SGB unveils Town Hall to reach students


SGB president Maggie Kennedy uses vice president Cory Stillman’s hand as a makeshift surface on which to strike her gavel at Tuesday night’s public meeting. (Photo by Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer)

By Sid Lingala, Staff Writer

The Student Government Board announced a new initiative at Tuesday night’s meeting, aimed at bringing more students into the conversation about various campus issues — SGB Town Hall.

SGB President Maggie Kennedy said they will conduct Town Hall meetings throughout this year to reach students who don’t normally attend regular SGB public meetings due to the meetings’ focus on business. Kennedy also said other organizations’ Tuesday night meetings can contribute to occasional dips in public meeting attendance.

“The objective of the Town Halls is to increase our outreach on campus and make sure we are being the actual representatives we were elected to be,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to create a forum that is just about students sharing their concerns in a open-floor situation the whole time. We’re not giving board reports. We’re not going to do allocations.”

The first Town Hall will be this Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. at Nordy’s Place and will focus on feedback on campus facilities. The first Town Hall will also be attended by Jim Earle, associate vice chancellor for business and auxiliary services, and Joseph Pastorik, a facilities manager. Facilities, Transportation and Technology Chair Caroline Unger said she wanted to see a lot of people at the first Town Hall and hear what students want to fix in facilities.

Board members also recently attended the first Chancellor’s Lunch with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner and other Pitt officials to discuss some of students’ top concerns.

“It was a really good opportunity for us to talk to them face-to face about what we think are some of the most pressing issues for Pitt students at the moment,” Kennedy said.

Vice President and Chief of Finance Cory Stillman discussed the University’s initiatives in non-STEM research with Pitt’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Joseph McCarthy. Board member Pooja Humar, who also attended the lunch, recounted her conversation with Chancellor Gallagher about optimizing space utilization on campus.

“Being a city school, it’s not really feasible to build more space, but we want to essentially make the spaces we have on campus more usable,” said Humar. “I talked to them about having more spaces on campus reservable and maybe just making more spaces on campus open later.”

The SGB also revisited and unanimously passed a bill introduced last week about adding alternatives to the structure of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Jessa Chong, vice president and chief of cabinet, summarized the bill as facilitating the process of adding a replacement to a position on their committee.

“This bill is pretty much adding to the bylaws on the opportunity for alternates for the Diversity and Inclusion committee,” Chong said. “[Other committees] all have alternates in the case that someone on that committee has to remove themselves from it or anything happens, the spot can be filled really easily and without having to do the whole application process again.”


The Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Snowboard Team requested $1,930 for their 14th annual Rail Jam event. The board approved $1,926.72 and denied $3.28.

The Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Snowboard Team also requested $6,800 for ground transportation to Jay Peak Resort in Vermont. The board approved in full.

The Panther Equestrian Club requested $1,967.19 for coaching fees, T-shirts and a banner for their organization. The board approved $47.80 and denied $1,919.39.

Rainbow Alliance requested $6,500 to bring in a new speaker for National Coming Out Week. The board approved in full.

The Filipino Students Association requested $1,403.20 to attend their FSA Goes: FIND Fall Dialogue Conference. The board approved in full.