10/25 Meeting Recap: Assembly hears presentation about CAPS, three event funding bills pass

The meeting opened with a special presentation from Dr. Ben Locke, the director of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). He informed the Assembly that they were able to expand due to recent increases in funding and now have three separate offices in the Student Health Center, Career Services Building, and the Allenway downtown (map). Dr. Locke emphasized that there are rapid access services to insure accessibility for immediate care. He finally noted that any student organization or department in the university can request a presentation from CAPS to help inform students about mental health resources and promote their services.

President Matt Krott gave his executive update reiterating the importance of taking the Penn State Values and Culture Survey. The deadline was extended to Oct. 31, so check your Penn State e-mail if you’re interested in taking it and making your voice heard. Vice President Brianne Pragg added that the functionality of the survey has been improved, and now provides more options so participants can provide a more accurate opinion.

Bill 67-18, “Climate Justice Panel Co-Sponsorship” was passed. GPSA is helping to provide refreshments to give participants interested in discussing climate change an opportunity to mingle. The event will take place on October 30 from at 6 PM in the HUB’s Freeman Auditorium.

Bill 67-19, “Graduate and Professional Student Mixer” was passed. On Nov. 14, GPSA will be hosting a mixer at Café 210 West, with more details to come.

Bill 67-20, “Ph.D.: The Movie Screening” was passed. This bill allows for the screening of PhD The Movie 1 and 2, with refreshments, and will take place in January.

10/11 GPSA Meeting Recap: Legislature for Financial Literacy Seminars & Winter Gala passes

The meeting opened with a special presentation from Damon Sims, Vice President for Student Affairs. Sims began by discussing the consolidation of existing fees into one Student Fee and its impact. Vice President Sims then talked about how Student Affairs has been working on the healthcare issues which have been occurring within the last year, and that there is a continued effort to improve the process and involve graduate students in conversations about the student health insurance plan. Lastly, he reminded the Assembly to continue contacting their representatives as Penn State is still waiting for the passage of the Pennsylvania budget.

The main emphasis in President Matt Krott’s update was that the PSU Values and Culture survey is now available. The survey is a follow up to a 2013 survey which examined the culture at Penn State, particularly as it relates to community members’ ability to report wrongdoing without experiencing retaliation. He reinforced that this survey is completely anonymous, since Penn State used a third-party service to gather data and only receives the total data set, not individual responses. The survey can be found via a link sent to your Penn State email address. It takes 15-20 minutes to complete and can be taken between now and October 24th. Only 11% of graduate students filled out the 2013 survey – be sure to take it and make your voice heard!

Bill 67-16: Financial Literacy Seminars passed by unanimous consent. This bill permits GPSA to host three financial literacy classes in the fall, and five classes in the spring. Details on dates and locations are to follow.

Bill 67-17: 2017 Winter Gala passed by roll call. The annual Winter Gala will be held December 2, 2017 at the Nittany Lion Inn from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Some of the festivities to look forward to are a DJ, photo booth and a meal catered by the Nittany Lion Inn. Tickets to the Gala will be $15 per person.

As the Pennsylvania budget impasse continues, please continue to contact your state representatives to let them know that Penn State must receive its appropriation. To write a letter click here, and to a find phone number click here.

9/27 GPSA Meeting Recap: Blood drive bill passes, response to hate speech

GPSA met on Wednesday, September 27 at 6 p.m. in room 134 HUB.

The meeting opened with a special presentation from the Canvas Project Team. The Canvas Project Team requests feedback from students and faculty in hopes of making Canvas as fully functional and student-friendly as possible. GPSA will soon be appointing a new Liaison to the Canvas Project Team, since the current liaison will be graduating this year.

GPSA President Matt Krott gave his executive officer report, within which he addressed the recent issues on campus with hate speech from certain groups. He conveyed that while Penn State legally has difficulty stopping this rhetoric because of the First Amendment, there is a responsibility for student leaders on campus to help ensure everyone feels safe and included within the Penn State community. He also showed his gratitude for President Barron’s recent words against racist and white supremacist comments.

Krott again implored that everyone write to their state representatives, in hopes of getting the budget approved, so that Penn State can receive their appropriation from the state. Letters to representatives can easily be submitted through this link, or a phone number can be found on this link.

Bill 67–15, “Co-Sponsorship of PSU-MSU Blood Drive,” was passed by a unanimous vote. The GPSA sponsored blood drive is part of the Penn State vs. Michigan State blood drive challenge. The blood drive will be on November 1st in the HUB with more details to follow. More information about donating blood and schedule of blood drives can be located here.