Community Engagement Centers will be growing, moving this year


The first meeting of the Senate’s Community Relations committee this semester was mostly a getting-to-know-you session, but there were a few nuggets of information that trickled out from the administration representatives and invited guests.

Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations, updated the group on the status of the University’s Master Plan. After a series of public meetings on the plan, Supowitz expects a final draft to be on the Facilities Management website soon. The plan still needs to go before the Pittsburgh Planning Commission and City Council to get final approval, which should happen during the upcoming fall and winter. For more details on upcoming construction, see related story on the Plant Utilization and Planning committee.

Jamie Ducar, director of Community Engagement, said CGR is holding six block parties this fall with all the neighborhoods in Oakland. The last one will be at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 on Oakland Avenue between Forbes Avenue and Sennott Street for the central Oakland business district. The parties are open to everyone.

Pitt’s Community Engagement Center in Homewood saw 7,500 visitors in its first six months, said Lina Dostilio, associate vice chancellor for Community Engagement. The center will mark its first year on Oct. 17. In January, phase two of the center, which includes a health clinic, is expected to open.

The Hill District Community Engagement Center has had a director since last year, but not a permanent location. Dostillio said they hope to soon move into rental space while a permanent home is being renovated.

She also encouraged Pitt faculty and staff to sign up for the annual Day of Caring, which takes place on Oct. 18. Organizers are hoping to get more than 300 participants this year. Find details at The student volunteering effort, Pitt Make a Difference Day, will be on Oct. 19. Shenay Jeffrey of Pitt Serves, who chairs the committee, said they are still looking for more projects to send the nearly 5,000 students who typically volunteer.

Georgia Petropoulos, executive director of the Oakland Business Improvement District, said her group is considering different ways to invigorate the central business district’s sidewalks, including possibly installing benches along Forbes Avenue from Meyran Street to Oakland Avenue.

The next meeting is at noon Oct. 16 at 527 William Pitt Union.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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