The Pitt News

SGB welcomes new students

SGB+Vice+President+and+Chief+of+Cabinet%2C+Krish+Patel+%28middle%29%2C+speaks+at+the+first+SGB+meeting+of+the+semester.+%28Photo+by+Thomas+Yang+%2F+Staff+Photographer%29
SGB Vice President and Chief of Cabinet, Krish Patel (middle), speaks at the first SGB meeting of the semester. (Photo by Thomas Yang / Staff Photographer)

SGB Vice President and Chief of Cabinet, Krish Patel (middle), speaks at the first SGB meeting of the semester. (Photo by Thomas Yang / Staff Photographer)

Thomas J. Yang

Thomas J. Yang

SGB Vice President and Chief of Cabinet, Krish Patel (middle), speaks at the first SGB meeting of the semester. (Photo by Thomas Yang / Staff Photographer)

By Nolan Roosa | Staff Writer

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After filing into Nordy’s Place in matching navy t-shirts Tuesday night, Student Government Board President Max Kneis and his fellow board members had to quiet down the room, packed to the brim with students.

At SGB’s first meeting of the academic year, board members and committee chairs introduced themselves and gave a brief overview of the organization, including its purpose — to promote the concerns, interests, needs and welfare of the student body of the University of Pittsburgh. After the presentation and meeting, board members spread throughout the room to field questions during an informal meet-and-greet.

Alex Spenceley, one of the eight board members, said he plans to focus his efforts this year on engaging first-year students and promoting mental health awareness on campus.

“First-year students come in with a particular energy that most students don’t have,” Spenceley said. “Tapping into that is something [students] may not know how to do.”

Spenceley, along with board member Ami Fall, will work on the Mental Health Task Force, formed in 2015. The task force — made up of student representatives and counseling center staff — meets weekly to address mental health issues on campus.

Fall is focusing her efforts on lobbying the University to recognize anxiety and depression as disabilities. She is also working to expand mental health outreach to a greater number of students.

“I want to better reach international students,” Fall said. “Their [mental health] needs are pertinent, and they often face cultural barriers.”

SGB has been working over the last several weeks to engage new students through the activity fair as well as social media engagement, gaining the attention of students like first-year Matt Reslink.

“They are trying to get first-year students involved,” Reslink said. “They have fresh minds and are able to better ask questions.”

SGB created a First-Year Council last year to improve its engagement with new students. The council, run by the chief of staff, selects about 10 students for the committee to aid board members with projects and prioritize first-year student issues.

Reslink is vying for a spot on the allocations committee reserved for first-year students. SGB referred students to its website for applications — due Sept. 8 online by 5 p.m.

Until then, SGB will continue to hold public meetings every Tuesday at Nordy’s Place in the William Pitt Union starting at 8:45 p.m.

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
SGB welcomes new students