Get to Know Pitt’s New SGB

Pitt Students recently elected an entirely new Student Government Board (SGB) of nine people. Pitt’s SGB is the link between students and the administration, but I bet not a lot of people know who these fantastic students are. I thought it’d be best for me to ask them a few questions so Pitt students can get to know our new SGB a little better!

Name and position:

  • Max Kneis, President
  • Zuri Kent-Smith, Executive Vice President
  • Alex Spenceley, Board Member
  • Ian Callahan, Board Member
  • Maddie Guido, Board Member
  • Ciara Barry, Board Member
  • Nihita Manem, Board Member
  • Krish Patel, Board Member
  • Ami Fall, Board member

Her Campus: What most excites you about SGB?

Alex: Being the voice of the student body and interacting with student groups on campus that I would not necessarily have contact with through the other organizations I am involved in.

Max: What most excites me about SGB is the ability we have, to make beneficial change on campus. Whether it’s enabling student organizations through allocating them funding, to working to improve academic, wellness, or facilities policies on campus, SGB can make a difference in the collegiate experiences of every Pitt undergrad.

Maddie: I'm very excited about SGB because of the people and the change that we are capable of. Having been involved in SGB I have met so many inspiring and passionate leaders. It's amazing because the level of dedication that those involved in the organization show raises your expectations of yourself. So, I think that that's what I'm most excited about.

HC: What's a change you'd like to see most in your term?

Alex: A shift away from the belief that Pitt is not an open, accepting university for all students.  Many students seem to hold the belief that Pitt’s various cultural groups exist in complete isolation from one another & there is this awful stigma that the Pitt community does not hold everyone’s best interests at heart.

Ian: For my own initiatives, I would like to see increased accessibility to Pitt’s safety services by adding a Blue Light App. It would allow for students both on and off campus to have quick access to Pitt Police as well as other features such as crime alerts and a virtual buddy system.

Ciara: I would like to see a better relationship formed between the student body and Student Government Board. Our work is based on student feedback, so I hope through the way we conduct our work as a board and communicate with the student body that trust, transparency, and involvement will begin to increase.

Krish: One thing I would love to see is a change in Pitt calendar! I would love to implement a Reading Period into the calendar for Pitt students so we have more time to study for finals!

HC: What's your favorite thing about Pitt?

Alex: Everyone’s pride for being a Pitt student.  Nearly every student you talk to is immensely proud of the fact that they attend school here, which fosters a type of community feeling that is hard to come by at other large universities.

Ian: The thing that I love about this university is that it never feels too big. We have thousands of undergraduate students, and yet every one of them can find their own home. Whether it’s through sports, activities, organizations, or just friends people find along the way, every person at Pitt can find a place where that person has a sense of belonging.

Maddie: I love our different traditions like singing Sweet Caroline at football games and constantly admiring Cathy.

Nihita: Although Pitt is a large school, I always see the same people almost every day. The Pitt atmosphere allows for intimate friendships between students of all different backgrounds to be built.

Ami: The wide span of opportunities available both on and off campus and how close in proximity it is to the Conflict Kitchen!

HC: What's something you're passionate about?

Alex: Personal health. Taking care of myself and my body is very important to me, and it is something that I often put on the back burner when life becomes a little overwhelming.

Max: I’m an avid Philadelphia sports fan, especially when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Ian: I am passionate about getting outdoors. I love to go hiking, canoeing/kayaking, backpacking, or playing pick-up games with my friends. If it allows me to get outside and enjoy nature, I want to do it.

Maddie: I am very passionate about music and reading! I love listening to music and fun fact – I played six instruments in high school.

Ciara: I love playing lacrosse, spending time with my family and friends, and trying new restaurants around the Pittsburgh area... #foodie!

Krish: Something I am passionate about is Religious Studies! I love learning about the past and other people’s perspective about these big questions that many people are searching answers for!

HC: You've worked hard to get elected. What's one piece of advice you'd give to anyone who's trying to attain a goal? 

Alex: It’s easy to forget that taking care of yourself is just as important to attaining a goal as fully committing yourself to its completion. Burning yourself out invariably means that you will be either unable to fulfill your goal or do so to a lesser degree than you would like.

Max: Don’t decide against pursing a position or achieving a goal because you think it might be too hard. Give it a try and work hard to make it happen.

Zuri: Allow your passions to guide you. It is obvious when you genuinely care about an issue, and when you are “going through the motions.”

Ian: Depending on the size of the goal, it can be good to break up the goal into smaller goals. By setting multiple smaller goals, I have found myself more motivated to work towards the pieces rather than the whole goal.

Maddie: I'd say that the easiest thing to fall into when you're trying to attain a goal is being worried that you'll fall on your face. I guess the important thing is trying regardless, since you don't want to regret missing out on an amazing opportunity.

Ciara: Stay focused. It's easy to get distracted when working hard to attain something, but don't worry about what others are doing. Focus on yourself and what you can do to further reach your goal.

Ami: Challenge and inspire yourself and others. Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you. Be relentless.

Nihita: Don’t be afraid to aim higher.

Catch the SGB during their General Body Meetings in Nordy’s Place on Tuesdays at 8:45 PM!


Photo Credit: 1, 2-10: all belong to SGB members