A message from your Student Body President, Erik Michaels-Ober

I hope that you had an enriching summer and that you are enjoying your new courses. This column will allow me to share with you some of the projects on which Student Government is working.

This past June, I visited Carnegie Mellon in Qatar (CMU-Q), our newest branch campus. I am excited about the opportunities this campus will offer and the ways that it will be shaped by its first class. While I was there, I met some of the students of this class and will be working with them to establish their own Student Government. I am looking forward to this and future collaboration with our peers in Qatar.

On August 31, after the first-ever day of classes at CMU-Q, a videoconference was held between these two Carnegie Mellon campuses in our newly-opened Posner Center. This allowed students on both sides to ask each other questions and start building partnerships. One idea that came out of this discussion was an exchange program that would allow students from CMU-Q to study for a semester in Pittsburgh, and vice versa. This will serve to broaden the diversity on our campus and on theirs. I will be working to set up another videoconference with CMU-Q in the near future.

For those of you who have not yet explored the Posner Center, I encourage you to check it out. The building is located between the College of Fine Arts and the Tepper School of Business, and is open from 1 to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. It houses the Posner Memorial Collection, composed of rare and historic books and art, including one of four existing copies of the first printing of the United States Bill of Rights.

The Center was designed with the environment in mind: it seeks to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for sustainable development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. In fact, campus buildings like New House and the Posner Center help make Pittsburgh the city with the most LEED-certified buildings in the nation.

The roof of the Posner Center will soon feature the Kraus Campo, a garden and gathering place that combines art, horticulture, and landscape design in an integrated work that is symbolic of the multidisciplinary philosophy of the university. The green roof will serve aesthetic, practical, and ecological purposes, retaining stormwater that might otherwise run into the sewer system and cause it to overflow.

In an ongoing effort to improve student space on campus and involve more students in Student Government, I have created the Committee on University Center Renovations. The Committee has the approval of the Undergraduate Student Senate and Graduate Student Assembly and will meet about twice a month to develop a plan for renovating student space on the third floor of the University Center. It is my hope that the plan will be complete by November, so that the changes can be implemented by the start of the spring semester. I would like the committee to be composed largely of students unconnected with Student Government, to bring in new ideas. Please contact me if you are interested in serving on this committee.

I will hold office hours every Wednesday between 3:30 and 4:30 pm in the University Center room 318F. If my office hours are not convenient for you or if you have a pressing issue, we can meet at an appointed time instead. Outside the office, feel free to approach me whenever you see me.

Student Body Vice President Julie Beckenstein will hold her office hours on Mondays between 2:30 and 4:30 pm. Julie is currently working to improve campus dining, install more bicycle racks on Port Authority buses, lay a crosswalk across Margaret Morrison Street, and get more identification card readers installed on the University Center, so that it is easier for students to access the building at night. She and I will continue to work together to fight for your interests.