Senior Presents to City Council as Part of SAGC District 9 Project

Ellis senior Ada Perlman presented to City Council on Tuesday, February 8, as part of her work with the citywide Students and Government Council (SAGC) program, of which she is one of three senior advisors. Alongside her SAGC peers, Ada shared the outcomes of the students’ District 9 project, a groundbreaking initiative launched by Councilman Ricky Burgess that gave students the legislative power to fund programming for the first time in Pittsburgh history.
For their project, Ada and her fellow SAGC members were tasked with determining how best to allocate $110,000 in grant money to the District 9 community, which encompasses neighborhoods in Pittsburgh's East End including East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, Garfield, and Friendship. The student group emphasized the importance of considering the voices of District 9 youth in making their decision, collecting survey responses from a diverse range of District 9 students to inform their choice. After reviewing the data they collected, SAGC recommended allocating the funds to seven non-profit organizations in the region, such as the Serenity Living Transitional Home, the East End Cooperative Ministry, and the Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh. 

Ada and her peers also suggested next steps for supporting student voices and championed the continuation of student involvement in decision-making processes, sharing with City Council that the District 9 project provided them with valuable knowledge about city operations and encouraged them to become stronger advocates of their communities. A full recording of the students’ presentation can be watched here.

Ada shares that her time with SAGC has opened her eyes to the world of politics and granted her the opportunity to connect with other students from around the city who share her passion for changemaking. She hopes other Ellis students who are interested in politics will follow in her footsteps, and she credits her Ellis experience with helping to prepare her for this important work.

“I think my Ellis experience prepared me for this process because the world of politics is often dominated by men,” says Ada. “Even sitting at the table during our presentation, I realized that there were only three women at the table (me, another girl on the council, and Councilwoman Erika Strassburger). I really admire Councilwoman Strassburger because she confidently speaks up, even as one of the only women on City Council. I would say my Ellis experience has pushed me to speak up for issues that matter to me, even if I'm outnumbered.”

Applications for next year’s SAGC will open to students around the end of May and will be available on the SAGC website.

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