First-Year Student Involvement

If you are reading this, chances are that you are a first-year student attending University Park, whether fresh out of college, a transfer student, or someone returning to education after a bit more life experience. On behalf of the University Park Undergraduate Association, we would first like to extend you a warm welcome to our university and thank you for your interest in our organization. On this page you will find out about the structures we have built to support first year students within UPUA, what you can do to involve yourself with our organization, and how you can stay up to date with us throughout the year. 

Q. What is the University Park Undergraduate Association?

The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) is the undergraduate student government for Penn State’s Main Campus. We are one of several student government organizations on campus, alongside the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), World Campus Student Government (WCSG), and Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA).

Q. How is the First Year Student Experience like within the UPUA?

We want to make sure that all first year students regardless of their background or academic status are welcome within the UPUA. As such, we have many support systems in place whether you are a returning student joining UPUA for the first time or a first year college student looking to get involved. Should you apply and be accepted into one of the many roles within UPUA, you will be given the opportunity to engage in our New Member Orientation Program that will instruct you on UPUA’s many functions, effective advocacy, and professional development. First year college students will be given the additional opportunity to enroll in a First Year Cohort, which is intended to be a support structure for first year University Park students learning to survive State College together.

Q. What positions are available to me?

All positions on the “Get Involved” tab, unless stated otherwise, are open for all students to apply to. Within the executive branch, all coordinator positions are specifically for first-year students. First-year positions for the legislative and judicial branches will be released soon. We already have first-year students accepted into some of our positions and encourage everyone to apply to where their passion lies. A willingness to learn and a passion for advocacy is just as important for a position as any experience that you bring to the table!

Q. I aspire to become a representative. What steps can I take?

The UPUA General Assembly of student representatives’ elections take place in the spring semester of every year. However, there are opportunities for you to be involved within the legislative branch and general assembly leading up to elections. Applications will open in September seeking support staff within our legislative branch’s various committees that you will be able to apply to, whether it’s supporting representatives with research or staffing as a social media manager. Occasionally, representative seats open for application following the resignation of a representative. Any updates through the year will be reflected on our Applications page.

Q. I would love to get involved with advocacy, but I’m not sure about where I fit in/I have never participated in student government before/I don’t know what to apply to/I don’t know what branch would be best for me. What should I do?

Thank you for your interest! We love to help students develop their passions and talents for advocacy, regardless of their prior experience, prospective majors, or career interests. If you have an issue you strongly care about or have a strong desire to help people, you are in the right place. We would love to start a conversation and help guide you to where you will be the strongest advocate. Please reach out to any member of the UPUA leadership team on our website and we will be glad to help out!

Q. I wasn’t accepted into the UPUA or missed the application deadlines. How can I stay updated with the UPUA?

Please feel free to follow our social media as well as our newsletter to keep up to date on our endeavors. Our General Assembly meetings are Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm EST, and are open for the public to attend. You can find Zoom links to our weekly meeting on the UPUA General Assembly Twitter.

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