General Body Meeting

10/15/2017

9:00PM-12:00AM, Benjamin Franklin Room, Houston Hall

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Vice Provost for University Life
  2. Executive Vice President
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings
  1. Facilities and Real Estate Services
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. UA Steering
  1. Last Meeting
  2. Project List
  3. Group Meetings
  4. Goals
  1. UC Council
  2. PULSE Survey
  1. UA Report
  1. Associate Members
  2. Retreat
  3. Member of the Week
  1. This week’s member of the week is…
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  2. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs Update
  2. Airport Shuttles Committee
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Social Justice
  1. Leave of Absence Communication and Programming
  1. Project Updates
  1. Student Life
  1. Freshmen CAPS Connection
  2. ASAM Program
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Hill Dining Hall Guest Access
  2. Air Conditioning in Underrepresented On-Campus Dormitories (also known as AC for KC)
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Two-sided printing in Huntsman
  2. Second Major CIS in Wharton
  1. External Seats
  1. UC Committee on Open Expression
  1. Communications


Reports


President’s Report

  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Vice Provost for University Life
  1. This past week, UA Cabinet met with VPUL Dr. Valarie Ena Swain-Cade McCoullum to talk through issues dealing with mental health resources, implementation of the task force recommendations and resources for DACA students.  The University has been dedicating increased amounts of resources to our mental health resources here on campus.  Additionally, in order to clear up confusion among the student population, VPUL plans on posting an event registration FAQ on their website.  Please give me any feedback on this draft of the FAQ.
  1. Executive Vice President
  1. This past week, UA Cabinet met with EVP Craig Carnaroli to discuss updates about the Fresh Grocer closure, recent retail closures (such as Harvest, Capogiro, Food Court) and student spaces on campus.  Legal issues are still delaying the closure of Fresh Grocer but resources to transport students to grocery locations and communication to the West Philadelphia community are still being discussed.  The university is still deciding what to replace the recent closures with.
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings:
  1. Facilities and Real Estate Services
  1. This Thursday, October 19, UA Cabinet will be meeting with FRES.  Please let me know if you would like anything to be added to the agenda.

Vice-President’s Report

  1. UA Steering
  1. Past Meeting
  1. This past Tuesday, UA Steering discussed resources for DACA students and the Recommendations of the Task Force. Our guests were Provost Pritchett, Vice Provost Beth Winkelstein, Karu Kozuma (Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs), Rob Nelson (Executive Director for Education and Academic Planning) The takeaway was that communication of resources for DACA students need to be improved as well as communication regarding the implementations of the Task Force.
  1. Group Meetings/Spotlight
  1. This past week I met with Penn First, Class Board 2018, and Performing Arts Council (PAC) to discuss their goals for the year and projects that they are working on. There were a lot of project ideas that came out of this, many of which need UA support to accomplish. Penn First is focusing a lot on increasing resources for FGLI students as well as making FGLI aware of the current resources available. Class Board is focusing heavily on mental health initiatives such as Chalk out Stigma and Random Acts of Kindness. PAC is focusing on securing more performance and rehearsal space for PAC groups.  
  1. Project List
  1. I have made a list of projects and ideas that came out of our mental health breakout session. I am also updating another sheet with group specific projects. Both of these will be sent out and please let me know if you want to work on these projects with these groups.
  1. Goals
  1. My goal for UA Steering for the year is to bring the needs of these student groups and have the UA help accomplish them. This will be done through
  1. UC Steering
  1. University Council Steering will meet this Wednesday to set the agenda for University Council which will be held on 10/25 from 4:00-6:00 PM in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.
  1. PULSE Survey
  1. Please fill out the PULSE Survey (Perception of University Life and Student Experience) and encourage your organizations and friends to fill it out as well. The valuable information collected from these surveys helps the University improve academic and co-curricular opportunities at Penn and to evaluate some of the initiatives of the University.

UA Report

  1. Associate Members
  1. Welcome to our 14 new amazing Associate Members. They are: Ammar Bawa, Jesse Fox, Simon Chen, John Casey, Kristen Ukeomah, Jessica Andrews, Charles Curtis-Thomas, Shaina Zafar, Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, Mary Bready, Baktiar Choudhary, Grace Kim, Jennifer Richards, and Samantha Mashaal. We now have a 50 member UA!
  1. Retreat
  1. Thank you all for a great retreat! Looking forward to making more memories throughout the year.
  1. Member of the Week. This week’s member of the week is...

Treasurer’s Report

  1.  SCUE and Preceptorials
  1. This past week I met with Haley Morin of SCUE. She briefed me on the current relationship between SCUE and The Preceptorials Committee. We are exploring the idea of having the Preceptorials Committee be their own line item on the UA annual budget, similar to the way we fund MERT. At this time, the UA allocates the money needed to run preceptorials to SCUE, and then SCUE gives the money to the Preceptorials Committee.

Secretary’s Report

  1. Penn Labs Update
  1. This past week, I met with the Penn Labs directors. We discussed current projects such as Penn Course Review Updates, and Penn Mobile. We also learned more about NGSS and that it will be rolled out in the Spring 2020.
  1. Airport Shuttles Committee
  1. The Airport Shuttles Committee members are...


Discussion Papers


Social Justice

Leave of Absence Communication and Programming

Authored by Jordan Andrews

Email: communications@pennua.org

Background

Throughout NSO, I heard from several different constituents that their experiences taking leaves of absences were hindered by miscommunication with Penn. Some students cited working with Student Intervention Services (SIS) and their advising offices before leaving campus. In order to find out more about leave of absence policy and determine a way the UA might be able to help, I met with Rob Nelson (Executive Director for Education and Academic Planning) and Karu Kozuma (Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs), as Rob oversees how each school interacts with leaves of absences and Karu oversees SIS and other relevant offices that might contact students. I also met with Takahide Wantanabe, a Case Manager with SIS, to talk about his personal experiences communicating with students.

I learned that an individualized letter is sent to each student once they are approved for a leave of absence, and this letter is the only standard formal document that contains case-specific information and resources. Communication during a student’s leave is decentralized because no two cases are the same, so it can sometimes be from Academic Advising, SIS, CAPS, or other relevant departments. Upon return, students often work with SIS to coordinate a smooth transition. A Leave of Absence Student Orientation was also piloted for the first time.

  1. How can the UA help facilitate smooth lines of communication between students returning from leaves of absence and administrators?
  1. Should we recommend SIS create standard operating procedures so no one falls through the cracks?
  2. Should students be required to meet X amount of times with their academic advisor?
  3. Is SIS’s role and scope clear? How can we increase transparency?
  1. How can we ease the transition back to campus?
  1. Should we pursue conversations with CHAS to quicken housing assignments?
  2. Should we discuss avenues with SFS about Penn’s policy of only 8 semesters of financial aid?
  3. Is LOA Orientation a viable option?


Project Updates


Student Life

Freshmen CAPS Connection

Authored by: Brian Goldstein and Jason Kim

Emails: secretary@pennua.org and jasonks@sas.upenn.edu 

The project has three primary goals. To spread awareness about CAPS resources, to reduce stigma of going to CAPS, and overall reduce mental health issues on campus. We have met with the Director of CAPS, Dr. Alexander, and other CAPS officials to determine the best path to achieve these goals. We plan to have freshmen halls visit CAPS during the first two weeks of school in the 2018-2019 school year. CAPS is on board and prepared to make time available. Our next step is to reach out to College House Deans and Lulu Kaliher and encourage them to mandate that RAs/GAs to bring their kids to the info sessions.

ASAM Program

Authored by: Michelle Xu and Kevin Zhou

Emails: president@pennua.org and kevvzhou@sas.upenn.edu 

The ASAM program is the Asian American Studies program that offers a minor and “explores the historical and contemporary experiences of Asian immigrants and of persons of Asian ancestry in North America.  Last year, Dr. Grace Kao, one of ASAM’s core faculty members and former Directors was offered a position at Yale and Penn did not make a competitive counter-offer.  If Penn does not hire another full-time ASAM faculty member, current and prospective ASAM students will not be able to complete the minor. This will also inhibit Penn’s ability to offer sociology courses that focus on Asian Americans. This would not only affect students at the University of Pennsylvania, but also the students in the Tri-College Consortium that come to Penn to take classes.  Right now there is an interim director in place for the next two years but without the hire of a tenured professor who will take on the title and responsibilities of Director, the program and minor will likely end. This past week, we met with the ASAM undergraduate advisory board and Provost Pritchett to discuss this issue and found that the main hiring power lies with the departments.  


Completion Reports


Dining, Sustainability and Facilities

Hill Dining Hall Guest Access

Authored by: Will Castner

Email: wcastner@wharton.upenn.edu

Before this week, students who did not live in Hill College House could not check visitors into the building to eat in the cafeteria. This policy affected Penn students meeting with prospective students through Penn's Chat and Chew program and other formal and informal programs. I emailed Lulu Kaliher and Deona Hatley, the Freshman Residential Director and Hill House Dean to address this issue. Lulu informed me dining services has already reached out about changing this policy. She let me know the policy would be changed as soon as possible, and all Penn students would be able to check guests into Hill. I attended Hill Dining Hall on Tuesday, October 10 with a guest and the policy change was already implemented.

Air Conditioning in Underrepresented On-Campus Dormitories

Authored by: Maria Curry

Email: mariacu@wharton.upenn.edu

Currently, three on-campus dormitories (Gregory, Kings Court English House, and DuBois) still remain without any form of air conditioning in student rooms. The issue of no air-conditioning presents a two-part issue of both legitimate student health and residential equity.

The current policy for acquiring air-conditioning units in an un-air-conditioned dorm is submitting a form, then being scheduled to have an appointment with a professional physician, and then having further forms documented and processed by Penn administration. Previously this process was hard to initiate and untimely.

After reaching out to the Dean and House Coordinators of Gregory, Kings Court English and DuBois College Houses and identifying where this policy could be more effectively outlined on their websites, all three agreed and there is now an indication of said issue and a link to the Students Accommodation form present on each website.

Academic Initiatives

Two-sided printing in Huntsman

Authored by: George Yang

Email: ygeorge@upenn.edu

 

The default option for the Hunstman printers has been one-sided, not two-sided printing. After noticing that the nursing school printers use two-sided printing, I decided to contact Wharton computing to have it changed. After a month-long email exchange, Huntsman now has two-sided printing. Hopefully, this will save students’ printing budget without adding extra inconvenience, save Wharton some paper, and prevent excessive waste.

Second Major CIS in Wharton

Authored by: Sravya Alla

Email: sravya@wharton.upenn.edu

Currently, the College of Arts & Sciences has a system in which its students can add CIS as a second major, only requiring them to take a total of 12 CIS and elective courses. Wharton students, however, do not have this option and can only pursue a dual-degree in which they must satisfy all of the requirements of engineering. Many of our peer institutions classify Computer Science as an Arts & Sciences course rather than an engineering course, so I wanted to look into why there was a discrepancy in the requirements. In addition, by allowing Wharton students to easily add a technology degree, this could have enhanced the startup environment in the school. After a meeting with Wharton advisor Ufuoma Abiola, the conclusion was that this project is not possible. First of all, Wharton does not have a “major” so a “second major” logistically does not make sense. In addition, the departments at Wharton are decentralized, making it difficult to coordinate such a task. Lastly, many M&T students pursue CIS as a degree in engineering. If this program was implemented, there would be a lack of incentive to stay in M&T as it would have more requirements than adding CIS as a second major. The current options for Wharton students interested in CIS include pursuing a CIS minor or an uncoordinated dual degree.


External Seats


DPS Advisory Board Meeting

Authored by: Samantha Shea

Email: treasurer@pennua.org 

On October 4th I went to the DPS Advisory Board meeting led by senior DPS Leadership, including VP Maureen Rush. They discussed the importance of having sprinklers in dorms and off-campus houses. They also once again admitted their mistake in shutting down a sorority philanthropy event. They are holding office hours on Fridays from 1-4pm.

UC Committee on Open Expression

Authored by: Natasha Menon

Email: justice@pennua.org

On October 2nd I met with the UC Committee on Open Expression. We generally talked about the goals of the committee. I suggested that we talk to the Director of NSO to create some programming in which freshmen are recommended not to engage with any Philadelphia residents that are protesting on campus, as it would only give more attention to the protestors and frustrate the students. Karu will contact the NSO office to discuss this possibility, as well as the director of the HR orientation, which is for staff members.


Minutes


  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  1. Arjun: DSF project idea- should we replace hand towel dispensers with hand dryers?
  1. George: really against this because they’ll be less sanitary. Should still have paper as an option.
  2. Ben: Paper towels are extremely wasteful, so we should be an example as a top university.
  3. Jay: Does it matter what hair dryer?
  4. George: Dyson ones are more sanitary but air dryers blow bacteria around
  5. Natasha: Need to do a lost of research
  6. Maher: There are options with hand sanitizer dryers.
  7. Michelle: Should we look and see what medical schools yes?
  8. Samara: Can we look into compostable paper towels or recycling?
  9. Delaney: Opening door after washing has germs. Must be considerate
  10. Sravya: Can’t be completely replaced because used for spills. Limit them.
  1. Max: Retreat- Thanks Krone for this weekend. Lull in social events for a while. Will make a list of performing arts groups people are in and slack channels for the zoo and ESP.
  1. Kyle: DSF and AI are having a social event this week
  1. Sravya: Freshmen have been combatting communications problems by posting short updates in class page with link to google form.
  2. Elena: Legal services- attorney met with 3 students this week. If you know anyone, please tell them to fill out form on UA website.
  3. Maher: International student integration- will that space segregate int’l students further?
  1. Ariela: see both sides of the argument but to integrate to Penn you need to feel comfortable.
  2. Kyle: DSF if working on a student union central space. Talk to Kanishka and Katie Bonner.
  3. Ben: Get Class Board involved and do an event that integrates.
  4. Natasha: Having a space for themselves is separate from integration. Integration involves a culture change that starts on the individual level.
  5. Michelle: Spaces are for resources. ISSS worries about this but AIS doesn’t thinks so. Look into what happened with the international buddy project.
  6. Kevin Z: Publicize events or updates in a guide gets around space problem
  7. Michelle: Football team bring a panel to teach int’l students about American football.
  1. Maria: AI project- lots of people study abroad in Europe where the grading systems are different. Can affect Penn’s GPA.
  1. Maher: Average in France is 10/20 or 12/20 but in America 17/20 counts as an A. Must scale to American system.
  2. Noah: Nile and I are meeting with abroad office this week about study abroad tuition costs so we can bring this up.
  1. Krone: PSG hats-Maggie from the NEC says we have extra PSG hats publicity@penn-nec.org
  2. Jude: Livestream- volume isn’t great but we can invest in a better camera.
  1. Will: FB live is upward trending.
  2. Jordan: Let’s work on this.
  1. George: SHAB meeting- I met with SHAB two weeks ago. Penn declared itself a tobacco-free campus but there’s lots of tobacco still. SHS wants to get rid of smoking urns, but have to prove its effective.
  1. Natasha: Get bigger signs for buildings
  2. Krone: We were able to declare smoke-free because thirty feet from any building is everywhere on campus. SHS offers resources.
  3. Jay: Penn is a public campus
  4. Sam: Reach out to Dr. Frank Lione
  1. Kyle: Will meet with facilities admins and first-year housing at the same time so tell me if you have anything to bring up.

  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. Admin Meetings
  1. Michele: Talked to Val Cade about mental health, DACA, and Event FAQs. Met with Craig Carnaroli and discussed retail, Fro Gro, and students spaces on campus.
  1. Upcoming Admin Meetings
  1. Michelle: Meeting with FRES to talk about retail and AC.
  2. Maria: Can you talk about getting outlets outside for popular spaces.
  3. Elena: What is administration doing about response to FAQs?
  4. Michelle: Polling students, being more transparent?
  5. Kevin: Why changes are happening and what the goal is are not in this FAQ
  6. Maher: More people need to understand and no one will check website
  7. Jay: So hard to put in words on paper so help admins find the language
  8. George: Commend admins for putting this in writing
  9. Michelle: It’s not too long because students
  1. Vice-President’s Report
  1. UA Steering
  1. Jay: Met to discuss task force recommendations and DACA. Key takeaway was must improve communication. Will be meeting with steering groups to see how we can best serve them. Working with Career Services to come speak to FGLI students, food pantry, alternative events. Will send out 28 projects taken from steering.
  2. Krone: Admins and student groups are good contact for projects because they know a lot about their pertinent issues.
  1. UC Council
  1. Jay: UC Council is October 25 4-6PM in Bodek Lounge and UA members can go. People need to fill out PULSE survey.
  2. Michelle: Main way admins know about problems.
  3. Jay: Crucial because Provost Pritchett is new to Penn and this will help shape initiatives.
  1. UA Report
  1. Associate Members
  1. Krone: Yay to all new AMs. We now have a 50-member body.
  1. Retreat
  1. If you weren’t at education, come to makeup Sunday at 6PM in UA Office.
  1. Member of the Week
  1. George
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Sam: Met with SCUE to talk about finances. We talked about preceptorials and whether they should be funded under SCUE or separate line item
  2. George: What’s the difference between funding by SCUE or new line item?
  3. Sam: If preceptorials was no longer under SCUE, Committee of students would have to come meet with budget
  4. Simon (AM): What are line items? Budget?
  5. Sam: Each time a group wants money
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Penn Labs Update
  1. Krone: Brian met with Penn Labs directors to talk about NGSS, Penn Course Review, etc.
  1. Airport Shuttles Committee
  1. Jude, Sravya, and Will
  2. Maria: We should pilot Christmas break coming back to the airport
  3. Michelle: Problem is that times were staggered and terminals are different
  4. Krone: We charge because we need people to show up.
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Social Justice
  1. Leave of Absence Communication and Programming
  1. Jordan:  Follow up on a project update already given.  Want to discuss communication involved with taking a leave of absence.  There has been work that the UA has partnered up with Penn Wellness on before so also seeing where we are on that.  I met with Rob and Karu and it was really informational.  Gave me updates.  They’re more in favor for more programing, similar to the pilot done this year on the ROA orientation.  They didnt know that much about it so maybe the UA can help bridge that gap for the admins. We also talked about the different processes involved with LOA because the reasons for leaving can be different so that’s why there is no standardized process.  When you leave, you get a personalized letter and that is the only individual thing that the university provides.  Who you get your information from is who you decided to keep in contact with and who decides to reach out to you because they don’t have to.  SIS is but there is only 4 people in that office.  They don’t struggle with capacity but that just means frequent communication doesn’t happen.  Because LOA can be done through the 4 schools so academic advisors are a main point but some students aren’t close to them and some don’t stay in touch.   I think there are a lot of ways that the UA can smooth lines of communication and support programming.  One problem I heard is that I heard you are expected to have housing and a dining plan but they’re not given priority.  The financial aid policy is also a little confusing and Rob and Karu said they would look into it but every case is really individualized.  I think there can be a middle ground.
  2. Maria: Great project.  How many people are affected by this yearly?  
  3. Jordan:  I actually don’t know those numbers and don’t know if they exist.  I do think it’s a larger population than one would expect because there are so many reasons to leave.   One thing would be a good resource for that is the all school survey that Kat sent out so we can get good data there.
  4. Natasha:  Does everything go through SIS even if it’s an internship?  And if so, can there be an advisor in SIS that can reach out to people.
  5. Jordan:  It really depends on the circumstance.  Most of the times SIS is involved eventually but not all of the time.  For example, if I want to take a semester off to campaign I wouldn’t need to use SIS when I leave but maybe when I go back to smooth out my schedule.  SIS has an “invisible net.”  Since there is only 4 of them and 2 of them are case managers it might be difficult.  
  6. Natasha: Maybe if there is an opt-in system that could help.  Also I really support the LOA orientation.
  7. Arjun: I think there is only a certain set of departments that relate to the situations and reasons for why students leave so maybe you can reach out to them?
  8. Jordan:  Where would we direct people?  We would not necessarily want to prescribe reasons to students.  Do you think we should meet with every department?  How would they identify with those students?
  9. Arjun:  I would say go through students.
  10. Sam: Last year, Kat and I worked on the LOA policy website like the bereavement policy website.  Reach out to Rob and see what is going on with that.  They did a really good job on the bereavement policy website.  We wanted to make it like a FAQ.
  1. Project Updates
  1. Student Life
  1. Freshmen CAPS Connection
  1. Jason: Met with Dr. Alexander to discuss how to reduce mental health stigma. Reached out to College House deans about getting RA/GA to implement trainings for CAPS.
  2. Arjun: Is freshmen visiting CAPS mandatory
  3. Jason: Yes
  4. Maher: How would making CAPS mandatory affect people who need to go to CAPS
    Jason: Could get assemblies of people to sit down for 15 minutes with one CAPS advisor.
  5. Will: What about a one-on-one CAPS contact
  6. Jason: CAPS shot that down because of privacy and each person may need a different sort of advisor
  7. Samara: Having academic advisors tell people about the resources. Get tours to go to CAPS
  8. Jason: Can going through RA/GAs work for getting people to CAPS?
  9. Natasha: Yes because hall dynamics don’t mean as much in the beginning of the year
  10. Kyle: Personalized outreach was super effective
  11. Kevin Z: Need to integrate CAPS into daily life
  12. Jason: Can share that there are so many resources besides CAPS
  13. Elena: We should mandate CAPS for freshmen
  14. Jess: Often students want support on any level not just professionals
  15. Jennifer: We should put free printing in CAPS
  16. Jason: Does that minimize confidentiality?
  17. Anthony: What if we gave students housing points for attending CAPS events?
  1. ASAM Program
  1. Kevin Z: Michelle and UA passed resolution last year, but we’re bringing this back because of lack of results.
  2. Michelle: Passed resolution last year for space and new Director
  3. Anthony: Why are they at a standstill?
  4. Michelle: Not a priority for sociology department
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Dining, Sustainability and Facilities
  1. Hill Dining Hall Guest Access
  1. Will: Penn students who didn’t live at Hill couldn’t sign guests into Hill’s dining hall. Affected Kite n Key Chat n Chew and average students. They’re already doing something about this.
  1. Air Conditioning in Underrepresented On-Campus Dormitories (also known as AC for KC)
  1. Maria: Two-part issue of AC is health and residential equity. Now college houses are more up front about identifying the long process for getting an air-conditioned dorm.
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Two-sided printing in Huntsman
  1. George: Default in Wharton changed to two-sided
  1. Second Major CIS in Wharton
  1. Sravya: For college students, they can declare CIS as a second major by taking 12 courses whereas Wharton students have to pursue a dual degree. Not possible for Wharton because there are no majors not concentrations. M&T students have CIS as a major so fewer people would want M&T
  2. Max: Let’s talk after the meeting
  1. External Seats
  1. DPS Advisory Board
  1. Sam: UA seat is only student seat on DP advisory board. Senior DPS leadership holds office hours every Friday
  2. Elena: If anyone wants someone there with them when they meet with Admins, I’d go with you
  1. UC Committee on Open Expression
  1. Natasha: We discussed free speech and guidelines in place. Cannot do anything about protesters on College Green because it’s public land, but we need to make sure people know not to engage