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Post-break SGB discusses Town Hall, PWLE

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Post-break SGB discusses Town Hall, PWLE

Board member Jessica Chong speaks about providing recycling bins to off-campus students at Tuesday evening’s weekly SGB meeting.

Board member Jessica Chong speaks about providing recycling bins to off-campus students at Tuesday evening’s weekly SGB meeting.

Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer

Board member Jessica Chong speaks about providing recycling bins to off-campus students at Tuesday evening’s weekly SGB meeting.

Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer

Sarah Cutshall | Staff Photographer

Board member Jessica Chong speaks about providing recycling bins to off-campus students at Tuesday evening’s weekly SGB meeting.

By Emily Wolfe, Senior Staff Writer

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Pitt’s Student Government Board eased back into a regular schedule with its first traditional public meeting in three weeks Tuesday evening.

There was no meeting last week due to Thanksgiving break. Before that, the board replaced its Nov. 13 meeting with a Town Hall focused on University policy, where a panel of University officials including Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner heard student concerns about safety, communication and more. Now, SGB and the University have begun to pursue solutions to issues raised at the Town Hall.

“We had a lot of really productive conversations, which we are certainly following up with,” President Maggie Kennedy said.

More details came during board members’ reports. Board member Albert Tanjaya said he and Caroline Unger, who chairs the facilities, transportation and technology committee, plan to work with the University to pursue answers to student concerns about SafeRider and ENS notifications — issues which dominated the Town Hall meeting.

Cole Dunn, another board member, said he is optimistic about potential changes in policy that will allow students to retake classes with fewer issues after a conversation with Joseph McCarthy, vice provost for undergraduate studies.

“We’re going to keep following up with them, but it’s very encouraging to see that they’re seeing this as a big issue also,” Dunn said.

The next Town Hall, scheduled for January, will focus on sustainability and recycling. Board members Tanjaya and Jessa Chong will plan the event with the Student Office of Sustainability, Chong said. The group hopes the event will lead to recycling bins for off-campus students, along with other recycling initiatives, Chong added.

Another SGB achievement has come and gone since the board’s last meeting — the Pitt Women’s Leadership Experience. The fourth annual weekend-long retreat took place Nov. 17-18 and focused on fostering mentor-mentee relationships between undergraduate female students.

Between mentors, mentees and panelists, more than 90 women were involved, Kennedy said. A member of the PWLE planning committee, Kennedy attended the retreat for the first time this year.

“I think all the participants came away with new connections on campus, whether that was their own mentor or mentee or other women that they met from that weekend,” she said.

Kennedy cited the closing speech from Dr. Kathy Humphrey, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for engagement and a PWLE founder, as a highlight.

“The way that she captivates a room is unlike anybody I’ve ever seen,” Kennedy said. “It’s just fantastic.”

With little other new business to speak of, the board devoted the greater part of the meeting to a long list of allocations requests. Two winter sports organizations — the Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Snowboard Team and the Pitt Ski and Snowboard Club — received a combined total of more than $20,000 for planned trips into the mountains. Pitt Club Baseball has already begun preparation for the spring, requesting funds to pay its dues to the National Club Baseball Association.

The board also fielded a request from the Imagination Project, whose members dress up as popular children’s characters and visit pediatric patients around Pittsburgh. Before approving the group’s request for money to buy new costumes, board members spent nearly 10 minutes asking Julia Driscoll, the Imagination Project’s fundraising chair, questions about member growth and the advantages new costumes would bring.

“We’re looking to expand our characters and upgrade our costumes to give the kids a more authentic experience,” Driscoll, a junior chemistry major, said. “Some of them are a lot nicer, and you see the kids’ reactions a lot better.”

Driscoll joined the Imagination Project when it was founded last year. She dressed up as Rapunzel to visit kids, though the group occasionally called on her to play Elsa, a favorite of kids in the pediatric ward.

“One girl insisted that the princesses were real because they knew her name,” she said. “It was written on her forehead.”

Before dissolving, board members offered encouragement for the approach of finals, and Unger said students shouldn’t forget Hillman Library is giving out free coffee and tea to anyone with a Pitt ID between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and after 10 p.m. through the end of finals week.

Allocations

Pitt Figure Skating requested $2,236 to attend a competition. The board approved $2,085.46 and denied $150.54.

The Pitt Ski and Snowboard Club requested $15,960 for a set of trips. The board approved $15,720 and denied $240.

The Catholic Newman Club requested $1,796 to attend a conference. The board approved in full.

The Fourth Wave requested $2,797.25 to print its publication. The board approved in full.

The Filipino Students Association requested $2,934.58 to host a speaker. The board approved in full.

The Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Snowboard Team requested $6,600 for a trip. The board approved in full.

The Imagination Project requested $2,780 to buy materials. The board approved in full.

Pitt Club Baseball requested $2,000 to pay dues. The board approved in full.

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Post-break SGB discusses Town Hall, PWLE