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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Penn State’s Board of Trustees?
    Penn State’s Board of Trustees is the University’s highest governing body. They guide Penn State’s goals, policies, and procedures and review and approve University budgets. The Board’s purview includes “approval of the university’s operating budget, student tuition and fees, and major construction and real estate expenditures, and selection and evaluation of the university president.”
  • Who’s on Penn State’s Board of Trustees?
    The Board has 36 voting members and includes leaders of government and industry and representatives of alumni, faculty, and students.
  • What are alumni elections and who can vote?
    Nine of the Board’s thirty-six voting members are alumni trustees. They are alumni elected, serve three-year terms, and each year an election is held for three spots. All alumni and most former students can vote. Request your ballot here.
  • Are trustees paid?
    No. They serve in a volunteer capacity.
  • Who’s behind Penn State Forward?
    Penn State Forward was started in 2021 by then-student Nora Van Horn ‘22. This year’s core team includes the candidates, young alumni, and students. We’re fortunate to have many volunteers and supporters from across the Penn State community!
  • What is Penn State Forward’s relationship with The Boarding School?
    The Boarding School (TBS) is a 501(c)(3) that empowers young people to get involved in institutional governance. They provide some legal and financial help to our campaign (i.e. they provide infrastructure for fundraising and help us do our taxes). Per TBS policy, every campaign that they work with is founded, managed, and organized by members of the communities or institutions in question.
  • What is Penn State Forward’s relationship to Harvard and Yale Forward?
    Campaign decisions are made by the Penn State Forward core team, who are all Penn State alumni or students. While Harvard and Yale Forward's efforts at their respective institutions have inspired us, these campaigns are inactive and their organizers do not work on Penn State Forward's efforts.
  • Who developed the Penn State Forward platform?
    This year’s platform was developed with Melinda, Uma, and Ali and by Taran Samarth ‘23, who won a Stand Up Award in part for this work.
  • Where does Penn State Forward’s money come from?
    We do our own fundraising via The Boarding School. Our campaign last year cost less than $5,000 and all of it came from Penn Staters. If you’re interested in contributing, you can do so here.
  • How are candidates recruited?
    We solicit nominations. Nora then reaches out to nominated candidates to ask if they’re interested in running.
  • Why did this year’s candidates decide to run?
    Learn why from Penn State’s candidate forum and their launch op-ed.
  • Do you pay candidates to run?
  • How will three new voices make an impact?
    Changes on large governing boards are often spearheaded by an individual or small group. So even one individual can have a significant impact. Other Board members have credited former Penn State Forward candidate Dr. Christa Hasenkopf with altering Penn State’s policy on its Long-Term Investment Pool. We now join the majority of the Big Ten in taking environmental and social considerations into account in investing decisions—and her work also made the policy publicly available for the first time! Plus, electing trustees with a bold vision for the institution motivates others to enact change. We believe that the attention our campaign brought to the role of young alumni in institutional governance motivated renewed efforts to expand election participation, especially that of young alumni.
  • I have a different question about Penn State Forward. Can you answer it?
    Yes! Questions can be sent to All of our organizers work or attend school full-time, so we appreciate your patience.
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