Pitt’s Student Government Board members are prepared to turn their ideas into action this year by outlining plans for a research database as well as a weeklong event to promote female empowerment.
On Tuesday night, SGB member Rohit Anand proposed launching a database that would allow students to search a single website for undergraduate research opportunities at Pitt instead of combing through individual department websites and sending out multiple emails to faculty members.
The database would streamline the process of connecting students and faculty, Anand said.
The design of the database would also ease the burden on professors and help them fill undergraduate research positions, according to Anand. Students could search for a project that fits their needs based on certain fields or interests while professors could easily sort through postings of qualified undergraduate candidates, similar to a job board.
If created, the database would help Pitt students from any discipline get involved in research. A humanities student, for example, could easily find an opening for research in their field of interest in ancient Greek poetry without having to sort through openings in the chemistry or math departments.
“Everyone knows there’s great research at Pitt, but it can be hard to find the right type that you want,” Anand said. “No professor has time to read hundreds of emails.”
At this point, the project is still in its planning stage, and Anand does not yet know when it will be available. Anand said he has already met with various department heads in the psychology and neuroscience departments to gauge interest and said he has had positive feedback. He plans to meet with the administration and the Office of Undergraduate Research in coming weeks and to set up a student survey.
While Anand plans the research database, SGB members Sydney Harper and Sam Jankowitz are focusing on planning a week devoted to women’s empowerment in the spring semester. The week is meant to inspiring self confidence in women at Pitt.
Harper, a senior, said she’s drawing her inspiration from her attendance at last year’s Pitt Women’s Leadership Experience. The speakers and bonding with other women encouraged her to create the same experience for a broader number Pitt women.
Harper envisions a weeklong experience, with speakers and events ranging topics that are applicable to any woman in the audience. Her goal is for it to culminate in a gala type of event with a dance and celebration at the end of the week.
“What I really want is to have something that lasts for years,” Harper said.
Jankowitz also decided to extend a second initiative, this one focusing on body image, from an event into a yearlong campaign. Based off the feedback and suggestions she received on her initiative, Jankowitz decided that a campaign, instead of a single event, would be the best way to cover more topics related to physical self confidence.
The campaign would introduce women to exercise classes they aren’t familiar with. Hopefully, Jankowtiz said, it would give women the chance to experience new classes without any negative pressure.
“I’ve never taken a spin class, so I know that’s something I would love to do,” Jankowitz said.
The campaign would also have a component devoted to food and nutrition. Jankowitz plans on reaching out to Sodexo and the Food Committee for help in encouraging healthy options at Pitt.
SGB President Natalie Dall ended the meeting by formally appointing several positions and committee members since they had not done so last spring after they were elected. She appointed board member Max Kneis to vice president and chief of finance and Anand to vice president and chief of cabinet.
The Biomedical Engineering Society requested $2,250. The board approved $1,964 and denied $286.
Over the summer, one member of the Allocations committee stepped down because he received a co-op that was not in Pittsburgh. Carrie Weeks, who was the first alternate, is now replacing him on the allocations committee.