Eric Macadangdang, president of Pitt’s Student Government Board, encouraged students to get tested for COVID-19 and to follow safety guidelines while returning back to campus. He said despite the cold weather pushing groups to meet indoors rather than outside, he is confident in Pitt’s student body to follow safety guidelines.
“I know I’m feeling the fatigue along with all of you,” Macadangdang said. “With this, especially during these cold winter days, but better days are ahead of us if we stay committed to the cause, and I am fully confident in the Pitt student body’s ability to do so.”
At the first full meeting of the new year, board members outlined SGB’s plans for the semester, including the Civic Engagement Hub, an LGBTQIA+ task force and planning for the upcoming SGB election.
Cedric Humphrey, executive vice president of SGB, said the board will meet with staff from Pitt police and Public Safety, as well as David Harris, a Pitt law professor, over the course of the semester to improve police communication and accountability. Humphrey, as well as board member Kathryn Fleisher and Chief of Staff Caroline Unger, will continue finishing details for the Chancellor’s Public Safety Advisory Council Students Sub-Committee.
Ben King, SGB’s vice president and chief of finance, said the Constitutional Review Task Force proposal draft has been released for public comment and can be accessed via SGB’s website. Some changes include restructuring the board’s vice presidential positions to better divide responsibility, adding diversity and inclusion statements and “redesignating the assembly to be a representative advisory body to the board.”
Humphrey, Fleisher and Tyler Viljaste, SGB’s vice president and chief of cabinet, met over winter break to work on the Civic Engagement Hub. Together they drafted a new business plan proposal with PittServes to be presented within the coming weeks to Kenyon Bonner, vice provost and dean of students, and Kathy Humphrey, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees.
According to Fleisher, the new Civic Advising program will begin accepting appointments within the next week. She said Civic Advising is meant to give students an accessible way to connect and engage with their community.
“This program is aimed at helping students connect to and grow within their civic and community engagement,” Fleisher said. “We aim to make civic engagement relevant, accessible and meaningful to all students.”
Fleisher also said the Hub’s fellows are working on future outreach and marketing plans to make civic advising more accessible.
Viljaste said SGB’s LGBTQIA+ task force will release a student feedback survey and he urges anyone to offer feedback or recommendations on the proposed LGBTQIA+ Student Center and its resources. He also said SGB is pushing back the formal proposal timeline to accommodate responses from the student survey.
Viljaste said SGB will also work with Pitt Human Resources to ensure students are satisfied with their wages and are compensated fairly.
“We’re looking forward to working with Pitt’s Human Resources Department to come up with some creative and innovative solutions to making sure that students are satisfied, and are compensated in a way that would reflect the work that they’re doing,” Viljaste said.
With more than $300,000 in unused student activities fee money last semester, Aboli Kesbhat, the chair of the allocations committee, said the committee encourages student groups and clubs to use SGB’s funds.
“Allocations will be doing a large push to encourage student groups to utilize SGB funds to support virtual activities,” Kesbhat said. “We have seen some really great examples of funds being used for things we haven’t seen in the past.”
Beatrice Fadrigon, the chair of the diversity and inclusion committee, alongside Danielle Floyd, the chair of the wellness committee, are working on creating a Student Leaders of Color Coalition and are having a general call to student leaders who are interested in joining or planning the coalition. Fadrigon has also been working on a SORC-mandated student leader diversity, equity and inclusion training.
Olivia Bartholomew, the chair of the elections committee, is working on adjusting election events to become COVID-friendly and adhere to safety guidelines. Students who are interested in running for an SGB position can apply on the SGB website.
In his closing remarks, Macadangdang said to take advantage of these new opportunities while remaining safe.
“There are opportunities everywhere, and I hope you take some of them,” Macadangdang said. “I hope everyone remains safe and healthy as we embark on this semester, which will hopefully bring with it brighter days and better news.”
The allocations committee reviewed four requests for a total of $15,100.59. The committee approved $13,100.59. One request required board approval.
Pitt Salsa Club requested $1,800 to hire professional instructors. The board approved in full.