SGB kicks off Mental Health Awareness Month, hosts Hillman Library visitor

Student+Government+Board+at+its+weekly+meeting+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place.

Romita Das | Senior Staff Photographer

Student Government Board at its weekly meeting in Nordy’s Place.

By Kiera Ledermann, Staff Writer

All of Pitt’s Student Government Board wore matching green shirts that said “I care. Let’s Talk” at Tuesday’s meeting to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month. Danielle Floyd, the board’s vice president of initiatives, said the shirts “encourage dialogue amongst students about mental illness and the stigma surrounding mental illness.”

“The back of our shirts displays the phone number of the UCC,” Floyd said. “Please reach out if you ever feel alone or feel like you’re ever in crisis, there are people here on this campus who want to help.”

At the meeting, Lily Schneider, the chair of the wellness committee, said SGB will host a variety of mental health awareness events throughout October. Some events this week include the Pitfalls of Parental Pressure on Wednesday at 8 p.m., an Intersectionality Roundtable on Thursday at 8 p.m. and a discussion on the LGBTQ+ community and mental health Thursday at 9 p.m. SGB also discussed the upcoming commemoration of the Tree of Life massacre, student bank accounts and other topics.

To open the meeting, President Harshitha Ramanan reported that she met with Dr. Satish Tripathi from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education earlier this week to discuss Pitt’s re-accreditation process. Ramanan encouraged students who are interested in reading over the re-accreditation document to email her at [email protected]. The Pitt community can provide feedback through next Friday.

“Re-accreditation in simple words is the process that makes our degrees valid,” Ramanan said. “I am more than happy to send the document your way.”

Clare Withers, curator for Archives & Special Collections on the third floor of the Hillman Library, spoke about the University’s Archival Scholar program. The program gives 10 students the chance to study primary source archives at the library. Students selected for the program learn about the archives, participate in workshops and receive a $1,000 stipend.

“The great thing about it is, if you like primary sources, then it’s a way as an undergraduate to maybe handle things that haven’t seen daylight.” Withers said.

During the first open floor of the night, Aidan Segal, a senior English major and member of the Tree of Life congregation, reminded attendees about the three-year commemoration of the Tree of Life massacre on Oct. 27. He also encouraged SGB to formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

“It’s all-encompassing, and it outlines the many ways in which people, governments and institutions perpetuate antisemitism,” Segal said. “It’s been adopted by 32 countries, not to mention countless student governments across the country, so I’d like to work closely with the student government to see this definition adopted.”

Floyd thanked Segal for sharing the definition and said the board would “love to work with him in getting that adopted.”

Board members also provided updates on various initiatives and projects. 

Brennan Conway, who is working to make it possible for student organizations to use outside financial accounts, said the launch of the accounts will be pushed back to January, with a rollout in phases throughout the semester. Conway said he will meet with PNC Bank next week.

“That will just give us some time to work out some of the more nuanced details with the actual implementation.” Conway said. “We will be meeting with PNC Bank next week to get started on that.”

Isabel Lam, chair of the facilities, technology and transportation committee, said she is addressing several issues on campus, including light shield repairs in the Soldiers & Sailors parking garage, problems with Panther cards not swiping properly and trees blocking walk signs on crosswalks. She said she is also planning on organizing a graphic that contains all the apps the University recommends students use.

Dominic Victoria, the chair of the community and governmental relations committee, said his committee finalized seven questions for a survey they plan to send to off-campus students to gather data on renting conditions in Oakland. The committee also scheduled a tenant workshop for Oct. 21 in the Lower Lounge of the William Pitt Union.

In the second open floor of the night, Caleb Shook spoke about a City Council hearing early Tuesday, where members discussed local developer Walnut Capital’s proposal to rezone parts of Oakland.

“There should be community involvement at every step of every development proposal and that’s something that Walnut Capital has just ignored,” Shook said. “They claim that since they went to the Oakland Plan meetings that they know what the Oakland community wants, but they can’t know what the community wants without actually asking them.”

The board also approved the appointments of William Beddick and Nicholas Cassano to the allocations committee.

Allocations 

The allocations committee reviewed 14 requests for a total of $33,823.21. The committee approved a total of $4,824.77. Of the 14 requests, four required board member approval. The board approved a total of $26,065.04.

The Chinese American Student Association requested $10,000 for an on-campus program in collaboration with FRESA, a club celebrating Asian pop dance, with special guest speakers and a dance workshop. The board approved in full.

The Global Medical Brigade requested $3,565.80 to fund additional lensometers to increase capacity to process eyeglasses for Honduras. The board approved in full. 

The African Students Organization requested $9,304.24 for a host, lighting, a custodian, designers and a DJ for Wazobia, the organization’s annual on-campus fashion show. The board approved in full.

The Chem-E Cube engineering club requested $3,195 to fund registration for the First Annual Cube National Competition for three members and costs necessary for the competition. The board approved in full.

Segal formerly worked as a columnist for The Pitt News.

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