SGB swears in ninth member

Back to Article
Back to Article

SGB swears in ninth member

By Lauren Wilson / Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Four months after the position became available — and one month into the school year — Robert Tessier has filled the empty seat at Pitt Student Government Board’s table.

Deferring most individual board member and committee reports for a week, SGB spent a majority of Tuesday’s weekly meeting filling its empty seat.

After two rounds of public interviews and private deliberations, the Board voted unanimously to fill its open position. The Board swore in Tessier, a senior neuroscience and sociology major, after its vote.

“We think you’ll be a great asset,” Board President Nasreen Harun said. Tessier will start working on the Board effective immediately.

Before the Board’s announcement, the five candidates endured public interviews in front of the eight sitting Board members, about 20 other students and SGB committee members in the William Pitt Union’s Nordy’s Place.

The Board interviewed each of the five applicants — Tessier, Kaitlyn Pendrak, Harry O’Byrne, Rebecca Tasker and Charles Q. Yang — for five minutes before SGB deliberated. After its first round of deliberations, SGB invited three of the candidates — Tessier, Pendrak and Yang — back for a second round of 15-minute interviews.

SGB has worked with eight Board members instead of its standard nine since former president Graeme Meyer resigned his post at the end of May.

After Meyer resigned, then-Executive Vice President Harun moved up to fill the presidency — which is the rule per SGB’s governing code. Board member Everett Green filled Harun’s position as executive vice president.

After SGB opened applications for the open board position Sept. 23, nine students initially applied by the Oct. 2 deadline, Harun said. The Board invited five of the applicants to interview Tuesday. One of the nine applicants pulled their application before the Board sent interview invitations.

Following public interviews, all five candidates waited while the Board deliberated privately for 20 minutes in its eighth floor office in the William Pitt Union before returning to Nordy’s Place for the second round of interviews.

During his first interview, Tessier said it wasn’t until his junior year that he came to love his school. That love, Tessier said, is why he applied for the open Board position.

“I have a desire to give back education and help and empower others to have the same kind of experience that I had,” Tessier said during his interview.

Tessier said he didn’t run for the Board during the campaign season because he was too busy and didn’t want to be irresponsible.

Pendrak, a sophomore political science and philosophy major, said she applied for the position because she saw it as an opportunity she didn’t want to miss.

“I couldn’t pass this up,” Pendrak said. “Everything was aligned.”

O’Byrne, the third to interview and a junior bioengineering major, said he was drawn to SGB because he wanted to “make a lasting impact.” He said that SGB tends to “focus more on freshman and sophomores” but that it should also focus on students preparing to enter the workforce.

For Tasker, a seat on the Board would offer her the chance to make a difference on campus.

“It’s not just something to add to a resumé. It’s something I can use to help change things on campus,” Tasker said. “I would make SGB more involved and transparent.”

The last to interview, Yang, a junior marketing and psychology major who transferred to Pitt last semester, said he’s passionate about Pitt and the Pittsburgh community and the opportunity to impact Pitt.

During his second interview, Tessier said he would appreciate the opportunity to work on large-scale projects for SGB. He described himself as “adaptable” because of his ability to work with two very different organizations, Humanity in Action and Delta Chi, in different roles.

Tessier said his background in martial arts left him with a hands-on approach as a leader.

“You can’t lead [others] without being there and doing it with them,” he said.

Given that SGB works closely with Pitt’s administration, Tessier said he would give deference to the administration’s ideas but also challenge them.

“SGB has to walk a very fine line because they have to push their own initiatives and what students want, but I imagine sometimes the administration will probably see things differently,” he said.

Tessier said he hopes to move forward with his proposed initiative to support Pitt’s current bystander intervention training programs and introduce Circle of 6 — a smartphone app students can use to call for help in the event of an emergency on campus.

Harun said she is meeting with Tessier starting Wednesday to begin his training.


The American Institute of Chemical Engineers requested $2,548 to attend a conference. SGB approved $1,961.25  and denied $586.75 per the allocations recommendation.

The Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh requested $4,399.41 to host an event on campus. SGB approved the request in full.

Pitt’s Model United Nations requested $4,454.38 but withdrew its request at Tuesday’s meeting.

Leave a comment.