College Students Seek Collaboration with Pittsburgh Government

Feb 24, 2015

A consortium of student government representatives from nine local colleges and universities will have an audience with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Tuesday evening.

Student leaders from Carlow University, Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, the Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche College, Point Park University, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh comprise the Pittsburgh Student Government Council (PSGC).

PSGC president Dave Gau, a graduate student in bioengineering at Pitt, said the meeting will be largely exploratory.

“We just wanted to open up a line of communication with the Mayor’s office to show Mayor Peduto that the students are willing to work, willing to help out in any way possible,” Gau said. “Really the end goal is just to make sure we’re communicating with each other so something like what happened with Mayor Ravenstahl doesn’t happen again.”

Gau is referring to then Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s tuition tax proposal, which spurred the creation of the PSGC in 2009. That proposal was ultimately unsuccessful, after strong push back from local colleges and universities.

Gau said he wants to figure out a way for students to be kept in the loop on city initiatives that may concern them. He said one possible way would be to put student members of the PSGC on the city’s soon-to-be revamped youth commission.

“We were at that initial meeting and we are planning on having at least one or two of us submit an application to fill some of those vacant slots,” Gau said.

He said one of the main topics the group wants to address with the Mayor falls in line with some of the initiatives he’s already set in motion, such as Welcoming Pittsburgh and Cities United for Immigration Action.

“How do we attract more international students is one part, but the second part is how do we retain international students?” Gau said.

The group hopes to open similar lines of communication with county government, and have a meeting scheduled with Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald next month. Additionally, it's working to recruit more colleges and universities from outside Pittsburgh city limits to their group.