BugPAC was born out of both frustration with the present but optimism for the future of State College as a place to live for students, young professionals and long-term residents who appreciate and love the unique energy that only college towns create. We aspire to build a Happier Valley for all residents. We hope you’ll join us in this work.



Thank You (From November 2017)

Because of your support, both Dan Murphy and Evan Myers won their elections this November! Myers was also elected Council President. We look forward to watching these two pro-student community voices during their terms and supporting more pro-student candidates in the future.

The fight goes on…

Thank You (from May 2017)

The primary election is over, and because of you, State College woke up yesterday morning to a local government more welcoming and inclusive of all of its residents than it was the day before. Because of you, three of our four endorsed candidates will move forward to the November general election. Continue Reading…

Read: Reaffirming Support for Our Endorsed Candidates.


What is the BugPAC? Click here for a comprehensive explanation.

At the May 4, 2015, meeting, student leaders went to the Borough Council and requested additional street lights in downtown alleyways heavily traveled by students. The proposal was dismissed virtually out of hand. In response to the request, Councilwoman Theresa Lafer implied that if the lights were installed, students would gather around those lights like bugs and cause property damage.

And thus, the BugPAC was born.

The Borough of State College is a quintessential college town. According to the 2010 census, 71% of Borough residents are between the ages of 18-24. The vast majority of these residents, and residents in other age ranges, are Penn State students. However, our elected officials have not adequately represented the interests of students and young people. Respectful student requests are continually ignored, or increasingly often, met with hostility from our elected officials.

BugPAC aims to change this mentality by promoting candidates who respect and value ALL residents — students, young professionals, and long-term residents alike.

BugPAC was born out of both frustration for the present but optimism for the future of State College as a place to live for students and residents who appreciate the unique energy that only college towns create.

The “Bugs” of BugPAC, aspire to change this by providing State College residents with the resources to turn out the vote for our endorsed candidates in municipal elections who truly represent what has always made State College special.

BugPAC helped elect two pro-student advocates to Borough Council in its first municipal election in 2017, while nearly quadrupling the previous record for write-in votes in a municipal primary. It also received attention for securing a $1 million assurance from Google and Youtube to defend itself against C-Net, the government-owned broadcast network, after it threatened to sue the organization for using anti-student snippets from recordings of Borough Council meetings, which were protected by Fair Use.

It has no plans to slow down.

Together, we can make State College more inclusive and welcoming to ALL residents.

Contacts (Future leadership TBD)

Watch BugPAC Founding Co-Chairman and Treasurer Terry Ford discuss the problems in our local government at the 2017 State of State conference.

BugPAC in the News

BugPAC has no plans to stop effort to promote student-friendly policy – Centre Daily Times

BugPAC: Students advocating for change – The Underground

YouTube Backs BugPAC With $1 Million To Defend Against Potential C-Net Copyright Lawsuit – Onward State

Public Access Channel Tries To Shut Down Use Of Council Meeting Video Clips; Claims They Aren’t Fair Use – TechDirt

C-Net Bullies BugPAC For Using Public Borough Council Footage – Onward State

BugPAC aims to give students a voice in local government – Centre Daily Times

BugPAC endorsed mayoral candidate Michael Black tentatively earns Republican nomination – Daily Collegian

Absentee Ballots at an All-Time High For 2017 State College Municipal Primary – Onward State

BugPAC optimistic for State College primaries as number of student absentee ballots skyrocket – Daily Collegian

Penn State students make big push to get involved in local politics – WJAC

Calling out local government – WTAJ

Penn State Student Leaders Launch ‘BugPAC’ to Help Elect Endorsed Candidates for Borough Council, Mayor – StateCollege.com

Political committee BugPAC holds first press conference in the HUB – Daily Collegian

Student Government Presidents Launch ‘BugPAC’ Campaign to Reclaim State College – Onward State

BugPAC Vote Tracker (5-2 Votes)

BugPAC-endorsed candidates (Evan Myers and Dan Murphy) occupy two of the seven State College Borough Council seats. This space will be used to monitor when these two pro-student voices stick up for the rights of the majority of State College residents and oppose the other 5 anti-student voices on the Borough Council.

To date, there have been 2 such 5-2 votes.

Borough Council Approves Overnight Parking Permit Pilot Project for Highlands Neighborhood — Council voted 5-2 to restrict overnight parking during football weekends. It had been a longstanding policy that guests could park overnight in downtown State College and the surrounding neighborhoods overnight on event weekends. Student government opposed this vote with a resolution, which was ignored. The new policy will create problems for all guests who come to town to cheer on the Nittany Lions and support the local economy. Expect DUI incidents to increase this football season as Highlands Neighborhood residents resist the university culture of a college town. Myers and Murphy opposed this policy.

State College Borough Council votes ‘yes’ on HARB — Council voted 5-2 to establish a establish a Historical and Architectural Review Board, which will make it more difficult for student renters to live in the Holmes-Foster, Highlands, and College Heights neighborhoods. Council does not want the neighborhoods to be developed so that students are forced to live in downtown high rises or less desirable locations (“Not in my neighborhood,” as they say). Myers and Murphy opposed this ordinance.

2017 Inaugural Candidates



Michael Black is a long-time Borough resident and local business owner passionate about making State College a better town for everyone. He started his own business, BLACK SUN studio, in 1994 and by 1997 decided to devote his full attention to being a advertising and editorial photographer, designer, and creative director. In 2005, he designed and built the LABB, a 9,500-square-foot creative studio and arts space located on East Beaver Avenue. Black earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Springfield College in 1985 and his master’s degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. He spent the next three years as a student affairs professional at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He moved to State College in 1991 to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Penn State in higher education with a focus on human development.

Borough Council


Dan Murphy is the first director of Penn State’s Office for Student Orientation and Transition Programs and moved to the Borough in 2012. Some of Murphy’s priorities include economic development, encouraging entrepreneurship, respect for diversity of all community members, supporting efforts to bring young professionals into borough neighborhoods and increasing the engagement between the university and the borough. A native of Lansing, Michigan, Murphy received bachelor’s degrees in music and organizational community from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from James Madison University. Before coming to Penn State, he held student-focused administrative positions James Madison and Indiana University.


Evan Myers, a first-term Borough Council incumbent, has been involved in the State College community for more than 40 years. Myers is the Chief Operating Officer for AccuWeather and a Penn State graduate. He and his wife have three children, all of whom are State College Area High School graduates and two of whom are current Penn State students. He previously was chair of the State College Planning Commission and has been a member of the Consolidation Study Commission and the Downtown Vision and Strategic Plan Committee. Myers wants to build on efforts to make State College a more inclusive community that brings together neighborhoods, businesses, Penn State and students.

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Marina Cotarelo (Write-In) is a 2015 Penn State graduate and the former Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association. Cotarelo is a service-oriented leader with a track record of civic engagement across multiple communities. This past summer, she was selected to be a participant in Bike and Build, a service trip supporting affordable housing solutions. She biked from Connecticut to California, crossing 16 states, and serving communities through fundraising, volunteering, and partnering with organizations to assist in building homes. She has also served her alma mater as the Vice President of the graduate student government, as President of the Kinesiology Club, and as a member of the Graduate School Alumni Society. She is looking forward to continuing her involvement in the community on Borough Council by supporting policies that encourage entrepreneurship to keep young people living and working in the Borough. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, and students’ rights. She currently works for the University in Development.




We, the “Bugs” of BugPAC, in the spirit of making State College Borough more inclusive of and welcoming to ALL of its residents, avow the following principles:

1. The interests and well-being of students, who make up the vast majority of residents in the Borough of State College, should be adequately reflected when deciding policy and issues important to the community.

2. State College has some of the most restrictive zoning regulations in the country. We only support zoning restrictions and ordinances that do not target and overburden students. We believe that most nuisances can be adequately addressed through the criminal justice system.

3. State College is a college town with all the qualities that come with life in a living-learning community. We acknowledge that residing in the Borough is a choice to live among young adults who engage, largely responsibly, in activities inherent to the collegiate experience. Those students and non-students who cause property damage or commit other criminal acts should be held accountable.

4. State College sits across from one of the most prestigious universities in the country with one of the most creative and passionate student and faculty bodies. State College should be an incubator for entrepreneurship which welcomes young professionals instead of overburdening them with unnecessary and unwelcoming ordinances and bureaucracy.

5. We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the Borough of State College and welcoming residents of all nationalities and backgrounds.

6.We welcome student-friendly services, such as Uber, Lyft, extended bus hours, more street lighting, and other mechanisms to promote students’ safety.

7. We support the rights of fraternities and sororities to organize responsibly.

8. We support promoting and dedicating Borough resources to sustainability and environmental health initiatives.

Above all, the BugPAC and its candidates support a State College and a Borough government that is welcoming to ALL residents, regardless of student status.


How To Vote

Here’s how to support our candidates:

  • Fnd your polling place HERE.
  • VOTE for the four BugPAC endorsed candidates. Mayor Michael Black and Borough Council members Dan Murphy, Evan Myers, and Marina Cotarelo (write-in),
  • Tell 10 other friends about BugPAC and proudly display your support on your social media pages.

Confused? BugPAC officials can help you fill our your registration properly. Contact us at info@BugPAC.org and we will ensure you are doing everything correctly.


Every dollar donated to the BugPAC goes directly to our efforts to make State College a more welcoming and vibrant community for all residents. We appreciate your support of our endorsed candidates and our efforts to transform our local government. Together, we will make this place a Happier Valley for all.

Donate Now

Want to help make State College a more welcoming place for everyone? Please fill out the form below, even if it’s just to state your support.