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Sanai Overton, Board Candidate (Advocate)


My name is Sanai Overton and I’m a sophomore studying Political Science and Psychology. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, I’ve also spent a significant amount of time living in Columbia, Maryland. Beyond the classroom, I often find myself indulged in tasks related to Student Government Board. In the past, I served on First Year Council and I currently hold the position of Wellness Committee Chair. Through my experiences in both roles, I've deepened my understanding of university structures and identified notable gaps between the student body and the university.

I am running to be a board member because I want to address these gaps for a more cohesive campus community. My overarching goal involves collaborating with the Civil Rights & Title IX Offices to ensure that students facing discrimination or harassment feel heard and supported. Recognizing instances of prolonged turn-around times and a perceived lack of urgency, I am dedicated to enhancing communication between the office and students. I hope to increase communication processes to minimize delays, and instill a sense of urgency where needed.

Additionally, I am committed to enhancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training for professors. My aim is not only to increase its frequency but also to improve its effectiveness, fostering an environment where students feel entirely at ease with their identities in classroom settings. As a Black student, I have experienced discomfort due to professors using insensitive language or making incorrect assumptions about specific cultures or races. To minimize these occurrences, I aspire to contribute to the improvement of training effectiveness, working towards a more inclusive educational experience for all.

This year, I also became a member of the Disability Ad Hoc Committee. I acknowledge being less involved due to the demands of my current Wellness Chair position, but as a potential board member, I envision working closely with the committee to ensure professors are well-informed about Disability Resources and Services (DRS) accommodations. Moreover, I will advocate for transportation services on campus to be more accessible, acknowledging the frustrations faced by students who fight for accessibility.

Lastly, during my time in the First Year Council, I explored efforts aimed at fulfilling Pitt's commitment to increasing its minority population. Beyond collaboration, I intend to independently encourage Pittsburgh residents to view Pitt as a compelling option. Through visiting high schools in different neighborhoods within Pittsburgh, my goal is to assess if Pitt resonates with the needs and aspirations of minority students. This includes inspiring those who find Pitt to be a good fit for them to consider applying.

My decision to run for the board stems from a deep frustration with encountering these issues at a university that prides itself on being diverse, inclusive, and accessible. I firmly believe that the University has the capability to improve, and I am committed to advocating for the demands and needs of the student body. In pursuing this role, I envision not only addressing existing challenges but actively contributing to the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion.