SGB says goodbye at last meeting of the year

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Patrick Cavanagh | Senior Staff Photographer

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

By Donata Massimiani, Staff Writer

Student Government Board’s last public meeting of the year featured tearful goodbyes and well wishes for the future. President Harshitha Ramanan began the meeting by announcing she had no official business to cover.

“I don’t really have anything to say in terms of official business tonight, although there is a lot still left to say,” Ramanan said. “I wish you all the best on finals and your future endeavors, whether that may be continuing on at Pitt for undergrad or graduating and taking on the world.”

At the Tuesday evening meeting in Nordy’s Place, board members shared memories about their time at Pitt and voted on Resolution R-2021-3, a resolution in support of Pitt’s state appropriations, as well as two allocation requests.

The board voted unanimously to pass resolution R-2021-3, which calls on the state government to pass the annual appropriations bill for Pitt. This bill funds an in-state tuition discount for Pennsylvanians that saves nearly 17,000 Pitt students approximately $15,000 a year, according to Brennan Conway, a board member and the vice president of initiatives.

Conway said the state has historically passed the appropriations bill on an annual basis, but this year Pitt faces a serious threat of losing this state funding.

“It is disheartening that elected representatives would put personal gain and partisan politics ahead of the good of the commonwealth and the exceptional higher education this institution has provided for over 200 years,” Conway said, reading the resolution. “This spiteful blocking is more than unheard of — it is precedent-setting, and will impact our community, economy and commonwealth for generations to come.”

After the vote, Isabel Weir, the chair of the allocations committee, said being a part of SGB has been one of her most impactful experiences throughout her time at Pitt.

“During the fall of sophomore year I was not having a good time, and I remember my dad asked me what things I really like about Pitt,” Weir said. “I remember the two things that I had at the top of my list were my friends and allocations. While I’ve added a lot more to that list since then, those two things have always been at the very top.”

Aboli Kesbhat, a board member and the vice president of operations, said her work with the allocations committee the last four years is what she’s most proud of. She said while this year has been hard, she “wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.”

“Regardless of what peoples’ perception is of SGB, I can assure you that this board has done some pretty incredible things,” Kesbhat said. “You learn you can’t make everyone happy, so you do what you can, and I’d say what we’ve done has at least made Pitt a better place for a few more people.”

Ramanan concluded the meeting by giving shoutouts to graduating seniors and thanking them for all of their support.

“I did write something up, but I don’t think I’m going to read it,” Ramanan said. “I think there’s just far too much to say that none of my words could possibly portray what I’ve been going through this year.”

Allocations

Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership fraternity, requested $1,848 to fund membership dues. The board approved the request in full. 

Engineers Without Borders, a service organization that works closely with the Swanson School of Engineering, requested $13,612.54 to pay for equipment needed for their trips to Ecuador and Bolivia. The board approved $5,321.69 and excluded many areas of the request that the allocations committee is not permitted to fund for.