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Penn State Forms Student Government for Online Learners

Online learners enrolled in Penn State University’s World Campus will soon have a student-elected government to represent their interests and concerns.

On Monday, the university announced the winners of the first-ever elections for the Penn State World Campus student government, which took place through online voting on April 15.

Sean Walsh was elected president, Tanya Near was elected vice president, Johanna Welsh was elected speaker of the assembly, Jessica Ringenary was elected treasurer, and Meghan Neel was elected secretary.

“We hope all Penn State students will have meaningful engagement experiences during their time with Penn State, and student government is a wonderful way to build skills while making a difference,” Eric J. Barron, president of Penn State University, said.

“I’m thrilled that the World Campus student body will now have their own government, and I look forward to working with the leadership so we can better meet the needs of our online students.”

Walsh said that under his leadership, the government will first establish a constitution that outlines its mission, vision and values, including the roles and responsibilities of the newly elected officers. The new government also aims to enhance World Campus clubs and organizations, and strive toward greater inclusivity.

“Penn State World Campus students should be afforded the same opportunities as a student enrolled at any of the physical Penn State campuses,” Walsh said. “Having the World Campus Student Government Association advocating on their behalf will bring students’ ideas and concerns to the forefront of those who can help make Penn State a better academic institution for all.”

The Penn State World Campus government, representing more than 14,000 online learners, will join three other preexisting student-run government bodies at the university. These include the University Park Undergraduate Association, the Graduate and Professional Students Association, and the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments.

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