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.
- Alpha Epsilon Pi
- Alpha Phi Alpha
- Beta Theta Pi
- Delta Chi
- Delta Phi
- Delta Sigma Phi
- Delta Tau Delta
- Iota Nu Delta
- Kappa Sigma
- Kappa Alpha Tau
- Lambda Chi Alpha
- Phi Beta Sigma
- Pi Lambda Phi
- Phi Delta Theta
- Pi Kappa Alpha
- Pi Kappa Phi
- Phi Kappa Theta
- Sigma Alpha Epsilon
- Sigma Alpha Mu
- Sigma Beta Rho
- Sigma Chi
- Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Tau Kappa Epsilon
- Triangle Fraternity
- Zeta Beta Tau
- Alpha Delta Pi
- Alpha Epsilon Phi
- Alpha Kappa Alpha
- Chi Omega
- Delta Delta Delta
- Delta Phi Epsilon
- Delta Zeta
- Kappa Delta
- Kappa Kappa Gamma
- Sigma Delta Tau
- Sigma Epsilon Chi
- Sigma Sigma Sigma
- Theta Phi Alpha
- Theta Nu Xi
- Zeta Sigma Chi
Annual Greek life events
- Greek Week
- Greek Sing
- Pitt Dance Marathon