SGB town hall sees low turnout

Pitt senior and Student Government Board Vice President Rohit Anand speaks at a SGB meeting Tuesday night, March 28. Kyleen Considine | Staff Photographer

Student Government Board’s monthly town hall lasted only 15 minutes Tuesday night, a change from the typical hour-long meeting.

Nordy’s Place was nearly empty while board members reminded the few attendees to apply for SGB committee positions for the upcoming year.

SGB’s town-hall-style meetings, which begin at 8:45 p.m., lack the usual board and committee reports to leave more time for student input. The town halls are held once a month, and this week’s was SGB’s third attempt at inviting students. Only two students spoke during the open floor Tuesday night, one with concerns about the lack of space for lines in the Cathedral Cafe and another praising the newest tool Pitt unveiled to help students schedule classes.

Judicial Committee Chair Jad Hilal emphasized the importance of these meetings, voicing frustration at students’ missed opportunity.

“Everyone has their one issue they want fixed…town halls are a great place to do it,” he said. “[The student body] underestimated the potential that SGB has to help out students.”

Though SGB leaders see town halls as opportunities to engage more people, students have yet to embrace the idea — the last town hall also struggled with turnout. SGB board member Max Kneis and Hilal cited midterms and the time of the year as reasons for low absence.

At the last town hall March 1, the board listened to two student groups: the Pitt Progressives as well as the Pitt Fossil Fuel Divestment Coalition, which is pushing the University to divest from fossil fuels. The board then tasked the First Year Council with carrying out research into other divestment movements at colleges around the country.

Dhruv Kohli, Facilities, Technology and Transportation Committee chair, said increasing the role of the communications committee — a new committee formed last semester in SGB to specifically promote its events —  will hopefully improve attendance in the future.

Town halls are “still a new concept,” President-elect Kneis said, but the board will continue to explore as many avenues for outreach as possible.

“These town-hall-style meetings don’t hurt SGB,” he said. “They don’t require any extra time or meetings.”



Pittsburgh Club Baseball requested $1,773.34 for a conference series at Penn State. The board approved $1,571.32 and denied $202.02.

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee requested $3,857.64 for their eastern 2017 competition. The board approved the request in full.

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