Penn State World Campus forms first student government

April 29, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State World Campus will soon have for the first time in its 21-year existence student-elected government to represent the voices of its thousands of online learners.

A president, vice president and other executive board members and committee chair members will take office as part of the World Campus Student Government Association in Penn State’s fall 2019 semester. They were the winners of the first election, which took place through online voting the week of April 15.

The new government will advocate for the interests and concerns of World Campus’ more than 14,000 online learners to enhance their student experience at the University. 

The World Campus government joins three other student-run government bodies at the University: the University Park Undergraduate Association, the Graduate and Professional Students Association and the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments. 

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,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “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.”

The president-elect is Sean Walsh, a bachelor's degree student from State College, Pennsylvania, who is studying information sciences and technology. The vice president-elect is Tanya Near, a bachelor's degree student from Arlington, Virginia, who is studying security and risk analysis.

The first steps to form the student government began in 2018 with the creation of an exploratory committee. The Penn State World Campus Student Affairs office assisted students in their efforts.

Barron approved the formation of the government in April.

“Penn State has a legacy of including students in its governance and making sure that students are full participants in the way the University approaches its work,” said Ashley Adams, director of student affairs for Penn State World Campus. “The development of the World Campus Student Government Association furthers that tradition with online students.”

Walsh said it is imperative the government effectively represent all World Campus students, who are spread across all U.S. states and more than 80 countries around the globe. He said the government first will establish a constitution that outlines its mission, vision and values, including the roles and responsibilities of the newly elected officers.

Walsh said another goal is to enhance World Campus clubs and organizations, increase available services 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,” he 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 winners of the offices that will form the executive board are:

  • Sean Walsh, president
  • Tanya Near, vice president
  • Johanna Welsh, speaker of the assembly
  • Jessica Ringenary, treasurer
  • Meghan Neel, secretary

The winners of the following committee positions are:

  • Amber Thomas, academic affairs committee chair
  • Stacy White, student affairs committee chair
  • Danielle Potter, marketing committee chair
  • Matthew Hansen, technology committee chair
  • Alexandra Stratos, government affairs committee chair

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about the student government.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 29, 2019