SGB reflects on meeting with administration


SGB President Max Kneis discusses the possibility of improving Pitt’s student union and reminds students to fill out Princeton Review and OMET surveys during Tuesday’s meeting. (Photo by Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer)

At Student Government Board’s last public meeting of the semester Tuesday night, SGB President Max Kneis discussed the board’s lunch earlier that day with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost Patricia Beeson and Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees Kathy Humphrey.

The lunch was the second of two “feedback and input” sessions held this semester to discuss ongoing projects, said Kneis. The first luncheon took place at the end of September. According to Kneis, the administration is “very responsive” to SGB’s ideas and student feedback.

“I think some of these people taking an hour and a half out of their day to just sit down and have lunch with us is a great example of [them listening to us], and they really do engage and implement the feedback that we share,” Kneis said.

At Tuesday’s lunch, attendees talked about the tax bill currently in Congress, an initiative to add sexual assault and mental health literature to CourseWeb or class syllabi and SGB’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

“A lot of times in these meetings, we kind of get to get their input and advice and then they, depending on whose area it falls under, connect us with the right person to get the project finished,” Kneis said.

Kneis also announced the summary of his one-on-one meetings with each board member about their time on the board this fall semester. The last round of one-on-one meetings was in September, and he said the members have better grown into their roles since then.

“I think we are doing really well. I think we have a really great, passionate team this year. We’ve had a lot of great things done and we have a lot of exciting things coming for the spring,” Kneis said. “I think everyone’s consensus was that we’ve grown closer as a team.”

Kneis also reminded students to fill out their OMET surveys and the Princeton Review survey, which he sent to students in an email Dec. 4. Princeton Review administers its survey to understand and rank undergraduate experience at universities across the country and surveys Pitt students every three years. The surveys will be due in early February.

“It’s important to … give back to the opportunity you’ve had here at Pitt and let prospective, future students kind of know what it’s like to go to school here,” Kneis said.

Kneis mentioned that some members of SGB plan to tour the student union at CMU to gather inspirations for Pitt’s own union.

“We’re looking forward to see how we can improve our union based on what we see over there,” Kneis said.

On the topic of upcoming projects for the spring semester, Executive Vice President Zuri Kent-Smith announced “Color TV” — an art and writing hub for students of color on campus— will hopefully be up and running next semester. He said he is is finalizing the specifics, such as the website and application.

“We need to have diverse viewpoints to have equality,” Kent-Smith said.

Kent-Smith said last year’s executive vice president, Sydney Harper, originally started the idea and connected him to the right people to make this idea into reality. Kent-Smith will reach out to Cross-Cultural Leadership Development groups such as Black Action Society and the Asian Student Alliance to advertise the program.

“It allows them to build their resumés and build their credentials, give them confidence in their ability to pursue careers and media and all that stuff,” Kent-Smith said.

Board members Krish Patel and Nihita Manem also announced they are in the planning stage of a potential project for next semester — training students on how to use life-saving devices such as EpiPens and perform actions such as CPR.

“You just don’t know when something is going to happen to someone, so I think it’s important, especially when we’re on a big college campus. Like with the EpiPen specifically, so many students have allergies,” Patel said.

Patel looked at ACC schools such as Penn State to see what they do and she will be working with Pitt’s Emergency Medicine program in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

“I think it’s important that students have that basic training just to be able to save a life,” Patel said.

Board member Ian Callahan was absent due to illness.


Chabad House on Campus requested $1,847 for a Hanukkah Menorah. However, a representative was not present, so the board decided to postpone the vote.

The Songburghs requested $58.80 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.

Wushu Club requested $925.94 for a competition expense. The board approved $776.14 and denied $147.80.

Women’s Club Gymnastics requested $2,000 for its facility rental fee. The board approved in full.

Catholic Newman Club requested $1,176 for its Student Leadership Summit. The board approved in full.

Cru requested $971.98 for a conference request. The board approved in full.

PatherRaas Team requested $2,281.66 and $1,899.60 for their Beat of Raas Competition and East Coast Showdown, respectively, both needing registration, ground transportation and lodging. The board approved the first request in full and approved $1,896.12 and denied $3.48 of the second request.

Nrityamala requested $4,379.76 for airfare and lodging for their Hansini Competition. The board approved in full.

American Marketing Association requested $3,292 for their ICC marketing competition. The board approved in full.

Redeye Theatre Project requested $214.55 for purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.