SGB remembers Tree of Life massacre, discusses election code bill

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

John Blair | Senior Staff Photographer

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

By Kiera Ledermann, Staff Writer

Student Government Board opened its public meeting Tuesday night with a minute of silence in remembrance of the 2018 Tree of Life massacre.

“Tonight, we remember the victims and stand with our community in the continued fight against antisemitism,” President Harshitha Ramanan said. “Take a moment of silence to reflect and remember the victims and all those affected by this tragedy.”

At its meeting, SGB discussed the conclusion of Mental Health Awareness Month, Year of Data and Society grants, an SGB Elections Code bill and voting day accomodations, among other topics.

Danielle Floyd, vice president of initiatives, thanked students and student organizations who have attended events throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, and said she hopes the events helped students learn about mental health resources on campus as well as their own mental health.

“Personally, I consider Mental Health Awareness Month a success if the words, stress balls, fidget blocks but most importantly these resource cards, cause at least someone to think about their mental health, and maybe that is the push for them to attend drop-in hours at the UCC, a group therapy session or to start to browse through resources at the Thrive @ Pitt website,” Floyd said.

Board member Brennan Conway said SGB approved the first round of Year of Data and Society grants last week. Conway encouraged students interested in grants to apply.

“We approved our first round of grants last week across a wide variety of academic disciplines, some students, some faculty, so we think it was really successful,” Conway said. “The second round of applications will be due Dec. 1 if you’re working on a project that you think has some relation to data and society.”

Marcus Edelstein, the chair of the elections committee, said the board will soon pass an Elections Code bill, but it first needs updating. Former SGB member Ben King initially introduced a bill last year in response to SGB’s tumultuous 2021 elections, but the board deferred a vote until this fall.

Recommended changes in last year’s bill included delaying election result announcements to allow complaints to be filed within 24 hours of polls closing, utilizing “student body-wide emails” for “more comprehensive and effective communication” and having the elections committee conduct independent investigations on complaints.

Edelstein also encouraged students interested in running for SGB to see him about being added to the mailing list and Facebook group.

Bhuvitha Chagantipati, the chair of the diversity and inclusion committee, announced that the event “Intersectionality Round Table Series: Opening Conversations to Mental Health” will take place Thursday at 8 p.m. on Zoom. The event will involve a series of faculty-led discussion-based workshops to discuss mental health stigmas and how to address them.

Isabel Lam, the chair of the facilities, technology and transportation committee, said Pits Parking Service fixed the broken light shields in Soldiers & Sailors parking garage this week. Lam also said she worked with the communications team to advertise SGB’s free lawyer consultation service on social media.

Annalise Abraham, Student Office of Sustainability liaison, said she met with the Green Fund manager and a judicial committee member to discuss a potential green fund and sustainability fee, which was brought up during last week’s meeting.

“It looks like we’re moving in two directions,” Abraham said. “One, how to increase the visibility of the fund, and two, looking at additional funding sources for the fund. We are looking to meet with the Student Office of Sustainability adviser next.”

During stipended student leader reports, Danielle Obisie-Orlu, Resident Student Association president, gave updates on RSA’s past and future events. Obisie-Orlu said nearly 800 people attended RSA’s Non-Alcoholic Mix Off last Friday. Obisie-Orlu said RSA plans to host a town hall for Native American Heritage Month on Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

During one of the night’s open floors, Derek Dressler, a sophomore political science and psychology major, asked the board for an update about giving students a day off or providing accommodations for Election Day next Tuesday. 

Board member Matt Moore said he is discussing this issue with a representative from Pitt Votes tomorrow. He said he also plans to discuss it with the Dietrich Undergraduate Council Friday.

During another open floor, Steve Anderson, the residence life director and SGB’s adviser, encouraged students to “make good decisions” during Halloween weekend and thanked students for participating in Mental Health Awareness Month.

“Please make good decisions, good choices and be responsible and be the upstanding Panthers that you are,” Anderson said. “Thank you for looking out for each other and taking care of yourselves as we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month.”

Allocations 

The allocations committee reviewed 15 requests for a total of $38,359.68. The committee approved a total of $3,625.97. Of the 15 requests, eight required board approval. The board approved a total of $18,688.54.

Pittsburgh Club Baseball requested $8,220.85 last week to fund travel and lodging for a competition in Florida over spring break. The board motioned to postpone the vote of the allocations request until this week, because there was not a representative from the organization present at last week’s meeting. The board denied the request in full as the competition is during spring break and the games are non-conference. 

Pittsburgh Club Baseball placed a second request for $5,444.26 to fund hotel rooms and registration for conference games in March against Penn State. The board approved in full.

Alpha Kappa Psi requested $10,252 to fund travel and lodging for a professional development conference in Chicago. The allocations committee recommended decreasing the number of attendees from 20 to 4, and the board approved $1,394.12.

The Women’s Choral Ensemble requested $2,448 for concert uniforms to outfit a greater membership than in previous years. The board approved in full. 

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers requested $1,611.36 to fund travel and admission to the AlChE Annual Student Conference. The board approved in full.

Model UN requested $2,413.60 to fund travel and lodging for a competition this fall. The competition is necessary to qualify for a larger competition in the spring. The board approved in full.

Model UN also requested $2,661.80 to fund travel and lodging for a second competition this fall. The competition is also necessary to qualify for a larger competition in the spring. The board approved $2,586.40 due to the $5,000 cap on competition funding. 

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers requested $2,790.80 to fund flights to and registration for the SHPE National Convention. The board approved in full.

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