The History of the University Park Undergraduate Association

as written by Spencer Malloy, Chair of the 7th Assembly



The University Park Undergraduate Association was founded in 2006 in concert with the dissolution

of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). The USG was originally formed in 1961, following a

series of evolving student government initiatives that can trace their history back to student tribunals

in the 1860’s. Other organs of shared governance, including the All-College Cabinet that featured

representatives from different organizations on campus, held sway through the 20th Century.

Controversy still remains regarding the administrative tactics to develop the organization — the ability of

the USG to operate as a legitimate body (including registering and approving student groups and utilizing

an independent judicial branch to arbitrate conduct violations) was stripped from the organization

following the hiring of former Vice President Vicky Triponey. After a student referendum, the University

administration formally recognized the UPUA — and we’ve been working ever since to provide students

representation at the highest levels of administration and build programs to benefit of undergraduates at

University Park.


Inception and Development

After the disqualification of highest-vote-getting candidate Jay Bundy, Jay Chamberlin took office in

first Assembly of the UPUA. While reeling from the first voting controversy and demise of the USG, it

was not until the 2nd and 3rd Assemblies that the organization was able to refine and develop the UPUA

constitution to a workable model. Second President Hillary Lewis would oversee further refinement of the

Association and faced numerous challenges with such a limited budget:

Yet the Association continued to grow, developed additional standing committees and the Chair of the

Assembly position and Steering committee.


Keirans/Russell and Keirans/Gupta, 3rd and 4th Assemblies

The organization grew at a remarkable pace during the two terms of Gavin Keirans and his Vice

Presidents Vallery Russell and Hillary Gupta. Matt Smith, Chief of Staff in the 5th Assembly, made the

organization’s philosophy on expansion clear:

“If we can make changes that normally you’d only see faculty or administrators make, that’s when you’ll

see people go to us as an authority on changing the University,” Smith said.

In these two administrations, a number of projects were completed, including funding for an expansion of

the late night White Loop, the formation and selection of the Legal Affairs Department, a standard budget

and office, programs for Landlord-Tenant mediation, the return of student leader Encampment, and a

music festival called Last Stop (which would eventually fuse with the ARHS initiative Movin’ On).

Samantha Miller, then director of the Assembly services, noted that even with its growth, the preservation

of the Association was a delicate process:

“Representatives need to remember this isn’t a given title or a given set of privileges Everything has to be

earned. Our work is to serve the students, and the second that people think they’re above doing that is the

minute the UPUA will stop growing.”


Ragland-Smith 5th Assembly

Christian Ragland and Colleen Smith were the President and Vice President respectfully, of the 5th

Assembly of the UPUA. Both Christian and Colleen previously served as Committee chairs during the 4th

Assembly which ultimately influenced their decision to run together. Christian served as the Student Life

and Diversity Chairman and Colleen served as the the Governmental Affairs Chairwoman. During their

term, there was considerable strife between the Executive Board and the Assembly given the nature of the

working relationships between the two branches. Having both served in the Assembly as Chairs, Ragland-

Smith saw the opportunity to assist each committee in executing its initiatives through the appointment

of Directors of each committee.

Throughout their term, Ragland-Smith were able to secure a non-voting Student Representative seat on

the State College Borough Council for the UPUA. This was a huge win for the organization given that the

Borough of State College is 75% students. Other notable accomplishments of the 5th Assembly included

the course watch list and student book exchange website which are still in use today.


Bard-Lennartz 6th Assembly

TJ Bard and Courtney Lennartz were President and Vice President of the 6th Assembly of the UPUA. The

election for President and Vice President was the most competitive in UPUA’s history with 4 different

tickets running for the Executive office. During their term, news broke of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and

news vans flooded State College. President Bard rose to the occasion and spoke in nearly 600 interviews

with the media during a time when the University cut off all communication with the public. As a result of

the fallout, the Six Points for Change were developed in order to open communication lines between the

three student governments of Penn State and the administration.

Their administration’s progress was hindered by the firing of President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director

Tim Curley, and former head football coach Joe Paterno and as a result received some criticism form

the Daily Collegian about incomplete platform initiatives that existed at the end of their term. However,

several important initiatives were accomplished by the 6th Assembly of the UPUA including the Princeton

Review subsidized test preparation classes and the i-Clicker+ rental program.


Lennartz-Mullen 7th Assembly

Courtney Lennartz and Katelyn Mullen were the President and Vice President of the 7th Assembly of

the UPUA. During their time in office, the University began rebuilding its image and learning from the

mistakes that allowed for the scandal to occur. With the release of the Freeh report, the Governor’s

decision to sue the NCAA, and the searches for the new Executive Vice President and President of Penn

State, Lennartz and Mullen were heavily involved in instituting change and guiding the University into the

future. Lennartz-Mullen was also able to secure the University wide listserv access for the UPUA so that

the organization can communicate with the student body as needed. Other notable accomplishments of

the 7th Assembly include the CATA bus tokens and the expansion of Sexual Violence Awareness Week.