SGB oversees mentoring

By Lindsay Carroll

‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Student Government Board met for the first time since the beginning of the… ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Student Government Board met for the first time since the beginning of the semester last night, touting its plans for the fall and accomplishments over the summer. ‘ ‘ ‘ The biggest project was dedicated to Pitt’s incoming freshman class: a mentor program called Panther Partners. ‘ ‘ ‘ The program, pioneered by former president Shady Henien, ‘lacked structure’ until last year’s board member Alexis Chidi and current board member Nila Devanath began to work on the project, said Devanath. ‘ ‘ ‘ Freshman Affairs chair Trista Polaski started work on the project. Through Panther Partners, 58 upperclassmen are mentoring 213 freshmen during their transition from high school to college in the program’s inaugural semester. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘They’ll teach freshmen good study skills and good work environments ‘- how different studying is in high school than in college,’ said Adams. ‘And how much more important.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Mentors in at least their second year at Pitt were selected based on a minimum 2.75 grade point average requirement and an interview, conducted by Adams, Polaski or board members Devanath and Ryan Haddad. ‘ ‘ ‘ But it wasn’t until John Adams was appointed to the Academic Affairs committee chair that the project was fully realized. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Jon made it come through,’ said Devanath. ‘He’s made it real.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ As well as having a mentor to show them campus activities, the city of Pittsburgh or the workings of Port Authority, the freshmen involved can attend seminars on Monday evenings. ‘ ‘ ‘ They also form groups so they can interact with others in the college transition. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘A lot of times they feel like they are the only one who’s going through this,’ said Adams. ‘They can understand there’s someone who’s going through the same thing as I am.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Adams said that about 300 students attended the Panther Partners Kickoff Reception on Aug. 24, and that afterwards, he received positive feedback. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘I anticipated it to be good, but it was better than we expected it to be,’ said Adams. ‘A lot of freshmen went to the reception and then went back to the dorms and told their friends. I got a lot of e-mails asking if it was too late to participate.’ SGB Notes ‘ ‘ ‘ Board member Nila Devanath announced she is working on new SafeRider brochures students will receive in their mailboxes. The brochures will give tips on using the service to show that SafeRider ‘is a limited system, but can be used effectively,’ she said. ‘ ‘ ‘ Devanath also voted against appointing Pitt Mock Trial president Patrick Moroney as the new elections chair. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Patrick was the right choice,’ said Devanath. ‘But someone has to stand up for ideological reasons when an error is made in the selection process.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ Devanath said the Judicial Committee chose Moroney, although it was actually the Election Committee’s decision. She said she voted against the appointment despite Moroney being the best candidate because she believed at least one of the members should speak up about the error. ‘ ‘ ‘ Board member Perry Servedio said that he has continued efforts to work with Computing Services and Systems Development on improvements he has been planning since last year. ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve called CSSD every day and only gotten a voicemail for a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4 ‘- which doesn’t exist,’ said Servedio. ‘ ‘ ‘ Servedio added that CSSD responded to The Pitt News’ phone calls regarding yesterday’s article, ‘Students can print via wireless PittNet,’ but he did not respond to his own phone calls.