SGB holds focus groups to improve portal

By Lindsay Carroll

‘ ‘ ‘ New focus groups should help improve the portal for Pitt students, said… ‘ ‘ ‘ New focus groups should help improve the portal for Pitt students, said Student Government Board member Perry Servedio during last night’s meeting. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Students themselves are sitting down with CSSD face-to-face,’ said Servedio. ‘The students in that room last Thursday described it as liberating.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ In the first of three Computer Services and Systems Development focus group meetings, most of the discussion focused on webmail, Servedio said. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘It wasn’t like everyone was bashing CSSD about it,’ he said. ‘It was topic-led discussion.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ He said students felt that the portal was too cluttered and that they couldn’t get to the most important things they needed, which was generally their e-mail, GPA, PittPay account, PeopleSoft numbers and course information. ‘ ‘ ‘ SGB planned focus groups for three Thursdays, spanning from last week until next week. About 20 people attended the last focus group, said Servedio, and about 16 are scheduled for next week. ‘ ‘ ‘ He said that each session will have a fresh group of students and that he hopes that each session will ‘bring to light a lot of the same issues as the last focus group,’ so CSSD can address the most important issues to students. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘The goal was to get a diverse range of students with different backgrounds,’ said Servedio. ‘ ‘ ‘ He said that the first meeting incorporated student leaders ranging from sophomores to seniors, and that he hoped more freshmen would attend the next two sessions. ‘ ‘ ‘ Students applied for focus group positions by filling out a form in the SGB office at the William Pitt Union, he said. CSSD officials attended to mediate and take notes on students’ concerns. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘The big thing that they told us was that they want to do everything they can to make this service as good as possible. But they can’t really do that without student feedback,’ said Servedio. ‘ ‘ ‘ Servedio said that the next focus group is full, but the third session, which would meet next Thursday, is still open for applications. SGB Notes ‘ ‘ ‘ The board unanimously denied a conference request from Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, for $13,198.56. ‘ ‘ ‘ The group’s vice president of finance, Madeline Moran, said that last week, SGB denied its $3,998 request for a trip to Toronto because of allocations legislation it was not aware of. Allocations does not grant conference requests for trips out of the country. ‘ ‘ ‘ Within 12 hours, she said the group then planned a new trip to New York, which it hoped would comply with the board’s requirements. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘This is one of our signature things we do as a professional fraternity,’ said Moran. ‘It’s to enhance networking and professional skills development.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Moran said the group planned on networking with international corporations. The fraternity also made connections with alumni contacts in New York, which is where the founding chapter of Delta Sigma Pi is based, she said. ‘ ‘ ‘ Board member Ryan Very said he voted against the request because Delta Sigma Pi did not present detailed enough networking plans. ‘ ‘ ‘ Servedio said that this seemed more like a general trip than a traditional conference. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I just don’t see how this is any different from just going to New York to network,’ said Servedio. ‘I’m looking for some substance here other than a trip to New York City to network with their founding chapter.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Also last night, the board approved a resolution to recognize the Student Vote Coalition, which registers students to vote, as the ‘sole voter registration entity’ on campus recognized by SGB and the administration. SGB tabled the resolution at last week’s meeting, as per SGB custom. ‘ ‘ ‘ The resolution would not ban other groups from registering voters but would be recognized as a credible group for student voters.