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The University of Pittsburgh (commonly referred to as Pitt) is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1787 after the American Revolutionary War, it was founded on the edge of the American frontier as the Pittsburgh Academy. It developed and was renamed as Western University of Pennsylvania by a change to its charter in 1819. After surviving two devastating fires and various relocations within the area, the school moved to its current location in the Oakland neighborhood of the city; it was renamed as the University of Pittsburgh in 1908. For most of its history, Pitt was a private institution, until 1966 when it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education.
The university is composed of 17 undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges located at its urban Pittsburgh campus, home to the university's central administration and 28,766 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. The university also includes four undergraduate schools located at campuses within Western Pennsylvania: Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville. The 132-acre Pittsburgh campus has multiple contributing historic buildings of the Schenley Farms Historic District, most notably its 42-story Gothic revival centerpiece, the Cathedral of Learning. The campus is situated adjacent to the flagship medical facilities of its closely affiliated University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), as well as the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Schenley Park, and Carnegie Mellon University.
The university has an annual operating budget of approximately $2 billion, which includes nearly $900 million in research and development expenditures. A member of the Association of American Universities, Pitt is the sixth-largest recipient of federally sponsored research funding among U.S. universities in 2013, and it is a major recipient of research funding from the National Institutes of Health. It is the second-largest non-government employer in the Pittsburgh region behind UPMC. Pitt is ranked among the top public universities in the United States in both domestic and international rankings, and has been listed as a "best value" in higher education by several publications.
Pitt students have access to various arts programs throughout the campus and city, and can participate in over 400 student clubs and organizations. Pitt's varsity athletic teams, collectively known as the Pittsburgh Panthers, compete in Division I of the NCAA, primarily as members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is to improve oral health through TEACHING, RESEARCH and SERVICE
School of Education
Swanson School of Engineering
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
School of Information Sciences
College of General Studies
School of Law
School of Medicine
School of Nursing
School of Pharmacy
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Graduate School of Public Health
School of Social Work
History of Pitt
Founded by Hugh Henry Brackenridge as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh is one of the few universities and colleges established in the 18th century in the United States. It is the oldest continuously chartered institution of learning in the U.S. west of the Allegheny Mountains. The school began as a preparatory school, presumably in a log cabin, possibly as early as 1770 in Western Pennsylvania, then a frontier. Brackenridge obtained a charter for the school from the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on February 28, 1787, just ten weeks before the opening of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. A brick building was erected in 1790 on the south side of Third Street and Cherry Alley for the Pittsburgh Academy. The small two-story brick building, with a gable facing the alley, contained three rooms: one below and two above.
The Western University
Within a short period, more advanced education in the area was needed, so in 1819 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania amended the school's 1787 charter to confer university status. The school took the name the Western University of Pennsylvania, or WUP, and was intended to be the western sister institution to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. By 1830, WUP had moved into a new three-story, freestone-fronted building, with Ionic columns and a cupola, near its original buildings fronting the south side of Third Street, between Smithfield Street and Cherry Alley in downtown Pittsburgh. By the 1830s, the university faced severe financial pressure to abandon its traditional liberal education in favor of the state legislature's desire for it to provide more vocational training. The decision to remain committed to liberal education nearly killed the university, but it persevered despite its abandonment by the city and state. It was also during this era that the founder of Mellon Bank, Thomas Mellon (Class of 1837), graduated and later taught at WUP.
The university's buildings, along with most of its records and files, were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1845 that wiped out 20 square blocks of Pittsburgh. Classes were temporarily held in Trinity Church until a new building was constructed on Duquesne Way (on what was the site of the former Horne's department store). Only four years later, in 1849, this building also was destroyed by fire. Due to the catastrophic nature of these fires, operations were suspended for a few years to allow the university time to regroup and rebuild. By 1854, WUP had erected a new building on the corner of Ross and Diamond (now Forbes Avenue) streets (site of the present day City-County building) and classes resumed in 1855. It is during this era, in 1867, that Samuel Pierpont Langley, astronomer, inventor, aviation pioneer and future Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was chosen as director of the Allegheny Observatory that was donated to WUP in 1865. Langley was professor of astronomy and physics and remained at WUP until 1891, when he was succeeded by another prominent astronomer, James Keeler. Growing quickly during this period, WUP outgrew its downtown facilities and the university moved its campus to Allegheny City (present-day North Side).
The university eventually found itself on a 10-acre (4.0 ha) site on the North Side's Observatory Hill at the location of its Allegheny Observatory. There, it constructed two new buildings, Science Hall and Main Hall, that were occupied by 1889 and 1890 respectively. During this era, the first collegiate football team was formed at Pitt in 1889. In 1892, the Western Pennsylvania Medical College was amalgamated into the university. By 1893, the university had graduated its first African-American, William Dammond. In 1895 WUP established its School of Law, and Andrew Carnegie and George Westinghouse were elected to the Board of Trustees, where they joined Andrew Mellon who had been elected in 1894. The Pittsburgh College of Pharmacy and Pittsburgh Dental School also joined the university in 1896. In 1898, the first women, sisters Margaret and Stella Stein, graduated from the university. During this period, University engineering professor Reginald Fessenden was conducting pioneering work in radio broadcasting. By 1904, playing at Exposition Park, the university had its first undefeated football team.
A new name and home
Citing a need to avoid confusion, distinguish itself from the University of Pennsylvania, and return to its roots by identifying itself with the city, the Western University of Pennsylvania, by act of the state legislature, was renamed the University of Pittsburgh in the summer of 1908. During this time, the university had also outgrown its accommodations on what is now the North Side of Pittsburgh and its departments had been scattered throughout the city for years. To consolidate all of its components on one campus, WUP bought 43 acres (170,000 m2) of land in December 1907 in what is now the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh and began relocating departments there by 1909. The initial campus plan for the new location centered on the winning submission from a national architectural contest that incorporated a Greek Acropolis design by Henry Hornbostelfor 30 buildings. However, due to financial and other constraints, only four of the buildings were constructed in this style, of which only Thaw Hall remains today. In the fall of 1909, the university became the first college to adopt the panther as its mascot. It was also during this period that the university, led by Chancellor Samuel McCormick, again held off pressures to abandon the school's commitment to liberal education in favor of more technical-based training. During his administration, McCormick also led the university into a new level of national recognition, expansion, and growth, as well as beginning institutional support of athletics.
In the 1920s, new university chancellor John Gabbert Bowman declared that he had a vision for a centerpiece "tall building" for the university. The 14 acres (5.7 ha) Frick Acres property in Oakland was soon purchased and plans for the campus shifted focus from the hillside to a neo-Gothic Revival plan that today comprises the Cathedral of Learning, Heinz Memorial Chapel, Stephen Foster Memorial, and Clapp Hall buildings. By 1925, Bowman had settled on a design by Charles Klauder for the "tall building": an attention-getting 535-foot (163 m) tower whose great height, with open spaces all around, would suggest the "character that ought to be in an educated man." The building's "parallel lines going up and up...would express courage and fearlessness" and it would "unify Pittsburgh into a community conscious of its character." The Cathedral is "cut off" flat at the top to suggest that its lines, like education, have no ending. The building was financed by donors and by a campaign to collect dimes from local school children. Bowman was a persuasive leader and although the Great Depression intervened, the Cathedral of Learning, on which construction was begun in 1926, began hosting classes in 1931 and was formally dedicated in 1937. Today, it remains the second tallest university building in the world and contains an equally impressive interior highlighted by a half-acre (2,000 m²) Gothic hall Commons Room with 52-foot (16 m) tall arches currently surrounded by 30 Nationality Rooms, however seven more Nationality Rooms are in the making.
Development of the polio vaccine
In the early 20th century, epidemics of polio began to hit the United States and other industrialized countries. As hospitals filled with patients in iron lungs, and tens of thousands were left disabled, the fear of polio grew, leading to the closing of many public facilities. Meanwhile, Dr. Jonas Salkhad set up the University of Pittsburgh's Virus Research Lab in the basement of what is now Salk Hall. By 1951, Salk and his team had begun immunization experiments in monkeys using dead polio virus. Soon, however, Salk began to test inoculations in paralyzed polio patients and by 1953 human trials among the general population were initiated. By the spring of the following year, the largest controlled field trials in medical history were underway, and by 1955 the vaccine developed by Salk and his researchers was declared effective. By 1962, Salk's vaccine had reduced the incidence of polio in the United States by 95 percent. The breakthroughs in immunology and vaccine development at Pitt by Salk and his team are considered one of the most significant scientific and medical achievements in history.
State relations to present day
In 1966, Pitt was designated by Pennsylvania as a state-related university. As such, Pitt receives public funds ($154.3 million in fiscal year 2016) covering about 7% of its operating budget, and offers reduced tuition to Pennsylvania residents. Pitt retains independent control, but is typically categorized as a public university. Upon affiliation with the state, subsidized tuition led to a massive influx of new students and rapid expansion of Pitt's size and scope. In the 1970s, Pitt's football team returned to greatness with a national championship season in 1976 led by Hall of Famerunning back Tony Dorsett and continued success in the 1980s with players such as Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. In the 1980s, significant medical research in the field of organ transplantation was conducted by Thomas Starzl, establishing Pitt as the world leader in the field of organ transplantation. In 1991, chancellor Wesley Posvar retired after 24 years in office. His administration is best known for elimination of the university's debt from its 1960s financial crisis and for increasing the school's prestige and endowment. Under Posvar, Pitt's operating budget grew sevenfold to $630 million and its endowment tripled to $257 million.
Mark Nordenberg was chancellor of the university from 1995 to 2014 and led Pitt through a period of substantial progress, including a $2-billion capital-raising campaign that is over three quarters of the way toward achieving its goal and a $1-billion 12-year facilities plan. Major initiatives and events that have occurred during his tenure include the construction of the Petersen Events Center, a major expansion of on-campus housing, the growth of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the restructuring of its relationship with the university, and a series of disruptive bomb threats that occurred in 2012.
Patrick D. Gallagher was named the 18th chancellor of the university and assumed the office on August 1, 2014.
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- In its 2016 Best Global Universities rankings, U.S. News & World Report places Pitt among the top 5 percent of 1,000 universities in 65 countries. The rankings focus on academic research.
- Pitt is among the top universities in the world and is the best public university in the Northeast, according to the 2016 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings.
- In the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Rankings of the world's top 980 universities, Pitt tied for No. 80. Rankings are based on 13 factors, grouped into five categories: teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income.
- Pitt is included in the Princeton Review's 2017 listing of The Best 381 Colleges, which features the top 15 percent of the nation's four-year colleges.
- For the 11th consecutive year (2016), Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranks Pitt ranks as the top value among all public colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. Pitt also was the only Pennsylvania public college or university included in The Princeton Review-USA TODAY national "Best Value Colleges for 2014" list, based on academic quality, cost, and financial aid.
- Pitt is the world's top university for philosophy, according to the 2016 QS World University Rankings. Pitt also was highly rated for nursing (No. 12) and medicine (No. 46).
- Thomson Reuters ranked Pitt 30th on its list of the world's 100 most innovative universities in 2015, based on such criteria as research output and patent filings.
- In 2015, College Factual ranked Pitt as the best U.S. school to study health professions, based on graduates' earnings, strength of academic majors, and the number and quality of other closely related majors on campus, program accredications, and overall institutional quality.
- In its 2015 Guide to 353 Green Colleges, The Princeton Review ranked Pitt among the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada. Also this year, Sierra magazine has again named Pitt as one of America's "Cool Schools" for its commitment to environmentalism.
- The Princeton Review also highlighted Pitt in its 2015 Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers By Going Beyond the Classroom, a guide to higher-education institutions that combine career-focused learning with academic excellence.
- Calling Pitt "a world class research university" with an "unwavering commitment to excellence," a Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation report in September 2012 reaccredited the University for a 10-year period, without qualification, the maximum permissible time for an extension of accreditation.
Student life @Pitt
Undergraduate student housing comprises both traditional residence halls and apartment style housing. On the lower campus, the three cylindrical towers of the Litchfield Towers complex houses the most students on campus and contains the primary dining facility for the university. The Schenley Quadrangle, originally serving as one of city's most desirably luxury apartment complexes, comprises five separate residence halls: Amos, Brackenridge, Bruce, Holland, and McCormick. Bruce Hall houses many Honors College and Living and Learning Community (LLC) students, Holland Hall serves as an all female residence, and Amos Hall serves as the primary home of the university's sororities with each floor being occupied by a different Greek organization. Ruskin Hall is located near Clapp Hall and the biological complex. Completed in 2013, Nordenberg Hall is the newest residence hall houses freshmen. Forbes Hall, located on Forbes Avenue, houses mainly freshmen involved in LLCs (Living Learning Communities). Lothrop Hall, originally built as a nursing student residence, houses students on the medical center complex. Bouquet Gardens offers garden style apartments mostly to upperclassmen. The Forbes Craig Apartments serve as the primary residence for Honors College students.
The upper campus houses Sutherland Hall, home of several Living Learning Communities, as well as Panther Hall and Pennsylvania Hall, which mainly house upperclassmen. Various fraternity housing is also found on the upper campus, as well as the Darragh Street Apartments which house medical students within a short walk to medical school's Scaife Hall.
Many students, especially upperclassmen, also choose to live off campus in the nearby South Oakland neighborhood in both university and non-university owned apartments.
Several traditions have become part of student life at Pitt over the years. One of the oldest traditions is "Lantern Night", an annual ceremony that serves as a formal induction for freshman women to university life.The tradition of sliding or stepping on the former home plate of Forbes Field embedded in the floor of Posvar Hall is performed by students in search of some good luck. Another good luck tradition involves rubbing the nose of the Millennium Panther outside the William Pitt Union prior to exams. Originated by students seeking good luck on exams, this tradition has further grown into one that is used by the wider university community when seeking general good fortune, particularly prior to football games or other athletic contests, and was featured in a national television advertisement for the 2012 Hyundai Tucson automobile. A romantic tradition involves the legend stating that if lovers kiss on the steps of Heinz Memorial Chapel, they are then destined to be married there. Perhaps the most prestigious tradition involves the Omicron Delta Kappa Walk, a stone walkway between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel that contains the engraved names of Pitt's Omicron Delta KappaSenior of the Year award winners. The walk is the only one of its kind in the country.
Annual traditional events include "Fall Fest", and in the spring, "Bigelow Bash". These festivals are held by the Pitt Program Council between the William Pitt Union and the Cathedral of Learning and involve a range of activities, novelties, and bands. Related to graduation, there is Honors Convocation, where awards and recognition are bestowed upon students, faculty, alumni, and staff throughout the schools and departments of the university.Also, the "Panther Sendoff" is a free annual reception typically held in Alumni Hall to congratulate each year's graduating class and wish them well. A free event open to the public, the Nationality Rooms Open House occurs on a Sunday in early December each year in the Cathedral of Learning and involves the presentation of the rooms decorated in traditional holiday styles, day-long performances of dance and song by various ethnic groups, and food and crafts from many of the nationality room's committees.
Traditions related to athletics include the "Victory Lights", where golden flood lights illuminate the top of the Cathedral of Learning after every football victory and select other athletic achievements. The Annual Bonfire and Pep Rally which is hosted by the Pitt Program Council and is held prior to a select football game. Held on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning, it often involves the band, cheerleaders, football team, visiting dignitaries, and giveaways. Homecoming, which revolves around another home football game each year, includes a traditional fireworks and a laser-light display between the William Pitt Union and the Cathedral of Learning. This is followed by Casino Night in the union, the football game, and a homecoming cruise on a Gateway Clipper Party Liner.At football games, the "Football Tunnel" occurs where student organizations, carrying standards, form a tunnel for the football players to run through as they enter the football field from the locker room; The Varsity Walk, a walkway between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel, is carved each year the names of former Pitt athletes (each year since 1950) who have promoted the university through their athletic (Panther Award) or academic (Blue-Gold Award) achievements.
"Greek Week" is a yearlong initiative for the Greek organizations on campus to raise money for different charitable organizations through different events. The two biggest events each year are the Pitt Dance Marathon and Greek Sing. Yearlong fundraising activities are also held to support such charitable organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and the Pittsburgh Food Bank. "E-Week" is a spring celebration organized by the Engineer Student Council for a week-long series of activities and competitions to demonstrate engineering skills and foster a spirit of camaraderie. Activities include games such as Monopoly, Ingenuity, Jeopardy, Assassins, and include a talent show, relay race, mini-Olympics, and blood drive. The festivities reach climax with a parade on Friday, a soapbox derby on Saturday, and the "e-ball finale" on Saturday evening. Each year, a unique theme is chosen. Each engineering department competes against the others, while some smaller departments join forces.
Pitt Arts is a program founded by the university in 1997 to encourage students to explore and connect to the art and cultural opportunities of the City of Pittsburgh via three programs. Art Encounters provides trips to arts events for undergrads that include free tickets, transportation, a catered reception, and encounters with international artists and thinkers. Free Visits grants undergrad and grad students free admission using their Pitt IDs to the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Senator John Heinz History Center, Phipps Conservatory, Mattress Factory, and the Andy Warhol Museum.
Various student theater groups convene at Pitt. University of Pittsburgh Stages is the production company of the Department of Theatre Arts which puts public student performances of classic masterpieces, contemporary productions, and student-directed labs. It also runs the Shakespeare-in-the-Schools which tours classic theater for K-12 students throughout the Pittsburgh area. Friday Nite Improvs, Pittsburgh's longest-running theatre show, was started in 1989 by graduate theatre students. It takes place weekly inside the Cathedral of Learning's studio theatre. The Redeye Theatre Project is a festival of one-act plays cast, written, and rehearsed in 24 hours. Additionally, Pitt Musical Theater Clubprovides undergraduates the opportunity to perform in student directed variety shows and musicals. The club was founded in 2009.
The Pitt Men's Glee Club, founded in 1890, is the oldest extracurricular club on campus. The club includes both undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the university. Traditionally, the Glee Club has sung for a variety of campus-wide and community functions, including graduations, receptions, alumni gatherings, sporting events, and chancellor's events. The Glee Club has also participated in national Collegiate Men's Choir festivals and international tours and music festivals in both the United States and Europe. Heinz Chapel Choir is an accomplished and internationally known a cappella choir consisting entirely of Pitt students that has been performing for over 70 years. The University of Pittsburgh Women's Choral Ensemble, founded in 2011, is open to all women of the university including undergraduates, graduate students, and staff. The ensemble leads the traditional lamplighter processional each fall and performs repertory ranging from traditional sacred and secular classics to international folk songs, popular music, and show tunes. Pitt Pendulums, founded in 1996, is a co-ed a cappella group, the oldest a cappella group on campus. Other a cappella groups on campus include C Flat Run, a co-ed group, Pittch Please, an all-male group, Pitches and Tones, a co-ed group, The Songburghs, a co-ed group, and Sounds Like Treble, an all-female group, among others. All groups on campus regularly perform in various on and off-campus functions and are regular competitors in the ICCA's, the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Pittch Please recently achieved the best result of a Pitt group in the ICCA's, taking first place at the Great Lakes Quarterfinals in 2015. Carpathian Ensemble, founded within the Department of music in 1786, the ensemble performs Gypsy, Klezmer, Armenian, Moldavian, Ukrainian, and Macedonian music. The University Gamelan, established in 1995, is the largest Sundanese gamelan program in the U.S. and has sponsored an artist-in-residency program each year since 1998.
University of Pittsburgh Orchestra performs several concerts and consists of music students, students from the university at large, faculty, staff, and members of the metropolitan community. The orchestra performs not only works of the standard art music literature, but also new works of student composers. Pitt Jazz Ensemble, founded in 1969 by saxophonist Dr. Davis, has performed internationally. Pitt African Music and Dance Ensemble, founded in 1983 by a Ghanaian ethnomusicologist Dr. Willie O. Anku, specializes in music and dances from Africa. Under the direction of J. S. Kofi Gbolonyo, it presents a range of African artistic expressions including music, dance, drama and visual arts. Pitt Band, founded in 1911, is the varsity marching band of the University of Pittsburgh and performs at various athletic and other University events.
- WPTS-FM is a non-commercial radio station owned by the University of Pittsburgh, and offers a mix of student-run programming. The station operates at 92.1 MHz with an ERP of 16 watts, and is licensed to Pittsburgh.
- JURIST is the world's only law-school-based, comprehensive, legal news and research service staffed by a mostly volunteer team of part-time law student reporters, editors and Web developers. It is led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
- The Pitt News is an independent, student-written, and student-managed newspaper for the University's Oakland (main) campus. Founded in 1908, it is now published Monday through Friday during the school year and Wednesdays during the summer. It circulates 14,000 copies for each issue published.
- The Pittiful News is an independent, student-founded, student-written, student-managed, and student-produced satirical and humor newspaper. It comes out on the last Friday of each month during the school year in print and throughout the entire calendar year online.
- UPTV (University of Pittsburgh Television) is a student-managed, student-produced, closed-circuit television station. Students living in campus residence halls or university operated-housing can view programming on Channel 21.
- Three Rivers Review and Collision are two undergraduate, bi-annual, literary journals publishing both poetry and prose.
- The Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review is a multidisciplinary journal showcasing undergraduate research.
- Pitt Political Review is a student-created, student-written publication of the University Honors College. PPR, as it is called, provides a venue for serious discussion of politics and policy issues in a nonpartisan way.
- Blackline is a student-created, student-written publication of the Black Action Society. Blackline features both news articles and creative pieces such as poetry to call attention to problems, programs, and activities that affect Black students at Pitt.
- The Original Magazine is a nonprofit, semiannual arts and culture publication based at, and partially funded by, the University of Pittsburgh, that aims to both bring and publicize accessible art and creative writing to Pittsburgh.
There are over 350 student clubs and organizations at the University of Pittsburgh. all sizes and covering all manner of interests. Some of the larger ones are:
- Behavioral Economics Club, one of the first student organizations in a major university devoted entirely to the topic of behavioral economics. The group is composed of undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines such as economics, finance, psychology, actuarial mathematics, statistics, and marketing.
- Black Action Society, the recognized student organization for promoting the cultural, educational, political, and social needs of black students at the university. It comprises nine committees including the publication of the student-run publication BlackLine as well as community outreach, political action, and programing. BAS has hosted lectures by such figures as Cornel West, Spike Lee, and Carol Moseley Braun.
- Blue and Gold Society, founded in 1991, is a group of undergraduate student leaders chosen as liaisons between the student community and the Pitt Alumni Association.
- Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG), the student government that represents the interests of all graduate and professional students and serves as the umbrella organization for all of the graduate/professional school student governments. GPSG's mission is to ensure that the concerns of these students are heard and also provides services and programs such travel grants, legal and financial consulting, and social functions.
- Hillel: Jewish Student Union (JSU), a pluralistic Jewish community that serves all Pitt undergraduates. Programs take place on campus and at the Hillel Jewish University Center at 4607 Forbes Avenue. Events include holiday, interfaith, Jewish education, social action, arts and cultural programming as well as no-fee weekly Shabbat services and dinner every Friday night.
- Oakland Zoo, the student athletic cheering section, an officially recognized student club. At over 2,000 members, it is the largest such group at the university. The group helps participate with the Athletic Department and Pitt Student Government Board in setting student ticket policy as well as organizing special student events.
- The Pitt Pathfinders, student recruiters employed by the Office of Admissions of Financial Aid. They recruit prospective students by giving campus tours, attending on-and-off campus recruitment programs, and by contacting admitted students through phone and the Internet. While Pathfinder is a paid position, it is also a student organization.
- Pitt Program Council, the all-campus programming organization at the university. Comprising eight student committees, a variety of programs and festivities are planned and sponsored including Fall Fest, Bigelow Bash, Homecoming Laser and Fireworks Show, as well as trips to New York City, Cedar Point, Spring break in Panama City Beach, FL. Other activities include art gallery exhibits, films, horseback riding, sports tournaments, lectures, fitness and dance classes, and Black and White Ball.
- Student Government Board (SGB), the governing body that provides undergraduate students with representation to the university administration, presenting their needs, interests, and concerns. An important aspect of the SGB is allocation of the student activities fee, which provides money to over 350 student organizations at the University of Pittsburgh. The SGB has ten standing committees that address various aspects of campus life, including diversity, freshman involvement, and governmental relations.
- Quo Vadis, a student organization that conducts guided tours and interpretations of the Cathedral of Learning's 30 Nationality Rooms.
- Rainbow Alliance, a student advocacy group for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allied students. Among other activities, Pitt Rainbow Alliance holds an Annual Drag Show to raise money for Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force.
- University of Pittsburgh Mock Trial, a yearlong extracurricular activity open to Pitt undergraduates that provides an opportunity to practice litigation through a series of team-based mock trial competitions. Pitt Mock Trial has qualified for American Mock Trial Association post-season tournaments each of the last six years, finishing in the fifth overall place at the 2008 National Championship Tournament.
- William Pitt Debating Union, a co-curricular program and hub for a wide range of debating activities, including intercollegiate policy debate, public debate, and debate outreach. 1981 National Debate Tournament champions, it has qualified for the National Debate Tournament forty times and is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the nation, growing from the University's Division of Public Speaking in 1912.
There are 39 fraternities and sororities on the campus. As of 2008, the University of Pittsburgh Greek system raised $285,000 for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. The effort was part of the Pittsburgh Greek system's five-year pledge to raise $500,000 for the cancer center.They are currently participating in a three-year pledge to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Annual Greek life events
- Greek Week
- Greek Sing
- Pitt Dance Marathon