Albert Tanjaya

Board Candidate
582 Bridges
Philadelphia, PA
Computer Science

As an immigrant from Indonesia fleeing religious persecution, I entered the United States and settled in South Philadelphia with hardly any English, no close relatives, no friends, and with only my parents who knew limited English and the ability to cook and manage. With just broken English and a small food truck on the corner of 17th and Market, my parents provided for me and little sister with the necessities to live, to get educated, and to dream of receiving an American university degree. When I graduated from high school, that dream became closer and closer to reality, but when I accepted my admission into Pitt and arrived at Pitt, the familiarity of loneliness and isolation came back as if I was three years old again. But because I was surrounded by such great support systems like the friends I’ve made, the teachers and staff I’ve connected with, and the vast student organizations that I joined, I quickly grew to appreciate Pitt and what it had and still has to offer.

My decision to run for student government comes from my personal belief of giving back, of repaying a debt owed to the communities and support systems that led me and nurtured me here. One of my favorite and recently discovered quotes is “To serve is to live” from Frances Hesselbein during my time at the Hesselbein Global Academy hosted here at Pitt this past summer. As only a Sophomore intending on majoring in Computer Science, minoring in Comparative Politics, and getting a certificate in Asian Studies, I sit on the board for the Asian Students Alliance (ASA) as the Advocacy Chair and my mission is to bring educational cultural awareness not only to the Asian American community but also as a whole to Pitt’s campus. I also sit on the board for the year-old fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) as the recording secretary with the intent to challenge Greek life stereotypes. Another board I am apart of is Humans of Pitt as the logistics coordinator, the recording secretary for SGB’s The Assembly, an OCC honors recipient and brand ambassador and also a 2nd-year corp member for Jumpstart, whose mission is to bridge the education gap of pre-K and kindergarteners in underprivileged schools. Throughout my one and half years so far at Pitt, I have cultivated my leadership, time management, organizational, and creative skills.

One of my top initiatives on board would be to update the EMS booking systems to allow student organizations to reserve rooms in Posvar, Sennott Square, the rest of the David Lawrence Hall, and other halls with available space suitable for student organizations. With over 500 student organizations on campus, student organizations require the ability to reserve other rooms.

Another initiative to add transparency and clarity for those who are curious about the progress of SGB projects would be to implement a progress bar or a variation of it to track the stage and the status of a project. By doing so, will allow the entire Pitt community to check in on a project with a few clicks on the SGB website and without sending a single email.

Additionally, another initiative I would like to see is the development and growth of Pitt’s Professional Mentor Pilot Program started by the Career Development and Placement Assessment (CDPA) department. I had the pleasure of being one of the few students to participate in the program. The goal is to match you with an alumni mentor, preferably someone within your major, and the program will help you bond with your mentor and get to listen in on advice, whether it be personal or career wise. The program should also gain you networking experiences, but so far this academic year, the program offered no environment for a chance to connect and get to know your mentor. I feel as this program may be beneficial to many students who are looking to get ahead in their career path and also to understand and begin the process of networking. A few changes would include, ensuring you and your mentor to have a day or reoccurring days where you could meet face to face. Additionally, the program would ensure to prioritize alumni that matched with your hometown and a few iterative days where the program checks in with you to ensure maximum compatibility.

Some other relatively longer initiatives I plan on at least rolling the ball on include surveying a place for Pitt’s own tennis courts instead of trekking all the way to Schenley Park, having Sodexo be culturally accurate when preparing cultural food by allowing students to demonstrate in a safe manner, begin talks about partnering up with HealthyRide to be able to use our student IDs on the bike rental stations across campus and implementing a few additional DIY bike maintenance sites with clear signs on upper campus, South Oakland, and North Oakland.

With these initiatives, I plan on serving the Pitt student body to the fullest extent. As someone of Asian descent, who represents about 10% of the student body, I hope to make SGB a support system for everyone and to all student organizations just as Pitt did for me and I hope to inspire others to give back and to serve. Hail to Pitt!