Hello, my name is Nick Bibby. I am currently a sophomore majoring in political science in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. I also serve as the secretary of the Pitt Political Science Student Association, and am a member of the Pitt Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity. I am from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; a small town about three hours east of here. I was the only graduate from my 2016 high school class to make the big leap and attend university here. It was probably one of the most nerve-racking things I have ever decided to take upon. But the Pittsburgh community has welcomed me into their ranks with open arms, to make me truly feel like a Panther. While I have not been very involved with Student Government Board like I have been with some other groups on campus, I fully believe that running for this board position would greatly help me to become more connected with the university and ultimately, listen to and help the amazing students here.
I believe that one way to start with this would be by investing more in our wireless internet technology. I know that I, along with many students I know, have not had the best experiences with the existing wireless internet that the university has right now. It is spotty in some areas around campus, which could potentially inhibit a student’s ability to work for their classes. As a board member, I would heavily look into and research ways we would be able to improve the internet connection for students all over campus, primarily by focusing on the internet connection in dorm buildings, as well as the potential for installing wireless routers on our Pitt shuttles, where most students lose the internet connection on their phones.
On top of this, as a board member, I would pursue ways to improve the relationship and communication between the university and the student organizations around campus. A couple weeks ago, our student activities fair for the spring semester was held; however, very few organizations got the memo that they were even supposed to attend, with the exception of a few of the larger clubs on campus, such as the Black Action Society, the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, etc. I believe that the communication between our vital student organizations and the university administration could be greatly improved upon. The Student Organization Resource Center has made many great strides in improving that relationship already, but we need to do more, such as improving the way announcements are distributed to all registered student organizations on campus. There’s also the potential to work on improving the EMS System that organizations use to book rooms around campus; by expanding upon this and working directly with the Student Organization Resource Center as well as the various student organizations on campus, I believe this would greatly improve the way these clubs function and run their events on campus.
Finally, I believe that one way to help our university is by improving the relationship between our brilliant faculty and the student population. Pittsburgh’s current undergraduate graduation rate within four years is about 64%. Now while this is higher than the national average, one thing I would like to see in my time here, and hopefully into the future, is for that graduation rate to increase, and I believe that starts on improving the relationship between faculty and students. At a large university like ours, establishing and maintaining a good and healthy relationship between advisors and students is not always easiest. In my department, political science, there is a total of two advisors for the entire department. In the humanities in general, there is a general lack of advisors in most departments. With that being said, one initiative I would like to pursue is attempting to establish more faculty advisors in various departments throughout the university. By providing the necessary training and incentives, not only will having more faculty advisors in each department take the burden off of the few faculty members who are already advisors, but it will also be very helpful in creating a stronger relationship between faculty members and the student body, which could lead to benefits like an increased retention rate, and ultimately a much higher graduation rate.
To sum everything up, I humbly ask for your vote this election season for Student Government Board. I believe that my platform of improving the relationship between students and faculty, strengthening our wireless internet connectivity, and working on the communication between our university and our student organizations, greatly addresses the needs of a large portion of our student population. I look forward to working with all of our students to make this university the best it can be not just today, but for many years to come!