Say It Loud: Thank You, Faculty and Staff

A Pitt staff member in a blue shirt in the mailroomOn a typical day in the University’s mail operations hub, thousands of packages, letters and parcels from USPS, Fed Ex, UPS and more pass through nine locations across the Pittsburgh campus. Nearly 100 staff and students receive, sort and distribute this mail to make sure each letter from mom, textbook delivery or contract from a vendor makes it to the right place.

“We have FedEx, UPS, USPS and freight trucks arriving all day, every day dropping off parcels, mail and PPE,” said Orrie Barbarino, campus mail supervisor. “We need to keep our pallet jacks charged at all times.”

But since the COVID-19 outbreak, the University’s eight student mail rooms have been consolidated to just one location at Litchfield Towers, Panther Post. The Thomas Boulevard facility in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood is accepting most of the deliveries for campus.

Also home to Printing Services and the University of Pittsburgh Press, the location has space to store ever-changing deliveries as socially distant employees work to maintain both operations and safety guidelines.

Matt Sloan“Once we were told that we were going to start accepting all UPS and Fed Ex [deliveries], we didn't know what we were going to get hit with. We were preparing for the worst,” said Matt Sloan, director of logistics and printing services.

Recently, the staff received a large shipment of personal protective equipment. Surplus staff helped by clearing out 3,000 square feet of space for more than 150 pallets.

Sloan credits Bill Charleroy, manager of Panther Post and student engagement, with working 12-hour shifts to coordinate the consolidation of all the student mailrooms. Additionally, he noted that when they started to receive UPS and Fed Ex packages at Thomas Boulevard, Barbarino learned a new tracking system on the fly.

“He’s been our scanning man ever since. It’s really been a whirlwind around here, but nothing phases him,” Sloan said, calling Barbarino’s work tremendous.

Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke also praised Barbarino. Every Tuesday, Lyke visits Thomas Boulevard to get her mail. “They have been just a really uplifting group that's been a ton of fun to visit and they care about what they do and getting things on time,” Lyke said, calling the visits a highlight of her week.

This week, Pitt is calling on the entire community to celebrate not just the people who get the mail delivered, but each other.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week

“Despite being apart, we’re all in this together,” said Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees.

That’s why, this year, the University will be recognizing and celebrating collaboration and colleagues across the University virtually. In addition to a slate of events such as bingo and trivia—all on Pittwire Live—members of the Pitt community are encouraged to contribute to thankyou.pitt.edu—a new website that will last beyond Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week to become a repository of appreciation and good cheer. Staff and faculty are invited to write a message to colleagues who are making a difference and continuing to show Panther pride. Once a message has been approved, it will be posted on the Hail Faculty and Staff website and the person(s) thanked will be notified via email of your surprise message, too.

And although we can’t come together in-person and celebrate at the traditional chancellor-hosted picnic on Bigelow this year, a few of the most-loved activities will be taking place. Faculty and staff can register to win raffle prizes that include campus parking passes, tickets to football and basketball games and more. Also, they can register for a chance to have their caricature drawn, this time via Zoom.

Also throughout the week, share your photos of you in your favorite Pitt gear and post on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #HailingFromHome. These will be shared these throughout the week with all of Panther Nation. A Facebook gallery will be created and shared on Pittwire starting June 15. The photo that receives the most likes through Thursday, June 18, will receive a Pitt prize pack.