Student Body President and Vice President candidates: Govind Menon and Emma Cohron
Rising juniors Govind Menon, an information systems major, and Emma Cohron, a computer science major, are running for Student Body President and Vice President. Menon is the vice president of the debate team, a chair member of business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, and a member of the Committee on Student Organizations. Cohron is the Vice President of administration for Delta Delta Delta, an orientation counselor, and a TA for 15-150. Currently, they're both stuck in their homes in New York and New Jersey, respectively, so they developed a platform that focuses on three overarching issues: “Diversity and equity,” “unity across campus,” and “our responsibility.”
On their website under the “Diversity” header, they write that one goal of their administration is to establish a gender neutral bathroom in each building on campus. Additionally, they hope to give preference to students with second languages in the hiring process for orientation to help with the transition of international students. A recent issue around diversity at Carnegie Mellon, the map in the Cohon Center, escaped mention in the diversity section of their website, but Menon expanded on diversity priorities of the student government. He said that he discussed the list of priorities with current student body president Evan Feder: “I was talking to Evan...to find out what he thinks his administration could have done better and what we can try to help add to.”
To develop unity across campus, Menon and Cohron want to add a Bee Garden to the extant Peace Garden next to Hunt Library, add Oomf charging stations across campus, and develop a weekly club mailer. The Bee Garden is a sustainability initiative that is supported by campus group Sustainable Earth, and they hope to add more laminated posters above compostable bins across campus, while also trying to add more bins. Oomf chargers, currently in use at Chapman University, allow students to sign out portable chargers and use them anywhere on campus. Cohron said that the lack of outlets across campus is a big issue to students: “We really think it fills a need the student body has, especially in places like Tepper where there is not a lot of outlets to use, but a lot of people do want to go work there.”
Additionally, Menon and Cohron hope to add free menstrual products across campus, push for equitable TA wages, live stream student government cabinet meetings, and develop a clothing drive for students who are ill-equipped for Pittsburgh winters without the financial means to purchase winter clothing.
They are also pushing for a student speaker series in front of the Board of Trustees and better advertising for the Emergency Student Loan program, which has recently been expanded to the Tartan Emergency Support Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On putting more students in front of the Board of Trustees, Menon says, “You need a greater voice from the student perspective...trying to put someone who knows what the current issues are in that room is pretty important.”
The Menon and Cohron campaign is looking to make the most of their time in the presidency, and they are focused on taking certain policies developed by the previous administration through their next phases. Namely, the Bee Garden, the Oomf chargers, the expanded accessibility to student government, and the clothing drive are policies that could be made actionable within their time as president and vice president.