SGB hosts Pitt IT, discusses student safety

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

Alyssa Carnevali | Staff Photographer

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

By Kiera Ledermann, Staff Writer

Pitt IT is constantly looking for ways to engage with students, the organization’s top official said  at Tuesday night’s Student Government Board meeting.

“Any way that we can figure out how to gain your input, how to gain engagement with you, how to hear your voices, how to utilize your input to steer us in the right direction in terms of IT initiatives that we advocate is greatly appreciated,” Mark Henderson, Pitt’s chief information officer, said.

SGB hosted representatives from Pitt IT for an information and Q&A session at Tuesday night’s public meeting. Along with technology updates from Pitt IT, SGB board members discussed Residence Inn Bigelow safety concerns, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and an elections code bill.

During the question and answer portion of the evening, Aboli Kesbhat, vice president of operations, asked where students should look for help with devices. Henderson said the help desk — which is available through text, phone and email — can answer most questions.

A first-year meeting attendee said when multiple students in their computing and information class try to access JupyterLab — a programming software — it freezes up and students are unable to work during the lab period. The first-year asked Pitt IT if it plans on making it “more resilient to traffic” or if it will be something students will have to “work around.”

Henderson said Pitt IT will send network engineers to survey the affected classrooms and “take a look” at the traffic.

“We’re constantly looking at opportunities to upgrade our infrastructure,” Henderson said. “Any time that you’re having these kinds of challenges feel free to contact the help desk or to point out to your TAs or your faculty members and we’ll be right on it.”

Danielle Floyd, vice president of initiatives, asked about plans to include a “remember me for 48 hours” function on Duo Mobile.

Henderson said although two-factor authentication can be “a pain,” there are no plans to include such a feature due to safety concerns.

“Ne’er-do-wellers are investing a lot trying to get the University’s data — your data,” Henderson said. “We try to safeguard it to the greatest ability and putting these kinds of controls in — even though it might be inconvenient — go a long way in securing your information.”

Kesbhat said she will send a survey on Friday to all student groups registered with the Student Organization Resource Center. According to Kesbhat, the survey will aim to gauge financial needs of students and student organizations.

“We are trying to figure out what is the best way to go about looking at the reserve fund, looking at better ways to separate the student activities fee, so that more of that money is being used for you guys because you guys are the ones paying into it,” Kesbhat said.

Isabel Lam, the chair of the facilities, technology and transportation committee, said she is working on providing solutions to a lack of blue lights on the route from lower campus to the Residence Inn Bigelow, where many first-year students currently live. Lam recommended downloading the RAVE Guardian app, which she describes as “basically a blue light system on your phone.” Hours for the Residence Inn Bigelow express shuttle have also been extended to midnight from Monday to Thursday.

Marcus Edelstein, the chair of the elections committee, said he introduced a bill to reform SGB’s elections code to the board this week. 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. A copy of the bill was not immediately available for review by The Pitt News. Edelstein also said he will be tabling outside William Pitt Union from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday to talk to students about running for SGB.

Annalise Abraham, Student Office of Sustainability liaison, announced that Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is occurring this week. She encouraged students to donate nonperishable food to the Pitt Pantry’s specialty food drive through Thursday at the Eatery, the Perch or the Bellefield Presbyterian Church.

To conclude the meeting, President Harshitha Ramanan thanked Isabel Stash, the chair of the academic affairs committee, for her work throughout the semester. Stash resigned from her position last week because she is moving to Paris next semester to study abroad.

“We worked a lot together this semester, especially because of COVID, and various factors in transitioning from different academic backgrounds such as going from online to in-person learning,” Ramanan said. “I’ve also gotten to know Bella as a person and can now call her a friend so I’m really excited for her and hope she has a lot of fun in Paris.”

Allocations

The allocations committee reviewed eight requests for a total of $17,715.06. The committee approved a total of $2,105.96. Of the eight requests, four required board approval. The board approved a total of $18,234.10.

Lady Panther Club Lacrosse requested $13,820 to fund a tournament fee, flights, hotel, van and parking for a February competition at UCLA in California. The board approved $12,500 to cap. 

Heinz Chapel Choir requested $1,200 for a WQED livestream and Christmas day broadcast for students unable to attend the holiday concert and for an organist to play in the spring. The board approved in full.

Student Emergency Medical Services requested $4,228.76 for registration and lodging for 45 students to attend the annual National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation competition. The committee recommended to approve $1,125 in line with the allocations manual rule of only funding for four students at a conference. SEMS amended the requested amount to $3,750 to cover registration costs for members. The board approved in full.

Athletic Training Student Association requested $4,461.42 to fund lodging, transportation and registration for 22 students to the Eastern Athletic Training Association Annual Conference. The board approved $784.10 with the allocations committee recommendation to fund registration, lodging and transportation for four people.

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