Community Relations committee shares updates on student civic engagement | University Times

By SHANNON O. WELLS

For its final meeting of the spring 2022 semester, the Senate Community Relations committee discussed and provided updates on topics ranging from academic recognition for civically engaged students to an interactive campus construction map.

The civic engagement transcript distinction will provide students involved in civic engagement at Pitt an opportunity to receive a notation on their academic transcripts upon graduation once they complete the program’s requirement levels.

“It basically looks like a minor on their transcript, so it’s pretty exciting, and something that they’ve been working on very diligently for months,” said Kristy Giandomenico, outreach coordinator for PittServes. “So, we’re excited about it.”

The program is in effect, with one Pitt student already aspiring to be the first with the distinction. “She’s super involved in her office,” Giandomenico said.

Along similar lines, three first-year Exploration of Civic Engagement classes will be introduced this fall in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences to introduce students to civic-related opportunities at Pitt and the surrounding communities.

“It’s really just a really cool opportunity for students to take an intro class to what Pittsburgh is, what you can do in the community, how to get civically engaged on campus, off campus,” Giandomenico said. “There will be some partner tie-ins to that.”

As students move out of dorms and apartments and downsize at semester’s end, Clutter for a Cause is in full swing this week, and is now expanding into summer months. The collaborative program will collect usable clothing, textiles, dorm room essentials, electronics and non-perishable food items for on- and off-campus locations.

“We work with Student Affairs, with our transportation services and with local nonprofit partners to ensure that as many viable items that can be upcycled as possible don’t make it into the landfill,” said Jamie Ducar director of community engagement in the Office of Community and Government Relations.

“As we know that many of our students have leases that turn over either at some point in July or by August 1, and so we expanded our concept because we were seeing that a lot of our students come back just to Pittsburgh over the summer, while other folks are subleasing their apartments to get rid of all their stuff ahead of the school year coming back around. So, we do clutter events beginning in April all the way through early August,” Ducar added.

Pitt also takes part in the city-wide Garbage Olympics, whose fifth-annual event took place last September. Ducar said volunteers are always welcome for the clutter and upcycling events. “We report out on sort of the cubic feet of things that we’re able to upcycle and get out to community partners,” she said.

Clutter for a Cause donations are accepted at any time at unstaffed locations in residence halls, and during open hours at the following staffed locations:

  • Schenley Quad (between Amos Hall and McCormick Hall)

  • Litchfield Towers Lobby (across from Panther Central)

  • Sutherland Hall parking lot (next to the rear entrance to Sutherland Hall)

  • Bouquet Gardens: Only from 10 am to 3 pm April 29 in the Sennott Square parking lot at Oakland Avenue and Sennott Street.

For more information, visit www.sustainable.pitt.edu/clutter-for-a-cause/

An interactive Construction Resource Map will provide a mapping system to assist area commuters with making travel decisions. The Oakland Transportation Management Association, which provides the interactive resource, said the map will highlight “transit, utility, institutional and private development projects that may impact travel in and around Oakland during construction.”

LaMonica Wiggins, co-chair of the Community Relations committee, described the map as “an educational tool that will commuters with a visual representation of active and planned construction and connects them with detailed project information schedules, photos and renderings, engineering documents and links that can assist them with making travel decisions.

Several roadway, bridge, institutional and private development projects are listed already, she noted, some completed and others ongoing.

Here is a link to the interactive map: www.oaklandconstructionmap.carrd.co

Visit the Office of Engagement and Community Affairs at www.community.pitt.edu

Shannon Wells is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at shannonw@pitt.edu.

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