Mastering the Basics: Arrival Survival

Two students in yellow shirts and blue shorts push housing cart-bins across paved plaza during move-in

Pittwire's annual back-to-school coverage begins with Arrival Survival tips for new — and returning — undergraduates as well as specifics for Pitt's graduate and professional students.

Setting up for success this year? Read on!

Getting settled

Arrival Survival: The logistical symphony required to move 7,800 students — including 3,800 first-years — into on-campus housing over five days. This year, it’s happening from Aug. 19-23.

After more than 20 years of honing the operation down to a science, all the need-to-know info for movers and helpers is on the Arrival Survival website — but here are a few tidbits to help:

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  • Pull up to Pitt. At each residence hall welcome station, vehicles get one hour at a convenient unloading zone. After one hour, vehicles move to long-term parking.
  • Everyone helping to unload gets a residence hall-specific wristband as a safety precaution.
  • Moving carts are available to sign out, but people are encouraged to bring their own dollies and carts, too.
  • Student volunteers will be in blue T-shirts; University staff and resident assistants will be in gold. Ask for directions or help with heavy lifting. They’ve all been through this before and are ready to lend a hand.
  • Thriftsburgh, a grassroots student-run thrift store on campus, is a great option for anyone who may have brought too much  — or not enough — to fit in their residence hall closet. The store opens for the term Sunday, Aug. 25, at 2 p.m.
  • Find move-in logistics for Bradford, Johnstown, Greensburg and Titusville campuses online.
  • For tech support, visit the Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) site or call the help desk with any questions, 24/7/365 at 412-624-4357.

Getting oriented

For the first time ever, incoming first-year students are completing orientation online this year. The move to online is a time and money saver for students, eliminating the need to travel to campus before the term officially starts.

Welcome Week is also newly rebranded this year. More than 150 programs and events will introduce new students to campus and the city. Parents and family members are invited to attend some sessions. Check the schedule online to see which events interest and which are mandatory.

Getting fed

Hungry from the moving? Check out what’s new coming to Pitt dining in Fall 2019, as well as all the coffee carts, cafes, markets, food courts and dining halls on campus. This list provides hours of operation.

For off-campus but still local options, take a walk down Forbes Avenue or browse a list of Oakland eateries.

Getting around

A Panther Card (Pitt ID) gets students, faculty and staff free access to public transportation in Pittsburgh. That’s 90 neighborhoods worth of exploring. Pitt IDs are only issued to students after the first-year online orientation is complete.

In addition to the Port Authority buses, transportation options include biking on campus, SafeRider, campus buses and shuttle routes, and there's additional information for parking permits for commuter students and accessibility accommodations.

Pitt has an updated campus map. Take a virtual tour to find ADA accessible building entrances or sustainability features of certain buildings and where to compost on campus.

Check out the 44 lots, 23 garages and metered spaces on the parking map and learn how to submit a permit application for student parking.

Getting help 

Receive notifications in an emergency situation by signing up for the Emergency Notification Service (ENS), crime alerts and the Rave Guardian app.

More than 500 emergency phones — blue light phones — are scattered throughout the Pittsburgh campus. Program Pitt Police into your own phone contacts: 412-624-2121.

Getting out there

The University Events Calendar lists everything from student-centered programming to popup lectures, staff and faculty meetings and volunteer opportunities to the football season schedule.

Sign up for free and discounted arts programming through PITT ARTS to experience dozens of Pittsburgh’s cultural events.

Graduate and Professional Students: Connecting to Campus Life

The University-wide Graduate Student Orientation is one-stop shopping for information and resources designed just for grad students. The Aug. 20 event is a day loaded with valuable resources, campus experts and networking possibilities. 

While individual schools and programs have their own graduate student orientations, this event is the only comprehensive gathering for all graduate and professional students. Find the full program schedule online.

“I don’t think people realize just how many areas are represented from across the University,” said Stephanie Hoogendoorn, senior assistant to the provost for academic affairs.

“With nearly 50 booths at the resource fair, it’s exhilarating to see so many administrators and faculty members who are committed to ensuring the success of our graduate and professional students.”

Start the year off organized by getting free professional headshots taken or business cards ordered at the “professional development lane,” a popular destination at the fair.

“This fall, Pitt welcomes over 3,000 graduate and professional students to our 14 schools that offer graduate programs. The University-wide grad student orientation a great opportunity to connect with students from other academic programs and meet new people from across Pitt,” said Nathan Urban, vice provost for graduate studies and strategic initiatives.

There’s a focus this year on supporting a culture of mentoring among graduate and professional students, said Urban. Two current graduate student leaders will share tips as part of the day’s mentoring panel. All year, students are invited to share thoughts on how mentors can best support students throughout their graduate training.

The orientation caps off with a picnic on Posvar Hall’s patio, where student organizations like the Graduate and Professional Student Government, the Latin American Graduate Organization of Students and the Pitt Science Policy Group will be tabling. Ask questions and learn more about getting involved outside your department.

Additional activities throughout Welcome Week are open to new graduate students. Tag orientation photos on Facebook and Twitter with #PittGradStudies.