A little over a week ago, Terry Ford was elected as UPUA’s newest president after beating out his opponents by an impressive margin. Even with his unprecedented victory, the junior accounting major remains humble in his accomplishments and is focused on serving the students in his new role.
HC: When did you first get involved with UPUA, and what made you want to pursue the opportunity?
TF: I first joined UPUA as a freshman intern, and it was through this experience that I developed a passion for student governance and advocacy. I joined UPUA because I wanted to be able to give back to the university that had given me so much. I also joined because I knew that UPUA would be a great way for me to refine and develop my interpersonal and leadership skills.
HC: What’s been your biggest challenge during your time serving UPUA?
TF: The biggest challenge for UPUA is outreach. Not enough students know about their student government, which prevents them from using us as a resource. We are their voice, and the best way for us to advocate on behalf of students is for us to know what students are most concerned about. We need to do a better job getting students more involved in what their student government is working on.
HC: What task or project are you excited to tackle as president that you didn’t get to as vice-president?
TF: As president, I will have the opportunity to serve as an ex-officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees, meaning that I will be able to provide a report to the Board and participate in its discussions. The Board is the highest governing body at our university, and the most important issues facing students are dealt with at this level. I’m excited to participate in the Board’s deliberations and provide the student voice.
HC: What’s your biggest goal for this university that you’d like to accomplish before your term ends as president?
TF: My top priority for the year is ending the mental healthcare funding crisis on campus. For years, students and administrators alike have talked about the need for additional resources to support Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), yet little has been done to reduce the time students have to wait in order to see a counselor. The bottom line is we need a sustainable method of financing CAPS. We intend to work with administrators to utilize a portion of the student fee (which students already pay each semester on top of tuition) to hire additional counselors and staff.
HC: Why do you love Penn State?
TF: Penn State has molded me into such a better person. At Penn State, I have been challenged academically and socially, and these challenges have allowed me to become a better student, leader, and global citizen. It’s hard to describe how much I have learned here at Penn State, but the one thing I can say for sure is that it has been a comprehensive learning experience.
HC: Anything else you’d like to say to Penn State students?
TF: We are your elected representative body! If you have a problem in your academic or social life, or if there is something about the university that you think could be improved, please reach out to us! Visit our website at www.upua.org.
So if you ever have a problem or want to share an idea to change this university for the better, Terry is your man! Remember to support your local government, collegiettes. These are the people who want to make Penn State the very best it can be.