Members of Student Government Board supported the March For Our Lives rally Tuesday, with President Max Kneis supported calling it a way for young people to show civic engagement.
“I think it’s a really important issue for young people to be involved with,” Kneis said at the public meeting. “So I felt it was something I wanted to share with the rest of the Pitt community as well.”
The march participants want state and federal legislators to address current gun laws to see what can be changed to prevent school shootings and other gun violence. The march will start Downtown at the City Council building and travel down Fifth Avenue to Market Square.
Kneis is the Pitt liaison for the march and Shady Side Academy is the main representative school for the Pittsburgh section of the national march. Upon seeing the event on Twitter in mid-February, Kneis messaged the event’s account to see how he could help.
“I think it’s important for students to add their voice to the discussion, to make a statement that we are demanding some sort of action,” Kneis said.
At Market Square, there will be a rally featuring Mayor Bill Peduto, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., and Conor Lamb, the apparent winner in a congressional special election last week. So far, SGB has shared both its Facebook event and flyer on SGB’s Facebook page, while also emailing students and departments about the march.
“I really hope that our elected officials take seriously the voices of what is really gonna be the largest voting bloc. The young people are the future and I hope this march kind of showcases how passionate high school, college students are about this issue,” Kneis said.
In addition to SGB encouraging students to attend the March For Our Lives, it is also encouraging students to attend a town hall Wednesday for its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Board member Nihita Manem wants students to attend the meeting in the open area of the sixth floor of the William Pitt Union at 6:30 p.m. to give feedback about the new committee.
“We want to make sure that when students are applying, [they know] what our mission is and [tell us] if they have any questions with the application itself,” Manem said.
Applications are currently open for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The role of the committee is to help educate SGB members on the various backgrounds of students, significance of allocations requests when they are submitted and help promote cultural competency on campus.
“If somebody’s asking for … a specific thing related to their culture, we want to make sure the board knows about it so it’s not like we’re denying it because we don’t think it’s important even though it’s probably important to the organization,” Manem said.
Current Allocations Chair and board member-elect Cory Stillman announced Ethan Gertzman as the 2018-2019 Allocations Chair in his committee report. Gertzman is a sophomore psychology and political science major and current allocations liaison to student organizations beginning with letters M-O.
Interviews for the position occurred Sunday and of the three candidates, Stillman and the task force for the allocations chair felt Gertzman was an ideal spokesperson for the allocations process.
“He does a great job of just welcoming a diversity of opinion. He never gets stuck in his own mindset, he’s always open to opposing viewpoints and I think that’s going to be a really healthy mindset to bring as chair,” Stillman said.
As committee reports continued, Wellness Chair and President-elect Maggie Kennedy talked about her support for a smoke-free campus. She said she will meet with Executive Director Marian Vanek of the Wellness Center for further discussion.
“If less students and faculty are smoking on campus, hopefully that [is] also translating to just less people smoking in general,” Kennedy said. “That will be better for their physical health.”
During that future meeting, she plans on asking what Vanek’s plan is, what the next steps are and how SGB can help. Kennedy said if the issue is brought up during her presidency then she and the board will consider and potentially support going smoke-free.
“We can’t, obviously, control what people do on or off campus really, but we want to try, to our best ability, to create a healthier environment for everyone,” Kennedy said.
Kneis also expressed condolences to friends and family after a Pitt student committed suicide Friday morning. Kevin Zwick, a University spokesperson, said the University Counseling Center is available for students grieving after this loss.
Where to get help if you or someone you know is in crisis:
Contact the Pitt Student Counseling Center: (412) 648-7930
Contact Allegheny County’s Resolve Crisis Hotline: 1-888-7-YOU-CAN
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Text for Crisis Support: TEXT “GO” TO 741741
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers requested $1,543.70 for their regional conference for registration, ground transportation and lodging. The board approved $433.88 and denied $1,109.82.
Collegiate DECA requested $1,037 for a conference request. The board approved in full.
Italian Club requested $940.68 for a program expense. The board approved $375 and denied $565.68.
Salsa Club requested $268 for a conference request. The board approved in full.
Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. requested $240 for a conference request. The board approved $140 and denied $100.
Panther Swim Club requested $7,386 for their 2018 Collegiate Club Swimming National Championship for airfare and lodging. The board approved $5,684.10 and denied $1,701.90.
C Flat Run requested $986.94 for a competition expense. The board approved $973.44 and denied $13.50.
The Songburghs requested $1,315.92 for general travel. The board approved $1,297.92 and denied $18.
FORGE requested $250 for a program expense. The board approved in full.
Pitt Women’s Basketball Club requested $669.60 for a competition expense. The board approved $504.80 and denied $164.80.
Aero Society of Automotive Engineers requested $2,629.11 for their Aero Design SAE for airfare, lodging and a miscellaneous fee. The board approved in full.
Filipino Students Association requested $3,565.84 for a program expense. The board approved $3,019.84 and denied $546.
Club Cross Country Team requested $500 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.
National Residence Hall Honorary requested $3,250 for their booth at the Late Night Breakfast for stuffed animals. The board denied in full.
Some of God’s Gospel Choir requested $3,865 for their Annual Spring Concert for rentals and services. The board approved in full.
Fresh Entertainment by Student Artists requested $500 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.
Anointed Steps of Faith requested $391.93 for a program expense. The board approved $16.99 and denied $374.94.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers requested $2,135.40 for their Chem-E Jeopardy at their Regional Conference for registration, ground transportation and lodging. The board approved in full.
Pittsburgh Club Baseball requested $2,513.28 for their Conference Series at SUNY Brockport for ground transportation and lodging. The board approved $2,199.12 and denied $314.16.
Club Golf Team requested $3,049.67 for a program expense. The board approved in full.
Pitt ChemE Car requested $513.08 for a competition expense. The board approved in full.
Ya’baso Dance Team requested $1,954 for a program expense. The board approved $1,854 and denied $100.
Musical Theatre Club requested $2,669.59 for their production of Legally Blonde for various purchases such as costumes and licensing fees. The board approved $2,269.59 and denied $400.
Panther Lacrosse requested $980 for a purchase, rental and service. The board approved in full.