Road work ahead? Uh yeah I sure hope it does...are you also tired of wondering where the money for the seemingly endless construction comes from? My name is Katie Richmond and I’m a second year Mechanical Engineering student and I’m running on your slate. Wait what? I mean my slate. I mean my slate which is called your slate because it’s really all about you!
At a school of this size, Student Government plays an integral role in bringing everyone together to feel like a community. Unfortunately, Pitt doesn’t feel like a unified community for everyone. Many students feel like they are just an Arts & Sciences kid, just an Engineering kid, just a Nursing kid. I want to get involved to work towards giving students the opportunity to feel like part of the entirety of the University of Pittsburgh. Within the community, the largest issue that I want to work towards is getting students more access to mental health resources across campus. Both Disability Resources and Services and the Wellness Center are overworked and understaffed. Hiring more employees isn’t as simple as it sounds, but the University’s budgetary transparency is greatly lacking in general. This University is for the students, shouldn’t we know where our money goes? How our University is run? When it comes down to it, Student Government is a voice for the students, a bridge between us and the administration. So let’s open up the conversation.
Pitt is a great school, with a lot of great staff members, but not always enough of them. Particularly in the departments and facilities that deal with mental health issues on campus. Disabilities and Resources Services has fantastic counselors working there, but for new students that want to sign up for accommodations, many students have that told me they had to wait for weeks to get an initial appointment. For students already assigned to a counselor, meeting times are being decreased to be able to fit more students in. In the wellness center, if you need a walk in appointment, you are told right off the bat that they don’t have the capacity to be taking in long term patients, and that they’re more than happy to refer you to doctors outside of Pitt. They care so much, but being overworked and understaffed is leaving staff members unable to perform their duties to the ability that they want to, and to the ability that Pitt students deserve. This is a big school that takes in big bucks, so why are so many of our students struggling and unable to get the full level of support that they need to succeed?
As an engineer, I am acutely aware of the fact that it often feels like I am only a student of the Swanson School of Engineering. I love Swanson, but I often feel like there’s a whole world that I’m missing out on. Having spoken to my engineering peers, as well as members of the other smaller schools, I am not alone in this sentiment. Even for Dietrich students, there are so many majors and fields of study that the unity is really lacking. Pitt does a great job of coming together for big events or tragedies, but many people feel like they’re missing out in their day to day life. Bringing an overarching feeling of belonging across campus is something that’s very important to me as someone that understands what it means to spend most of their time in only one building on this large campus.