The Student Government Board welcomed new and old faces alike to Nordy’s Place Tuesday evening for its first meeting of the semester. The meeting moved smoothly as board and chair members introduced themselves and their plans for the coming months to a crowd of approximately 30 students.
While introductions took up the majority of the meeting, some board members and committee chairs used it to announce and promote initiatives and plans for the next year.
Board member Albert Tanjaya made a notable announcement about his focus for the semester. Along with improving the user accessibility of Saferider, the late-night transportation service available to students in Oakland, Tanjaya is looking to help the grocery store installation to Pitt’s campus.
Following the meeting, facilities, transportation and technology chair member Caroline Unger, a sophomore studying microbiology and philosophy, provided further details about the soon-to-be grocery store located on Forbes.
“There were some delays with the construction process over the summer, but as of now, the construction is set to be done mid-October,” she said. “After that, it will take one or two weeks to actually get the produce in there.”
Unger then described what the grocery store plans to include.
“There’s going to be a section for fresh produce, a deli section, some parts of the Oakland Bakery and there should be a grab-and-go section for students who need to grab something quick,” she said.
Jessa Chong, who is a vice president and Chief of Cabinet, added an announcement about this year’s neighborhood block parties in Oakland. The block parties are a continuing event from years past oriented toward increasing interaction between college students and existing residents surrounding campus.
“Each part of Oakland has a specific block party that it’s assigned to, and it’s really just to get all the residents out to see each other,” Chong said. “I think it’s really beneficial for not only the residents, but also the students because it’s important to understand that it’s not just a college campus.”
The next block party will take place Sept. 12 in Central Oakland at Oakland Square on Dawson Street. The event will run 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will include food, T-shirts and more.
Tabitha Barnes, junior and communication rhetoric major and the diversity and inclusion chair, offered her own ideas toward promoting student interaction across all backgrounds on campus. Barnes leads the 12 members of the diversity and inclusion committee in its inaugural year.
Barnes said the committee is looking to focus on advocacy, education and awareness. On the advocacy side, Barnes said the Pitt police liaison within the committee looks to start a new dialogue between campus officers and students.
“What we plan to do, and hope to do with that, is increase positive experiences with the Pitt police on campus and increase relationships and open dialogue between police and students,” Barnes said.
The committee’s goals also include educating the student population through both passive and active media. The diversity and inclusion blog, abbreviated D&I, will be one of these media where students can discuss diversity and inclusion in a passive setting.
“One of the main problems is that often [diversity and inclusion] initiatives engage with people actively, so people who are not normally included in diversity conversations are too nervous and left out,” Barnes said. “So the goal of [the diversity and inclusion] blog is so that you can be on your laptop, in your own safe space, and you can still engage with the principles of the committee.”
The committee will post every week on the blog with current event topics, social justice topics and student spotlights for users to discuss over the forum.
President Maggie Kennedy said after the meeting that the turnout was an exciting sign for the year to come and that she is excited for her tenure as president.
“I’m really excited because we had a pretty large turnout at our first public meeting. It’s really exciting to hear from some student leaders in the audience share about what’s going on in their organizations,” Kennedy said. “I’m really looking to a great year with SGB.”
The National Society of Leadership and Success requested $4,515.90 for its National Leadership Summit. The board denied in full, but postponed the final decision until next meeting due to a lack of a group representative at the SGB meeting.
The Men’s Water Polo club requested $2,218.50 for season dues and entry into tournaments. The board approved in full.
The Chinese American Student Association requested $1,366.23 for its mid-autumn festival. The board approved $1,193.27 and denied $172.96.
The Women’s Choral Ensemble requested $1,315 for new dresses for group members. The board approved in full.
Correction: Facilities, transportation and technology chair Caroline Unger, not academic affairs chair Emma Francisco, spoke about the plans for the grocery store. This story has been updated.