General Body Meeting

09/09/18

12:00PM Arch Room 108

  1. Roll Call
  2. Open Forum
  3. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. VPUL Administrative Appointments
  2. DPS Safe Living Presentation
  3. UA as a 2018-2019 AVEN Group
  4. Day of Play 2018
  5. Meeting with The Daily Pennsylvanian Leadership
  6. Commencement Speaker Advisory Survey
  7.  Joint Council of Undergraduate Deans/Undergraduate Working Group Meeting
  8. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. University Council
  2. Upcoming UA Steering
  1. UA Report
  1. NSO Events
  1. PSG Carnival
  2. Activities Fair
  3. PSG Info Session
  4. CAPS Ice Cream Social
  5. Path to PSG
  1. External Seats
  2. Contact Sheet
  3. Administrator Contact Platform
  4. Master Project List (Trello)
  5. Retreat
  6. Transfer Student Info Session
  7. Speaker Initiatives
  1. Discussion Times
  2. UA Table Series
  3. Welcome Week
  4. Lunch in UA Office
  1. Membership Update
  2. The MOW is…
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Election of the Budget and Finance Committee 2018-2019
  2. Funding Steering Assembly Membership Confirmation
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Attendance Policy
  1. Executive
  1. Resolution Concerning UA Endorsement of Removing Endowment Funds from the Coal and Tar Sands Industries
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. New Huntsman Hall Hours
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. GPA Information Project
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. Midterm Policies
  1. Project Updates
  1. Dining, Housing, and Transit
  1. Electric Scooters on Campus
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Unofficial Transcript Download
  1. External Seats
  1. Student Financial Services Advisory Board
  1. Communications


Reports


President’s Report

  1. VPUL Administrative Appointments
  1. Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Benoit Dubé
  1. Over the summer, Dr. Benoit Dubé was appointed to serve as the Chief Wellness Officer of the University. He will be the head of a reorganized division within VPUL that oversees holistic wellness experiences on campus. We will organize a UA Cabinet meeting with Dr. Dubé as he continues his transition to his new role.
  1. Interim Senior Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Sharon Smith
  1. Sharon Smith, longtime director of Student Intervention Services (SIS), has been appointed as Senior Associate Vice Provost for University Life. Sharon will be working closely with student groups and student affairs leadership in a role that is different from previous Senior Associate VP for Student Affairs, Hikaru Kozuma, but similarly integrated within student life.
  1. DPS Safe Living Presentation
  1. On August 23, Jordan and I participated in the Division of Public Safety Safe Living Presentation in Irvine Auditorium. We discussed what the UA is, what we do, how to plug into resources like Penn Mobile, and what the UA and OSA are doing to address hazing on campus. We also walked through how to use the “Text a Tip” feature of the Penn Guardian app.
  1. UA as a 2018-2019 AVEN Group
  1. The UA will be participating again as a group in the Anti-Violence Engagement Network (AVEN). This, in the past, has required the UA to have discussions about violence prevention, attend group-wide trainings, and add an Anti-Violence Statement to our Bylaws (Bylaw 19). This year, the programming will be more consistent throughout the year. Click for more information: https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/pvp/recognizedgroups.php.
  2. Our immediate steps are to appoint 1-2 liaisons and have at least 50% of our membership complete this survey. I will email out the link after this GBM, please complete it immediately. The link is: https://upenn.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8jkyMHDRsdxsOIR.
  1. Day of Play 2018
  1. On August 28, VPUL, the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics, Penn Recreation, the Office of Student Affairs, the UA, and GAPSA engaged in the first annual Day of Play. This is part of a broader initiative surrounding “Thriving at Penn,” a push for students to exceed baseline wellness in as many facets of life as possible. I will be participating in a follow-up meeting with the engagement committee on Monday, September 10.
  1. Meeting with The Daily Pennsylvanian Leadership
  1. On August 31, Jordan, Sravya and I met with David Akst and Rebecca Tan, who are President and Executive Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian, respectively. We discussed our mutual desire for a strong UA-DP relationship going forward, and addressed our organization's’ goals for this year.
  1. Commencement Speaker Advisory Survey
  1. On August 27, I emailed the Class of 2019 a survey to source ideas for the 2019 Commencement Speaker. The survey garnered 234 unique responses. Top requested individuals were Elon Musk, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Elizabeth Banks. Jordan and I sit on the Speaker Advisory Group, which is a group of students including Class Board and SCUE leadership that serves to provide input on Speakers to the Office of the University Secretary, Leslie Kruhly.
  1. Joint Council of Undergraduate Deans/Undergraduate Working Group Meeting
  1. On August 14, I participated in the joint meeting of the Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD) and the Undergraduate Working Group (UGWG). We discussed VPUL organization changes, NGSS, Thriving at Penn, and New Student Orientation.
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. I am in the process of scheduling meetings between the UA Cabinet and major administrative groups. In some meetings, where UA members have relevant projects, we can also invite an additional member to these meetings to directly share their ideas to administrators. I will have further details on our meetings soon.

Vice-President’s Report

  1. University Council
  1. Focus Issues for the 2018-2019 year.
  1. Upcoming UA Steering
  1. September 11, 2018 in JMHH 270 from 7:30-8:30pm with guests from VPUL.

UA Report

  1. NSO Events
  1. PSG Carnival
  1. The NEC hosted the PSG carnival on August 26th at 11:00 PM in Houston Hall. Thank you to those of you who came and spread the word about UA.
  1. Activities Fair
  1. SAC hosted the annual Activities Fair on August 30th. Thank you to everyone who worked at our booth.
  1. PSG Info Session
  1. The NEC hosted the annual PSG info session in Huntsman Hall. Thank you to everyone who came to support the UA.
  1. CAPS Ice Cream Social
  1. The UA hosted our annual Ice Cream Social in coordination with CAPS. Speaking with CAPS after the event, they were impressed by the number of students they were able to speak with and would like to continue to the event in the future.
  1. Path to PSG
  1. The NEC hosted an info session for students interested in running for student government. It was an informal way to meet the candidates.
  1. External Seats
  1. For those of you who were appointed external seats, you must reach out to the contact I sent in the email immediately. If you feel that the contact is wrong or they have not yet responded please email me, and I will determine the problem.
  1. Contact Information
  1. Sahitya has created a great contact sheet for all of the UA. I have hesitated creating another vCard because we should at this point have everyone’s information. I will be making a vCard when the Freshmen are elected, one that has freshmen contacts and one with all our contacts.
  1. Administrator Contact Search
  1. Sahitya created a comprehensive sheet to make finding administrator contact emails simple and efficient. You can search keywords or the name of the administrator and find their position and contact information. If you know good administrators to add to the sheet, please do so.
  1. Master Project List (Trello)
  1. This year the UA will be using Trello as our Master Project List. Trello is a site that organizes all project work into the five different committees. This will be updated each week by you and your Committee Director. If you have any questions on how to use Trello, please reach out to your Committee Director or Brian.
  2. A weekly summary report of all the current projects will be produced and added to the agenda
  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. 12:00 PM - 12:00 PM
  3. Vagelos 2000 and then Chamonix Mansion
  1. Transfer Student Info Session
  1. The UA will be hosting a Transfer Student Info Session to encourage transfers to run for the UA.
  1. Wednesday, September 12th
  2. 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  3. Harnwell Rooftop Lounge
  1. Speaker Initiatives
  1. Discussion Series
  1. Every week before GBM, I will be hosting a Discussion Series at 8:30 PM to talk about various topics from UA stuff to pressing issues on campus. Come by to talk in a more informal setting.
  1. UA Table Series
  1. This is really exciting! Each committee will have the opportunity to run the UA booth this semester. This booth will be on Locust for one day every other week and will ask for suggestions for the school and explain to the student body what we do. The committee that does it the best will be my favorite.
  1. Welcome Week
  1. The UA will be continung the tradition of Welcome Week this year for the newly elected representatives. Due to Fall Break and the late Election Schedule, we will be hosting Welcome Week from October 8th to October 12th. Feel free to tag up and plan events for the new representatives. We will send out an updated spreadsheet for this soon.
  1. Lunch in UA Office
  1. Everyday from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM I will be in the UA Office. Feel free to come by and have lunch with me or just hang out. This year I want the UA Office to be a more open place for us to hang out, that is why we have redesigned it to make a more open layout and I will be in there more frequently.
  1. Membership Updates
  1. Member Resignation
  1. Over the Summer, Samara Wyant resigned in an effort to focus on different things this year. She was very gracious and wanted to let you all know that if you have any questions with projects she would be happy to assist.
  1. Associate Member Appointments
  1. This past summer I appointed 9 amazing Associate Members. They are: Kevin Myers, Ariela Stein, Will Castner, Armaun Rouhi, Santosh Nori, Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, John Casey, Simon Chen and George Yang.
  1. The Member of the Week is…

Treasurer’s Report

  1. Election of Budget and Finance Committee 2018-2019
  1. This committee is comprised of the treasurer and two additional UA members, which we will elect tonight. Responsibilities include overseeing the funds of the UA, preparing preparing  the annual budget, reviewing all contingency request, helping run the FSA, and periodically auditing the records of the UA and all of its constituent part (Constitution Article IX Section 34).
  1.  Funding Steering Assembly Membership Confirmation
  1. The Funding Steering Assembly (FSA) is responsible for facilitating constructive communication between all student-run funding sources on campus and for coordinating a cohesive timeline for student group funding request timelines. Membership is determined by the treasurer with the advice and the consent of the UA. This year’s FSA will tentatively comprise of representatives of the following student organizations:  
  1. UA Budget Committee
  2. Student Activities Council (SAC)
  3. Social Planning and Events Committee (SPEC)
  4. United Minorities Council (UMC)
  5. Asian Pacific Student Coalition (APSC)
  6. UMOJA
  7. Latinx Coalition
  8. Tangible Change (T-Change)
  9. Faith Fund
  10. Penn Traditions Alumni Engagement Fund (PTAEF)
  11. POCO Synergy
  12. Penn Association for Gender Equity (PAGE)
  13. Penn Wellness
  14. Assembly of International Students

Secretary’s Report

  1. Attendance Policy
  1. Members elected in Spring 2018: by Bylaw 5, you cannot miss more than 35% of GBMs and 25% of committee meetings per semester.
  1. There are 12 GBMs this semester, so you cannot miss more than 4.
  2. There are 12 committee meetings this semester, so you cannot miss more than 3.
  3. You will be notified when you are within one meeting of being removed.
  1. Associate Members appointed in Summer 2018
  1. Must attend 1 GBM per semester.
  2. There are 12 committee meetings this semester, you cannot miss more than 3.
  1. Absences
  1. Missing 1 GBM is one absence.
  2. Arriving late/ leaving early to a GBM or committee meeting is half an absence.
  3. Providing 24-hour notice with project update to Committee Director is half an absence for committee meetings.

Executive


Resolution Concerning UA Endorsement of Removing Endowment Funds from the Coal and Tar Sands Industries

Authored by: Ben May

Seeing that the University of Pennsylvania is a leader in the academic realm, any policy action pursued by the university will encourage fellow institutions of higher learning to follow suite. With billions of dollars in its endowment and a powerful public voice, it is important that Penn supports efforts that are in the best interest of the world and humanity. Currently, Penn has a percentage of its endowment invested in the coal and tar sand industries, two of the most polluting and least competitive markets in the world. It is important that Penn acknowledges this fact and leads the way towards supporting industries that will accrue a higher return on investment while also having a positive societal impact.

Transferring funds away from coal and tar sands companies is a necessary and overdue step for Penn to take. Coal mining specifically incurs huge damages on the health of humans and endangers all who are within a certain distance from coal mines. Additionally, coal production and necessity has been declining rapidly over the past few years due to natural gas expansion, a trend that is not expected to change. Coal infrastructure is aging and, when coal-fired power plants are taken out of commission, they are not replaced by new coal plants instead being replaced with natural gas plants or renewable energy ventures. Tar sands are also extremely negative both from an investment-based perspective and social perspective. Tar sands extraction is extremely energy intensive and the extraction process emits far more greenhouse gases than even oil production. With these facts evident, the Undergraduate Assembly endorses the effort to end Penn’s fiscal support for the top 100 companies involved in coal and top 20 companies involved in tar sand.

The Undergraduate Assembly hereby resolves to:

  1. Urge​ the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees to commit to remove its endowment from investments in the top 100 companies involved in coal extraction and top 20 companies involved in tar sand extraction.


Discussion Papers


Academic Initiatives

New Huntsman Hall Hours

Authored by: Maria Curry, Max Grove, and Elena Hoffman

 

Background: Recently, Huntsman Hall (JMHH) modified its 24-hour policy to being open 7am-2am. The goal of this discussion paper is to analyze this change from the perspectives of student life (mental wellness), academic, and campus resources. The roll-out and student input of the decision has also come under criticism among students.

 

The following links have been shared in the Official UA Slack to offer insight on this topic:

 

Cons to New Closing Times

 

Pros of New Closing Times

 

Ideas Moving Forward:

Discussion Questions:

Student and Campus  Life

GPA Information Project

Authored by: Maher Abdel Samad

Background: Many students at Penn struggle a lot with comparing themselves to others. From personal experience, I’ve noticed a lot of the students I know believe that they have bad grades and aren’t doing well. This is especially common in harder majors like Engineering or natural sciences where professors are often more reluctant to hand out many As. There was an article written by the DP in 2015: “Penn has not recently examined data on school-specific average GPA between its four undergraduate student bodies — in fact, the most recently reported statistics are from 2001. The data from 13 years ago confirm what some students have long suspected: average GPAs differ by school.” These numbers are used commonly by some advisors/students, passed by word of mouth, to indicate a gauge of adequate (average) performance at Penn. However, after speaking with some Systems Engineering faculty members, I gather that in the last 17 years grading scales have changed and that these numbers cannot be doubted.

 

Questions:

  1. Should we lobby the administration to run a more recent data collection survey that can be shared  with advisors/departments so that students can be given more accurate information?

Equity and Inclusion

Discussion Paper on Midterm Policies

Authored by: Kevin Zhou

 

Background: University’s current policy on midterms is the following: “Instructors [must] be prepared to offer one or more make-up examinations to accommodate any student who is enrolled in a course that meets at the time of the common examination.” But no other rules exist that take into consideration of any special or abnormal circumstances a student may face, such as sickness, religious reasons, emergencies, etc. There is also no maximum number of midterms a student should take in 24 hours.

The rules on final exams, on the other hand, are much more lenient. The PennBook states that “instructors in all courses must be willing to offer a make-up examination to all students who are excused from the final examination” (most instructors will offer make-up exams in the official make-up exam time slot), including reasons such as “illness, a death in the family, for religious observance or some other unusual event”; and that “no student may be required to take more than two final examinations on any calendar day”.

 

Questions:

  1. In 2016-2017, there was a project in the annual report authored by Calvary Rogers, Taylor Becker, and William Kwok regarding “preventing students from taking 3 midterms within 24 hours”. Is anyone aware of follow-up from that?
  2. Also, given that midterms are just as important to one’s overall grade as final exams, would it be reasonable to expand the leniency of make-up midterms policies to better accommodate students?
  1. What are potential drawbacks?

Project Updates


Dining, Housing and Transit

Electric Scooters on Campus

Authored by: Maria Curry

In the past year, electronic scooters have increased in popularity and ease of use. Specifically on college campuses, these scooters provide low-cost and high-efficiency methods of transportation for students when getting to different buildings in a short period of time. However as discussed in the DP article published this time last year entitled "Students say the rules on where they can ride their scooters and skateboards on campus aren't clear" the policy on scooters is just that.

I have spoken over the phone and over email with representatives from the e-Scooter company SPIN about the possibility of presenting a slide deck and even having a live demo on campus sometime in the future for administration and students to understand the benefits of electric scooters on school campuses. Furthermore, I have asked the 2018 Facilities and Parking Committee to list this as a topic agenda for our upcoming meeting as it falls under their purview.


Completion Reports


Academic Initiatives

Unofficial Transcript Download

Authored by: Max Grove

 

Max worked with Rob Nelson to determine if the University has the ability to implement unofficial transcript downloading on Penn InTouch for students. Currently, the only way for students to save their unofficial transcript is by printing and re-scanning the entire page or screenshotting the page (and often having to paste together a compilation of images). Rob reached out to Margaret Kip, the University Registrar, who added a semester-by-semester grade downloading feature, and informed us that a full downloadable unofficial transcript will be included with NGSS. 


External Seats


Student Financial Services Advisory Board

Authored by: Max Grove

 

SFS hired two counselors to specifically serve Highly Aided students. SFS is starting summer support initiatives for Highly Aided students: laptops, summer savings expectations, and internship opportunities. They are looking for feedback on how best to communicate this initiative. We implemented a new program called Financial Avenue to educate students on financial literacy. This program will also deliver annual debt summary letters to students. SRFS is also undergoing a rapid transformation of their pre-PennKey website and they plan to complete it by next academic year.


Minutes


  1. Roll Call
  1. John Casey (.5)
  2. George Yang (.5)
  1. Open Forum
  1. Nick: Is there an update on the UA videographer?
  2. Jordan: At the end of last year, we had some leads. I am not sure at this point, though.
  3. Sravya: I haven't contacted one yet, but I plan to do that soon.
  4. Brian: One person said he was interested, but he never followed up. Hopefully he will contact us soon to record some cool UA content.
  5. Ammar: What is happening with the new policies regarding club sports?
  6. Michael: There have been problems with funding and at this time they're not accepting any applications. You could apply for funding through OSA/ SAC.
  7. Ammar: Penn Bar lifting reached out because they are unable to make themselves a group.
  8. Michael: Yes the university has run out of time for clubs to use various facilities because of the blanket policy and a shortage of space, time, and funding.
  9. Sravya: If you want DP coverage for a project, reach out to me.
  1. Reports
  1. President’s Report
  1. VPUL Administrative Appointments
  1. Michael: A lot of change has happened. Two important to note are the Chief Wellness Officer and SAVP (student affairs) as a short term appointment
  2. Maria: What does Chief wellness do and how much does he make?
  3. Michael: He oversees all of the wellness departments on campus. You can check VPUL site.
  4. Arjun: How will he balance all of the responsibility
  5. Michael: He essentially keeps everything streamlines. It is an initiative to keep Penn more centralized.
  1. DPS Safe Living Presentation
  1. Michael: August 23, Jordan and i participated in the DPS presentation. We talked about the UA and even got 100 new likes on the FB page.
  1. UA as a 2018-2019 AVEN Group
  1. Michael: Last year, we were an AVEN group. This year it will be restructured, and we have added an anti-violence bylaw to our constitution. I will email a link to the body to begin our process to become an AVEN group this year. We also need 1-2 liason to PVP for this initiative.
  1. Day of Play 2018
  1. Michael: First day of classes, we had a table as a part of the thriving at penn campaign. We gave away a lot of wellness guides.
  1. Meeting with The Daily Pennsylvanian Leadership
  1. Michael: Sravya, Jordan, and I spoke to Reps from the DP and we are working to strengthen our relationship with them.
  1. Commencement Speaker Advisory Survey
  1. Michael: I sent out a commencement speaker survey to the senior class. I have gotten about 234 responses and I will send this to the correct administrators in order to give a bit of insight into who we would like to hear speak.
  1.  Joint Council of Undergraduate Deans/Undergraduate Working Group Meeting
  1. Michael: Meeting that happens at the beginning of the year where we speak about NSO, NGSS, and new appointments. The university has posted a new system called the University Catalog that helps find classes
  2. Maher: Is it updated yearly?
  3. Michael: Yes
  1. Upcoming Administrator Meetings
  1. Michael: If you have a project relating to any of the admins, we will reach out to you. We are doing our best to make sure as many people are involved.
  1. Vice President’s Report
  1. University Council
  1. Jordan: I met with UC, and we discussed some focus issues for the year: penn performing arts focused on arts issues, space and funding,
  2. Brian: What is UC?
  3. Jordan: An advisory forum with Pres. and Provost. It is the highest deliberative body. Undergrads, Grads, Professional staff, etc.
  1. Upcoming UA Steering
  1. Jordan: This tuesday is the first Steering meeting. Sharon Smith and Dr. Val Cade will be there. We will also be recognising new groups so come out.
  1. UA Report
  1. NSO Events
  1. PSG Carnival
  2. Activities Fair
  3. PSG Info Session
  4. CAPS Ice Cream Social
  5. Path to PSG
  1. Brian: Thank you for all of those who attended. The main purpose was to engage freshmen in what we do.
  1. External Seats
  1. Brian: These have been appointed, if you have questions please let me know. Reach out to the contact by today.
  2. Arjun: Sometimes they don't actually exist
  3. Brian: I looked through them so they should.
  4. Michael: Feel free to start an advisory board through the UA if you feel passionate about it.
  1. Contact Sheet
  1. Brian: This past summer, Sahitya made an amazing contact sheet. I will be making two V-Cards as to not have double.
  2. Ben: When are they elected?
  3. Brian: Election results are on the 26th.
  1. Administrator Contact Platform
  1. Brian: We will be sending out a contact sheet tonight. You can add admins and key words so that the search bar works and it will be more helpful.
  1. Master Project List (Trello)
  1. Brian: Trello is a great project management tool. Please sign up for it. It will function as a master project list. Add your projects to your board, and update it weekly.
  2. Krone: There is a mobile app and a desktop app. It also integrates with slack, which we are still trying to figure out.
  3. Brian: At the end of each agenda, we will have each project attached to keep everyone updated.
  1. Retreat
  1. Brian: It is fully planned. October 13-14. From 12pm to 12pm. It will be fun and it should be a great time to bond as a body.
  2. Ben: Have you already put in the deposit?
  3. Brian: Yes
  4. Arjun: Will we have food that will accommodate dietary restrictions?
  5. Brian: Yes
  1. Transfer Student Info Session
  1. Brian: Wed. Sept. 12, we will have an info session to get more transfers on the UA. If you can, go and talk about experiences on the UA.
  1. Speaker Initiatives
  1. Discussion Times
  1. Brian: 30 minutes before each meeting, i want to host a small discussion to talk about current events on campus.
  1. UA Table Series
  1. Brian: Each committee will be responsible for the table one day once a week to sit on locust and advertise the UA
  1. Welcome Week
  1. Brian: We are welcoming the freshmen the week of Oct. 8- Oct. 12. Sign up for events to welcome the freshmen.
  2. Sahitya: Lets try to have alternative options this year as well.
  3. Maher: Bump on my Mediterranean Monday event. Let me know a couple of day before.
  4. Natasha: UA members should be able to go
  5. Sahitya: Well I wanted everyone to get a chance to deeply connect with the members.
  1. Lunch in UA Office
  1. Brian: This year the UA office will be open. The layout is more open and welcoming.
  2. Arjun: Are you going to add a table?
  3. Brian: Yes maybe.
  4. Priya: Where is the UA office?
  5. Brian: It is in the OSA office.
  1. Membership Update
  1. Brian: Samara reached out and decided to resign. She wanted to let you guys know to reach out with questions or for advice.
  2. Brian: Associate members are (insert names) . We are all great
  1. The MOW is Simon Miller!
  1. Treasurer’s Report
  1. Election of the Budget and Finance Committee 2018-2019
  1. Natasha: Two members will be elected. They will be responsible for all financial happenings of the UA.
  2. Brian: Nominations?
  3. Arjun: Elena
  4. Jess: Simon
  5. Elena: Arjun
  6. Ben: Kevin
  7. Max: Nick
  8. Michael: Priya
  9. Ben: Ammar
  10. Maher: Kayla
  11. Brian: Nominations are closed. Do you accept?
  12. Priya, Ammar, Kaya decline the nomination
  13. Elena, Simon, Arjun, Kev, and Nick give speeches in order of nomination
  14. Brian: We can have a 1 minute recess to think of questions
  15. Brian: We will move into Q&A
  16. Daniel: What approach would you take to liase with entities that we fund?
  17. Elena: I would continue the meetings with these entities. I would even want to add another meeting in order to avoid problems with understanding money at the budget meetings.
  18. Simon:I have similar beliefs. I think the earlier we start, the better. We need to understand how we can best serve them.
  19. Arjun: I agree having another set of meetings earlier in the fall. We should discuss what each group is actually going to do with the money and be responsible with it. In general, we should have more social events and work more closely with them; foster relationships.
  20. Nick: We should set clear expectations so that no misunderstandings can occur. We need to all be on the same page.
  21. Kev: Last budget went pretty smoothly. We need to have the best allocation possible for the groups we are serving. We need to make sure we have the correct amount of representation. We should be informed and remember to stay informed.
  22. Elena: Something else would be useful is to make the two members liaisons to the groups that we fund.
  23. George: There was a lot of redundancy in the meeting last year. What ideas do you have to reduce the amount of redundancy and foster a better discussion?
  24. Simon: Transparency and expectations are crucial at the meeting. Once we discuss something, we should not have to discuss it again.
  25. Arjun: Not everything was perfect, we could have been more communicative last year with both the UA and the other groups. I would love to improve this.
  26. Nick: I think a bit of redundancy is needed. It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  27. Kev: Redundancy is going to happen, but the budget committee, the body, and the groups should be informed. There should be a written description on the agenda to define the meanings of line items to avoid redundancy.
  28. Elena: There will have to be redundancy. To make the meetings shorter we should be more concise and we should review minutes from previous meeting to see questions that were already asked to make a sort of FAQ.
  29. Simon: In the Treasurer’s report there should be a short blurb about what is happening in the budget committee.
  30. Max: From Maher, what will you do to communicate and educate new reps in out constituents?
  31. Arjun: Communicating the importance as soon as possible is important. Developing their understanding could happen by speaking to the previous chairs of their positions as it is a part of the role.
  32. Nick: We have to trust that they know what's best for their group based on them being elected to the role. We should explain the role and keep lines of communication open.
  33. Kev: Have a conversation before the formal process begins. Form a personal bond as well as a professional one so they feel comfortable reaching out with questions and advice.
  34. Elena: Something I noticed is that we need to have a more friendly approach between the UA and these other groups. They should feel like they are friends and not foes.
  35. Simon: Having these early meetings would help the new members significantly. It is important to have these meetings to make sure they understand to the best of their abilities. Also sending them previous budgets could help a lot.
  36. Arjun: I agree. I think the presidents should also attend these meetings.
  37. Jess: If a situation happens like Class Board last year, how will you handle it?
  38. Nick: I would not compromise on things you should not compromise on. Stick to your expectations while maintaining a friendly and professional relationship.
  39. Kev: Last year, with a few extra steps this could have been avoided. Someone will have a relationship with these groups, and can connect to them on a personal level.
  40. Elena: Class Board is not a dictatorship. These are elected positions and should have a precedent. It would be unfair to the student body as a whole to not at least have a conversation about compromise.
  41. Simon: Early communication is key. One person should represent all of the class boards. They should meet with us and make sure that everyone is on the same page about their budget. It is important to respect everyone’s time and energy in this process.
  42. Arjun: It is important to be friendly. In the midst of all of the emails and messages, we have to make time to sit in person and have these conversations. Communication is key.
  43. Nick: We have to have a two way respect.
  44. Ben: What do you think are the most essential traits for budget committee members?
  45. Kev: We should be ready whenever we are needed, it is our job. We should have negotiation skills and make sure that we are doing our best to provide for the student body.
  46. Elena: Friendliness and warmth are important for collaboration, but you must be strict when it matters. We have to be responsible with our meetings, and all of the entities’ needs.
  47. Simon: We are all trying to make the best budget possible. You have to be genuine and passionate in order to motivate others to be passionate. You must be strong-willed and open, while also being friendly.
  48. Arjun: Logic is one of the most important things. You must be able follow rules even if it is difficult. You can be logical and communicative in a way that also fosters friendship.
  49. Nick: Be agreeable, but don't be afraid to be disagreeable. You have to make tough decisions, be organized, thorough, and logical.  
  50. Kev: Be sure to reevaluate what you’re doing. It is very procedural, so you must be ready.
  51. Deliberations
  1. New Budget committee: Nick and Kev
  1. Funding Steering Assembly Membership Confirmation
  1. Natasha: It essentially provides information about funding for different groups on campus.
  2. Kev: Are these all of the funding organizations?
  3. Michael: There is a guide online with all of these organizations.
  1. Secretary’s Report
  1. Attendance Policy
  2. 12 GBMs, can’t miss more than 4
  3. 12 committee meetings, can’t miss more than 3
  4. Just attend them all
  1. Executive
  1. Resolution Concerning UA Endorsement of Removing Endowment Funds from the Coal and Tar Sands Industries
  1. Ben: The main point is that coal and tar sands are not viable. They are shrinking industries. We should invest in larger industries, especially for the sake of the environment. If we invest, it is bad for the environment and it is bad for people in general. Air quality is a huge issue and a large reason for deaths in cities, specifically NY. We, as representatives, must start leading. We must fight for the environment so that we have a future.
  2. Sahitya: Do you have any suggestions for alternative investments?
  3. Ben: That is up to the university’s board. I think that these industries are a shrinking market and there are alternatives.
  4. Nick: Do you know who is in charge of investing in this at this university? How do you know that your line of reasoning is sound?
  5. Ben: This is decided by the board of trustees, mostly done behind closed doors. They said that they would be open to changing this if a large body rallied behind this issue.
  6. Sravya: How will we know if the University will react?
  7. Ben: This will be sent out to the undergraduate body, Amy Guttman, and various admins and trustees. There will be a lot of endorsements.
  8. Maria: I think this conversation is great. I have a lot of views, but I am open to voting pro for this.
  9. Ben: It is a bipartisan issue. It benefits everyone.
  10. Michael: Why are environmental groups focussing on this issue? And how would that process work?
  11. Ben: They spoke with the trustees, and there is only one trustee against it. They are open to changing their ways.
  12. Brian: If this passes, I will email all of the important members of the University within 24 hours.  
  13. Sahitya: Will they lose money? Why does one person disagree?
  14. Ben: Implementation is something that will happen in 5-10 years. It is a difficult process. The biggest issue is that they have so much invested in these industries.
  15. Nick: How do you talk to someone from administration about this issue? It’s good to have an understanding of their position as well.
  16. Ben: I have not talked to them, but I have been CC’d on emails and talked to students who have spoken to these administrators.
  17. Nick: Is there a way you’d be able to meet?
  18. Ben: Yes, those meetings will happen over the next few weeks. It will be better to have the undergraduate body in support.
  19. Maria: What’s the largest argument for this industry?
  20. Ben: It is not viable to be invested in a shrinking industry?
  21. Sahitya: If they don’t broadcast their investments, how do you know what the university is investing in?
  22. Ben: We assume based on the investment portfolios that they are.
  23. Maria: Are you sure that you haven't seen any surveys that fossil fuels are not financially viable.
  24. Ben: I think that renewable resources are more viable. I have not seen any information otherwise.
  25.  Michael: Pro. In 2015, students rallied to get the university to divest money from fossil fuels so at some point, the student body was in favor of this.
  26. Jude: Maybe consider bringing facts about both sides in the future. As a person who is environmentally uneducated, I would like to know both sides.
  27. Jordan: Pro. I think in this case, we are urging the board to divest and it will be the UA to support the student body who has a greater understanding of these issues.
  28. Ben: Pro. When it comes to finances, there is no argument to say that they shouldn't be doing this. Coal and Tar Sands are shrinking industries, and this is the best resolution we can do in order to show our support.
  29. Max: Con. I want the university to stay invested which allows them to continue to be major stakeholders in this industry. It may not be significant enough of a gain and could result in potential loss. It is important.
  30. Maria: Pro. I like facts. I would like to find out more afterwards, but I think UA should do more resolutions. They are important and symbolic.
  31. Maher: Con. If our goal as the UA is to end the university’s investment in these industries, I am not use that it would be meaningful or would even hurt the tar and coal industry.
  32. Ben: The university won’t lose money by divesting, they will actually be more profitable. By doing this, we will look smarter.
  33. Resolution passes. 17 pro, 1 con, and 2 abstain.
  1. Discussion Papers
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. New Huntsman Hall Hours
  1. Elena: We want to discuss this important issue as it is affecting many people in the student body. We have ideas for policy changes, but we want to allow 24 hour access for sunday-thursday potentially. This decision was make kind of secretively, so we want to make this more open. We wanted to potentially add weeks for midterm seasons.
  2. Max: Please refrain from personal statements and make all of your answers valuable.
  3. Maher: This speaks volumes of how the university treats the student body. The decision was not made in a collaborative effort between the students and administration. They did not talk about it and they don’t care about our opinions.
  4. Maria: To give more background, there is a Wharton Steering who essentially made the decision. This decision was made in the spring after receiving negative feedback. The decision was rolled out in an email in one sentence which is unfair to students.
  5. Arjun: This is an error on administration’s part. The idea of this helping mental health is unreasonable. Van Pelt is not optimal for all students. Huntsman is super convenient for the student body, and gives students the opportunity to finish work they may not have been able to finish.
  6. Maria: I agree; this decision is not helping anyone’s mental health.
  7. Jordan: I want to commend you for this thorough account. I think we should discuss projects that could come from this. Based on past studies, sleep is vital. We should think of ways that mental health will be accounted for.
  8. Maria: Thanks. We want to send out an informal survey to the body to collect vital information.
  9. Simon: I am pretty neutral in this situation. I am more concerned with the lack of interaction with the UA. This decision affects not only wharton students, but the entire body.
  10. Michael: I think the wharton administration is trying to establish a new culture and promoting sleep. It probably won't be the case, but I think the effort is great. A project could be to make college houses accessible to all students 24 hours. I think it is worth it to look into. If students want 24 hour study spaces, it should be something along those lines.
  11. Elena: Even though mental health is important, we cannot focus on the symptoms. There are bigger issues than Huntsman being closed affecting mental health such as assigning less work and pushing recruitment later in the year. Closing a building is a symptom, not a solution.
  12. Maria: It is good that we are talking about these important issues. I would like to know what you guys think about our ideas like midterms, mindfulness space, and others.
  13. Sravya: Which admins will you be talking to, and what student involvement will be made? What is their response?
  14. Max: We are thinking about speaking to them in cabinet meetings. As far as student outreach, WAB is a group we will reach out to and we also want to have a UA person who is in charge of communicating.
  15. Kev: What is the Mindfulness space?
  16. Max: It is a room on the second floor with comforting environment.
  17. Jess: It does not really affect Nurses as much, but I think Huntsman was hoping to get students to change their behavior/ habits and adopt more healthy lifestyles.
  18. Maria: I understand, but it affects all students.
  19. Arjun: Huntsman is very stressful. In general I don’t think that closing Huntsman changes the stressful culture at Penn. Different students have different lives and different ways of lives and study habits.
  20. Nick: Does Wharton have a virtual computer?
  21. Max: Yes, but it is only open to Wharton students.
  22. Kev: I am curious about the costs associated.
  23. Max: There is no saved costs in this new policy.
  24. Ben: I agree that they should have consulted the student body, but I think that after consulting other institutions. I think that the biggest issue is not closing huntsman, but to attack the more academic side.
  25. Nick: I think you should publicise the labs.
  26. Maria: They are slow, but it could be approved.
  27. Maher: The labs are remotely accessible, but cannot be accessed by students after 2am now.
  28. Elena: I think that very few people stay up that late on a regular basis. There are never terribly many students in Huntsman after 2am, so why not let them stay?
  1. Student and Campus Life
  1. GPA Information Project
  1. Equity and Inclusion
  1. Midterm Policies 
  1. Project Updates
  1. Dining, Housing, and Transit
  1. Electric Scooters on Campus
  1. Maria: Does anyone have strong opinions?
  2. Arjun: I personally tried them over the summer, but they are very useful and efficient.
  1. Completion Reports
  1. Academic Initiatives
  1. Unofficial Transcript Download
  1. Max: Now there are transcript downloads. A test version is out now, but the full pdf version will be available with NGSS.
  1. External Seats
  1. Student Financial Services Advisory Board
  1. There are many new initiatives in SRFS for highly-aided students. There are transformations being made to the website and also to the registered.
  2. Michael: I know they sent out emails to highly-aided students, but they did not include the names of our counselors. Why haven’t we received the names of the counselors?
  3. Max: I will bring that up to the board.
  4. Maher: What is a highly-aided student?
  5. Michael: Anyone whose family makes less than $65,000 per year.
  1. Communications