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SGB works to strengthen neighborhood relations - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

SGB works to strengthen neighborhood relations

By Dale Shoemaker / Assistant News Editor

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Pitt’s Student Government Board wants students to be good neighbors. 

In light of a recent city initiative against overcrowding in Pittsburgh housing, Pitt’s Student Government Board is developing an off-campus student association to serve as a bridge between students, their neighbors and community organizations like Oakwatch. 

SGB’s association, according to Board President Graeme Meyer, will connect students who live in Oakland neighborhoods and the permanent residents. Meyer said the association is only in its beginning stages, but will help to avoid contention and identify potentially unsafe houses in Oakland by working with community organizations like Oakwatch.

“We want to improve our relationships with our neighbors,” Meyer said, “so we’re working together rather than against one another.” 

Oakwatch, a branch of Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, works to “improve the quality of life for residents,” by enforcing codes and addressing disruptive behavior, excessive noise and underage drinking, according to OPDC’s website. 

Meyer said his first goal for the association is to put together a list of all of the students who live off-campus.  Meyer said SGB will take the list of total students and subtract those who live on-campus and those who commute. Then, he said the association can begin to work with those students to educate them on neighborhood codes. 

Meyer said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of how the association will educate students on the neighborhood codes because the Board is still in planning stages. 

Meyer said he wants to avoid contention between students and other residents over topics like trash removal or loud parties. Permanent Oakland residents voice such concerns, Meyer said, at Oakwatch meetings, which he and some other SGB members attend. 

According to the most recent minutes from an Oakwatch meeting on Feb. 18, a Boundary Street neighbor asked what University administrators could do to end the problem of disruptive drinking. 

John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for community relations, said at the Oakwatch meeting that Pitt could mitigate the effects of student parties by hosting more Be a Good Neighbor block parties, informal meet-and-greet opportunities for students and long-term residents, to foster relationships. 

“Pitt is not trying to sabotage the careers of their students, but would rather seek to communicate that residents have lived in Oakland for years,” Wilds said, according to the minutes. 

Pat Corelli, SGB’s governmental relations chair, said he is focused on identifying specific goals that students can work on with other community members. By learning the trash removal laws and simply going next door to meet the permanent residents, Corelli said students can take the first steps toward establishing better relationships with their neighbors. 

Both Corelli and fellow board member Everett Green, who is also involved in establishing the association, live off campus, they said. 

“We have to work together,” Green said. “[This] does hit close to home for us.”

Allocations:

Women’s club gymnastics requested $1,505 to attend its national competition. The Board approved in full. 

Club tennis requested $1,593.40 to attend its national competition. The Board approved $1318.40 and denied $275. 

Panthers Field Hockey requested $1,536.32 to attend its national competition. The Board denied in full.

Reformed University Fellowship requested $1,852.64 to attend a conference. The Board approved in full.

Some of God’s Children Gospel Choir request $2,855.00 to host its annual show. The Board approved $1,900 and denied $955. 

Brazil Nuts requested $3,277.50 to host its annual cultural event. The Board approved $2,311.32 and denied $966.18.

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
SGB works to strengthen neighborhood relations