Nikhita Chakraborty (she/her)
History and Political Science
My name is Nikhita Chakraborty (she/her), and I am a sophomore double majoring in History and Political Science, with a minor in Studio Arts. Outside of SGB, I am a varsity member of the Pitt Parliamentary Debate team, a member of Her Campus, and a part of the professional law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. I also teach public speaking and debate skills to high school students on a voluntary basis for my old team. I have been involved with Student Government Board since my first year at Pitt; from being a member of the First Year Council and the Community and Governmental Relations committee, to then becoming the vice chair of that committee as a sophomore, every step I’ve taken in Pitt has been accompanied by a corresponding step in SGB. I am extremely excited to be taking a further step in SGB, and if elected, I would be honored to continue this path by serving as your board member. Being involved in SGB since my first year has introduced me to an amazing cast of students, administration, and staff around campus—all people that have bettered my experience as a Pitt student over the past two years. I’m very fortunate to have been able to integrate myself so deeply into campus activities, whether it be becoming involved in the work to create Pitt Votes, a task force concerning civic engagement on campus, or working on the Community and Governmental Relations Committee’s projects such as our immigration law panel last year—all of these experiences have given me an insight into the lives of a diverse group of students. The past two years have given me the opportunity to step into the shoes of my fellow students and advocate for them, and it was my passion for doing so that inspired me to run for board this year! If elected as your board member, I will be focusing on three main initiatives: increasing diversity in academic resources, introducing new mental health resources, and focusing on legal transparency for students. (1) Increasing diversity in academic resources on campus is crucial for creating more open, accessible academic spaces on such a diverse campus as ours’; I aim to accomplish this by creating a network for international, immigrant, and poc students through students, administration, and staff that reflect their cultural and racial identities. The first step to making academic spaces more accessible for students of various cultural identities is ensuring that the people in those spaces are making it more accommodating in the first place. (2) Introducing new mental health resources that aim to spark more conversation about mental health problems between students is the first step in more mentally healthy students. By creating more preventative mental health resources, such as stress management and healthy relationship workshops, we are able to craft safe spaces for students to fall back on when they feel their mental health suffering; I also aim to introduce financial handling/career and job finding workshops on a year-long basis for students, all courses proved to decrease mental health worries for many students. (3) Focusing on legal transparency for undergraduate students is a question that has been unaddressed for too long; I want to create a friendly, easily accessible legal resource for students in the heart of campus. By creating a legal liaison, as well as teaching SGB members that are required to hold office hours more about legal proceedings that concern students in specific, we will be able to encourage a culture of transparency between the university and students, thus creating an overall more open space for input and communication. Legal questions from students answered by students creates a more inviting arena for students with legal issues; on top of that, a legal liaison will also have the ability to publicize other legal tools we offer, such as looking over leases through the housing department on campus. I believe in providing the best resources for every single Pitt student, and these initiatives will take us one step closer to achieving that goal. These past few months have tested us in ways we didn’t even know possible, but I know we have the strength to stay strong; our community of students has already come together in a truly extraordinary way. And we can continue this trend and grow even stronger—take a step with me towards the Brightside, and I’ll show you how.