Leadership Perspectives

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Hey Tartans,

Happy Halloween! I hope that everyone had a fun weekend. I spent most of my Halloween in Philadelphia as one of the two million people cheering on the Phillies. It was incredible.

While I’d love to talk about baseball for the entirety of this column, let’s get back to the real reason I’m writing to you. As Carnegie Mellon students living in Pittsburgh for at least four years, we represent more than just visitors to this city. We use public transit. We live in off-campus apartments. We work for local businesses. As such, there are a number of local issues that directly impact us. Yet in my time at Carnegie Mellon, I’ve rarely seen students have a consistent presence in dealing with any of these local issues.

The Port Authority, the pouring tax, and the number of students living off campus are a few of the issues that I want to see student government speaking out about on your behalf. In an attempt to have an increased involvement in Pittsburgh issues, Pooja and I have reached out to the major student government leaders at every university in the city to form a Pittsburgh Student Government Executive Board. Our vision is to bring these leaders together to stimulate a conversation about these topics and to ultimately issue a unified student response to these concerns. Let’s petition for the maintenance of Port Authority routes. Let’s make sure no one gets kicked out of Beeler Street properties. Let’s make sure that Carnegie Mellon students have a say in matters affecting our city.

To help us with this initiative and with others, Pooja and I have made our President’s Cabinet appointments. Our chief of staff will be Megan Larcom, a former Student Senate Executive Committee chair, whose focus will be on student government’s role in Pittsburgh local issues and our relationship with Carnegie Mellon-Qatar. Vanessa Koch, who led the advertising for our campaign, CMUnity, will be our PR secretary. Aneesh Devi, an RA, active member in OM, Bhangra in the Burgh, and member of JFC, will be our constitutional adviser.

On a final note, this Tuesday night, Nov. 4, Pooja and I will host an elections returns watching party in Rangos with the help of the Activities Board. In addition to having delicious (and free!) food, you can watch the returns roll in on CNN, MSNBC, and even FOXNews for what is the most anticipated election in decades — or ever. Oh, and by the way, get out and vote!