SGB puts focus on financial education


Board member Albert Tanjaya gives the Pitt Club Rock Climbing team representative a thumbs-up, saying “have a real Philly cheesesteak for me” after the team’s funding request to compete in Philadelphia is approved. (Photo by Theo Schwarz | Senior Staff Photographer)

By Emily Wolfe, Staff Writer

Student Government Board members wore green for the third straight week at Tuesday’s meeting — but this week, they didn’t just talk Mental Health Awareness. They talked money.

Friday will bring the third annual Financial Literacy Conference at Pitt, presented by business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and Pitt’s business school. Board member Cole Dunn worked with the fraternity’s vice president of alumni relations, Adam White, on the conference — which will address both undergraduate and postgraduate student needs.

Maxwell Hines, a certified financial planner from Waldron Private Wealth, will present the keynote address on financial planning for postgraduate students, Dunn said. Another seminar will review the process of salary negotiation, while breakout sessions will focus on tips for undergrads, like budgeting and keeping track of a checkbook.

“Students kind of overlook [all that] when they first get to college,” Dunn said. “They don’t really think about it as much, and then they’re out of money.”

White and Dunn worked with the Office of Financial Aid to arrange the event.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout this Friday and we’ll see how it goes,” Dunn said.

Other board members gave updates on their personal projects, promising more updates as the plans are finalized, and reported success on recent events, including last Friday’s Eat and Greet and the Mental Health Awareness Month “Let’s Talk” panel on Tuesday.

“It ended up being more of an intimate discussion,” board member Zechariah Brown said of the panel. “I feel like we all got a chance to have a dialogue.”

One upcoming program, the Pitt Women’s Leadership Experience, will take place Nov. 17-18. President Maggie Kennedy said last month that SGB decided to move the experience, an off-campus mentorship retreat for female students, from its usual spring date to the fall to provide students who attend with more time to connect before the end of the year.

“Some of the feedback from the past two years has been, ‘This is such a great retreat, but it’s at the end of the year in March and then there’s barely any time to still connect with your mentor [or] your mentees before the year is over,’” she said.

The last applications came in on Friday, and Kennedy said she and the Student Planning Committee will select mentors and mentees in the coming weeks with the help of prominent women on campus, including Senior Vice Chancellor Kathy Humphrey. The committee received about 70 applicants hoping to be mentors at the retreat and about 60 hoping to be mentees.

“Unfortunately, we may have to be slightly selective just because of the amount of space that we have at the actual conference center, but we’re hoping to accept as many people as possible,” Kennedy said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Ritika Bajpai, chair of the Community and Governmental Relations Committee, discussed the upcoming opening of Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood on Thursday. The center will serve as a bridge between the University and the community, and facilitate service opportunities for students.

“The whole point of centers [like the Community Engagement Center] is so we show that we are involved with the community around us,” Bajpai said. “We want to make long-term commitments rather than just short-term projects.”

Notably absent from the meeting for the second week in a row was any representative of the Student Slovak Club, which has requested SGB funding for an upcoming festival. After the Allocations Committee recommended denying the request in full, SGB voted last week to postpone voting on the allocation until a member of the club appeared to defend the request. SGB repeated the vote tonight, postponing until next week.

Attendees representing various other on-campus organizations filtered out throughout the course of the meeting as the board addressed their clubs’ business. The group in the basement of Nordy’s Place was about 15 members strong at the beginning of the night — an average turnout for one of SGB’s public meetings — but only one or two remained by the end, causing a few laughs to break out among the board as Kennedy asked for final questions or comments from the audience.

“If anyone out there has anything they want to say, now’s the time,” she said, fighting a smile, and paused. “Cool.”


The First Class Bhangra dance team requested $1,660.52 to attend a competition. The board approved in full.

The Pitt Club Rock Climbing Team requested $1,215.50 to attend a competition. The board approved in full.

Pitt Club Quidditch requested $1,792.60 to attend a competition. The board approved $1,392.60 and denied $400.