if you can't make it but are still interested in the committee.
  10. Regan: So we can reach out about concerns?
  11. Michael: Definitely. Also, try to go to as many meetings as you can. You may be surprised by which committee you feel you fit in with best.
  12. Jordan: We have restructured the existing committees, ⅘ are new. There is a lot of room for growth and development of each committee this year, so keep an open mind when choosing your preferences.
  13. Mandi: Do we choose you or do you choose us?
  14. Brian: I will send out a preference form, and you'll be assigned to a committee based on your preferences.
  15. Nikhil: What are the time commitments for each?
  16. Brian: The same commitments.
  1. Welcome Week
  1. Brian: Mostly planned by Sahitya, but it will be from Oct 8-12. During this week, New Student Reps and AMs will be able to informally bond with other members of the UA.
  1. Retreat
  1. Retreat will be the weekend of Welcome Week, Oct 13-14th, and will be a great bonding opportunity. It will be headed by education, which is mandatory.
  2. Kristen: Is there a cost component?
  3. Brian: Nope, retreat is completely free.
  4. Elena: When you create the form for retreat confirmation, there should be a section to indicate student disabilities.
  5. Max: What are the limits to the UA retreat being mandatory with OSA retreat being on the same date?
  6. Brian: We will encourage members to wait until February to go on the OSA retreat. The education portion is mandatory, but the overnight portion is strongly encouraged, basically mandatory.
  7. Michael: Everyone goes unless you’re literally dying or have had plans for years.
  8. Natasha: Also, there is alloted study time.
  9. Arjun: Will there be inclusive food options?
  10. Brian: Yes!
  1. Associate Member Application
  1. Brian: The AM application closes tonight at 11:59 pm. A lot of people have applied, and we will only be accepting around 10. They will be interviewed and assigned to committees over Fall Break.
  2. Anthony: Be super inclusive and accepting of the AMs during welcome week! It is important to make them feel welcomed and every much of a full member as you all.
  3. Ben: Yes there is essentially no difference between elected members and AMs, only voting rights.
  1. Member of the Week
  1. Jude: Conveniently, the MOTW comes from the best committee this week just in time for freshmen to witness. He is an amazing person who makes my job easier. This person does a lot of research into their projects and are truly impactful. This week’s MOTW is Kev!
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs
  1. Arjun : Did you discuss specific projects?
  2. Mercedes: No, it was a very brief meeting.
  3. Michael: I will be in touch about potentially revitalizing Pennvolvelmet.
  1. Project Highlights
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. Simon: Kev and I have been working with penn wellness steering to discuss the idea of CAPS awareness week, and we want to implement it during GAPSA fall festival.
  2. Ben: You’re doing amazing.
  1. Communications