The Pitt News

Board makes progress on new website, students react

By Abbey Reighard and Marjorie Tolsdorf / The Pitt News Staff

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The Student Government Board is rolling out its new website, which it says will have less virtual clutter and more room for comment.  

SGB President Graeme Meyer said he expects to finish the new website this weekend. Meyer started thinking about many of the ideas for the new site when he was a Board member last term, but added that the website content has been a collaborative effort between all of the current Board members. The new site will be more clear and student-friendly than the previous SGB site, according to Meyer.

“It has the same features in terms of [listing] office hours, but we kind of broke it up and made it easier to find tabs for students,” Meyer said.

One of the additions to the new website is a feature Meyer called the “What To Fix” page, where students can leave questions, comments or concerns for Board members. Meyer said he saw “WTF” pages on other Student Government sites from other universities, such as Penn State. 

Cody Siegfried, a senior majoring in finance and marketing, said he doesn’t think he’ll be visiting the website. Siegfried said that, in theory, the comments section is an important addition, but in practice, he doubts many Pitt students will utilize it, because he said it seems unlikely a student comment will have the power to cause change. 

“I would probably not use it. In my four years here, I have never heard of one thing [SGB] has done that has directly affected my life,” Siegfried said. 

Meyer also said he intends to include an online breakdown of the Student Activities Fund, so students can see where the money they pay in the Student Activities Fee goes. This will also break down how the Board distributes a portion of the money collected from the student activities fee.. The current Board has allocated $126,735.31 so far this semester, according to the website, which the Board updated after a public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 17. 

Other additional features on the website will include tabs for current projects and project initiatives, a Frequently Asked Questions page, financial reports and every Student Government Bill dated back to 2009. 

Meyer said he organizes and updates the website, but all the Board members and Committee Chairs will contribute content about their initiatives and other campus events. 

Some students were not aware of the changes, such as the “WTF” page, that SGB is planning for the new website. 

Thomas Behan, a sophomore majoring in information science, said the suggestions portion of the website is important because if students have a school-related issue, their individual voices are more likely to be heard.

“But it all depends on how likely the [Board] is to listen to the suggestions,” he said. 

Every Board member will be responsible for checking the “WTF” page, reviewing the suggestions and responding to comments, ideally within 48 hours, Meyer said. Meyer added that he will assign a Board member to respond to the comments, depending on which Board member has the most availability at the time of the submission. 

Board member Lia Petrose said that, because the website is still under construction, the Board hasn’t begun advertising the website “fully to the student body.” 

Meyer said the Board will create a Branding Task Force, open to any students who want to join, and a social media campaign to promote the website. 

Petrose added that the Board aims for the website to be “an all-in-one location for services offered to the student body.” 

“It will be more interactive, more descriptive and will include more content than its predecessor,” Petrose said.

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Board makes progress on new website, students react