Supporting student tenants’ rights, sustainability and more: SGB members hold first public meeting of the semester


Patrick Cavanagh | Senior Staff Photographer

Student Government Board at their first meeting of the semester Tuesday night at Nordy’s Place.

By Bella Markovitz, Staff Writer

At their first public meeting of the school year on Tuesday evening, the Student Government Board approved a charter for a new Renters First Task Force to support student renters, improve off-campus living and support tenants’ rights.

Vice President of Governance Derek Dressler introduced the charter. He said the task force will strive to better all aspects of off-campus living by “listening to and acting upon students’ concerns, ensuring every renter has the best support available and partnering with city and community officials to guarantee that all renting practices adhere to applicable laws and regulations.”

“Most students at some point in time live off campus, and we partly want to make sure that that is a great, safe place to live, [that] landlords are treating students fairly and safety communication advocacy efforts are being prioritized for students, and that’s something we really have a lot of movement already going on,” Dressler said.

Katie Fitzpatrick, the chair of the community and governmental relations committee, added that SGB will host two tenant town halls this semester on Oct. 25 and Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the William Pitt Union’s lower lounge. 

Board member Sophia Shapiro also said as the community and government relations liaison she’ll work to inform students on topics such as tenants’ rights, public safety and civic engagement with the help of Pitt Serves and Pitt Votes

The board also discussed Pitt’s ongoing sustainability efforts and open committee positions.

President Danielle Floyd said there’s open applications for First Year Council and first year positions on allocations, elections, judicial and civic engagement fellows. Interested students can apply through the join us page on SGB’s website. 

“My goal this year is to embody the vital voices of all Pitt students,” Floyd said. “I’m here to support all of you.”

Floyd said in addition to improving off-campus housing for students, SGB strongly supports the Pitt Green Fund and Pitt Sustainability’s efforts to make campus more sustainable. At the meeting, Aurora Sharrard, the University’s executive director of sustainability, reiterated Pitt’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2037.

“Just over three quarters of students are really interested in sustainability in their universities, and at the University of Pittsburgh, we’ve been working hard on sustainability over the past several years,” Sharrard said. “At the University, we’re really working hard to embed sustainability in everything that we do.”

Jaydep Halder, the chair of the facilities, technology and transportation committee, said renovations to the sixth floor of the WPU are ongoing. Student organizations have struggled to navigate limited space on this floor. 

“Currently, we are in the process of transforming that area into the Office of Belonging and Inclusion, and we recently had our first task force in August, and following that we realized that many of the organizations on the floor are not represented in that task force so far, and I have been reaching out to these groups to see if they want to join in to have their voices heard,” Halder said. “And the overall renovation process is currently in its beginning stages.” 

The board also approved Judicial Committee Chair Leonie Finke’s motion to appoint Laura Alcock and Jacob Emmerson to the 2022-23 judicial committee.


The Chinese American Student Association requested $2,860.68 to pay for a Mid-Autumn Festival, a major holiday celebrated throughout Asia. This event will be in collaboration with the Vietnamese Student Association. $1,500 will be used to host Demxntia, a Vietnamese-American producer and advocate, and $1,200 for food. The board approved the request in full.