Resources Abound for Campus Newcomers

Pitt script logo created by class of 2016 members holding signs in Petersen Events CenterIf the school year flies, the first week of the academic year is a whirlwind. For those new to campus, plugging in and finding basic services can be a challenge. Here is a compilation of useful information and links for newcomers as well as those returning.

Orientation Details

At last count, Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs has 100 programs planned over seven days (Aug. 21-27) to acclimate freshmen and transfer students to their new home and city.

Orientation week provides bonding time for the newest Panthers to connect to each other and Pitt resources, said Shawn Ahearn, director of marketing and communication for student affairs.

Students transferring from another institution can register for Transfer Day online and students who will commute to campus can learn more at the Commuter Student Day webpage. There is also more information for international and veteran students online.

Other orientation events for specific groups include Graduate and Professional Student Orientation on Aug. 22 and New Faculty Orientation on Aug. 24.

Students can also check out the video overview of the New and Transfer Student Orientation to get a sense of what's to come.

Highlighted Orientation Events

  • Wednesday, Aug. 23
    • New Student Convocation, 3-4 p.m., Petersen Events Center
    • 2021 Class Photo and Tipping Point, 8-10 p.m., Petersen Events Center
  • Thursday, Aug. 24
    • Building a Pitt Community with University staff and distinguished guest speaker Jamie Washington, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Petersen Events Center
    • Discover Pitt, DiscoverU career shadowing event, 12:45-4 p.m., William Pitt Union lawn and patio
  • Friday, Aug. 25
    • Orientation Day of Service, 1:30-4 p.m., William Pitt Union lawn and patio
  • Saturday, Aug. 26
    • Rec-O-Mania introduction to the Pitt Sports Dome Complex, 1-4 p.m.

Download the Guidebook app for a full rundown of the schedule and more information, or see a summary at a glance.

Panther Central: Mission Control

Panther Central, located in the Litchfield Towers lobby, is designed to provide many services to the University community in one spot.

“While we’ve always been 24/7, this year we operate full-service around the clock,” said Julie Bannister, director of service and business systems at Panther Central. “We can reprint lost ID cards, process fine payments, complete I-9 forms, etc., at any time.”

A helpful tip: A Pitt ID — or Panther Card — is a key to getting around the city and campus, offering everything from free arts encounters through the PITT ARTS program to free fitness center access for Pitt students. Faculty and staff receive perks, too. 

Panther Central can also provide information about meal plans, transportation and housing, key downloadable forms and more. 

Call 412-648-1100, chat, email or stop by in person with questions.

Panther Central Express is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the Sutherland Hall main lobby.

Getting Around

Getting around campus is easy once you learn about all your options. Don’t have a car? No problem. Don’t let your lack of personal wheels discourage you from exploring the city of Pittsburgh.

“My advice for freshmen is to get out of your room,” said Alec Loyd, junior economics major and co-coordinator of Pitt’s Arrival Survival move-in operation. “It’s tempting to move into your room and close the door until classes start since you’re nervous about being away from home and meeting new people, but you can’t. Go explore the city and the campus.”

Pittsburgh has 90 neighborhoods that can be reached for free via bus, train or incline with a Pitt ID. Students attending Pitt football games can board a free shuttle at Sutherland Hall on upper campus or on Bigelow Boulevard between the Cathedral of Learning and William Pitt Union.

Get to know Oakland’s major Port Authority bus routes. Download bus tracking apps like Transit or PAT Track to make life easier. Pitt also has a shuttle tracker for its handicap-accessible fleet, too. Nine routes operate regularly and disability shuttles operate by request. Brochures with map routes and schedules are also online.

Other helpful transportation links:

Staying Healthy

The Student Health Service is a resource for body and mind. Students, faculty and staff can use the University Pharmacy and receive 10 percent off all noncovered services at the School of Dental Medicine’s clinic.

The University Counseling Center has several new enhancements to its services this year, including expanded capacity with five new mental health professionals, a streamlined intake system and a new satellite clinic in development.

Learn more about student wellness fees and student insurance options. The enrollment period ends Sept. 15, 2017.

Also watch for free walk-in flu shot clinics during the fall term.

Getting Involved

Pitt has more than 600 student organizations. They will be on display at the Student Activities Fair Sunday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Petersen Events Center.

Students can find volunteer opportunities through PittServes.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that Pitt and Pittsburgh have to offer,” said Loyd. “You’ll quickly start to realize that thousands of people just like you feel the exact same way that you do. When you start building relationships, Pitt begins to feel like your second home, which is the whole point!”

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