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Sarah Mayer, Presidential Candidate (The Blank Slate)

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Mayer (she/her), and I’m so excited to be running for President of the Student Government Board (SGB) on The Blank Slate! I’m a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and currently serve as SGB’s Vice President of Policy. Outside of school, I work as an EMT at Valley Ambulance Authority. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to drive the ambulance, but you will catch me sweating if I have to parallel park. Additionally, I’m a second year Resident Assistant in Sutherland Hall, shoutout floor 5! I also work in the Behavioral Immunology Lab where we explore how psychosocial factors impact the immune system. To destress, I love making friendship bracelets and listening to Mac Miller or my queen, Reneé Rapp. A fun fact about me is that cartwheeling is one of my favorite pastimes… I’ve done one of every floor of Cathy!

Three years ago I joined SGB as a part of the First Year Council and Academic Affairs committee, followed by my time on the Allocations Committee. Currently, I’m honored to serve as the Vice President of Policy for SGB. I manage our organization’s shared governance which includes over 40 committees across the University and lead the lower legislative branch of SGB, the Assembly. This is an open forum where student leaders gather to advocate for changes within the University. This year, a main initiative of mine has been improving emergency medical accessibility on campus. This includes the installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in on campus buildings paired with CPR and Stop the Bleed training to Pitt faculty and staff. Next, I intend to initiate widespread distribution of Naloxone to residence halls and campus buildings.

I’m running for President to transform the way Pitt responds to student health and wellness concerns. Firstly, I will work to prioritize the mental health of students by integrating excused wellness days into the academic calendar. A common experience among students is the overwhelming feeling of copious amounts of work. Amidst these times, self-care is of utmost importance and should be prioritized. To our Calendar Committee, I would propose that we integrate designated “mental health days” into our academic calendar. No classes would be held on these days, allowing for students to take a step away from work and engage in activities they enjoy. On these days, SGB would offer optional programming and mental health resources to help facilitate stress relief.

Another area where I envision improvement is within Pitt’s response to emergency situations. As an RA, I have first handedly experienced Pitt’s response to mental health emergencies; it can be challenging when Pitt Police are the first to arrive. Students with marginalized identities are at risk for further traumatic encounters in an already delicate situation. With this, I will expand our Higher Education and Assessment and Response (HEART) Team. This team is comprised of clinicians who mobilize and provide in field assistance to students across Oakland. I hope to advocate for 24/7 services as well as an increased number of clinicians on this team. In addition, I will ensure that the UCC guarantees continuity of care to these students throughout their time at the University. No student should face a barrier to mental health care access at Pitt. By expanding the scope of HEART I hope to reduce the fear and stigma that is often associated with accessing mental health care.

I will also work to increase the accessibility of funds to students on campus. This past year SGB has faced difficulty in meeting the demands of student allocation requests. In the future I propose that instead of a flat rate, the Allocations Committee is allotted a percentage of the Student Activities Fund with a set minimum. This would allow the budget to ebb and flow as the fund changes with variables such as student population and inflation. With this increase, student organizations would have greater opportunity to engage in programs and events that they are passionate about. Similarly, I propose an increase to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grant which supports programing for underserved and underrepresented identities at Pitt. At a Predominantly White Institution, it’s essential that monetary challenges pose no barrier to programs that promote discourse and interaction, further supporting minority students.

Ultimately, as President I will act as an advocate, listener, and friend, setting a precedent in which student voices are amplified louder than ever before. I will work towards a campus where student concerns are put at the forefront of our administrator’s agendas and addressed with individualized care. If you have any questions or just want to chat, please feel free to reach out at! Help us fill out The Blank Slate by writing your own perfect Pitt narrative. Vote The Blank Slate on February 27th 8am-8pm!