3,800 students + 7,500 cups of coffee = Arrival Survival

Signs showing unloading and parking areas.


Arrival Survival has turned into a well-oiled machine driven by the wheels of hundreds of move-in carts and the efforts of student and staff volunteers.

Julie Bannister, assistant vice chancellor for auxiliary services, says staff from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and from Human Resources were the first to get involved with Arrival Survival several years ago, because they wanted more contact with students.

“It’s grown over the years,” Bannister says. “We get a lot from Facilities Management, Public Safety and Human Resources. They do two-hour blocks, just to give people a chance to interact with students who don’t usually get to.”

Mostly, Bannister says, the staff members help out at welcome stations near dorms designated for first-year students. They give directions, suggest restaurants, hand out welcome gifts and generally are there to help in any way they can.

This year, Arrival Survival runs from Aug. 19 to 23. Here’s what to expect during the annual return of students for the fall semester.


Map showing parking restrictions during Arrival Survival

Just like every other day in Oakland, parking is the number one concern for Pitt employees, as well as arriving families.

Bannister says there will be 450 metered parking spots blocked off from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday — the peak move-in days — with the times shortened later in the week.

Those who regularly park in Towers and Ruskin garages will be relocated so those spaces can be used for drop-off. Soldiers and Sailors garage and the OC lot will not be accepting cash payments during the first three days. Those lots will be where parents are directed for long-term parking after they drop off their student.

Key events

Want to get a glimpse of the incoming students? Here are some of the events where they’ll be congregating:

7-8 p.m. Aug. 20: Discover Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning Lawn, where students and their families can get information about Pittsburgh’s arts and entertainment scene and sample food from local restaurants.

3-4 p.m. Aug. 21: New Student Convocation, Petersen Events Center (required for first-year students). Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and other members of the University will welcome Pitt’s newest students and their families. The convocation is followed by a pep rally and the Chancellor’s Picnic on the Petersen Events Center lawn.

8-10 p.m. Aug. 21: Class photo and the Tipping Point program, Petersen Events Center. Tipping Point, a program about transitioning to college life, is required for all first-year freshman students.

5-7 p.m. Aug. 22: Global Carnival & Study Abroad Fair, William Pitt Union, lawn and patio. This event will include games, music, entertainment and food samples from around the world.

10 p.m.-1 a.m. Aug. 24: Welcome Back Bash, Bigelow Boulevard and William Pitt Union lawn. This campus-wide celebration features laser tag, a freaky photo booth, airbrush tattoos, mini golf, T-shirt tie-dyeing, carnival food and more.

7:30-9:30 p.m. Aug. 25: Lantern Night, Heinz Memorial Chapel. Established in 1920, the Lantern Night ceremony is the oldest University tradition. Female alumni pass the light of learning and inspiration, in the form of lanterns with candles, to first-year and transfer women. First-year men also are invited to attend this special event.

Arrival survival by the numbers


Ice cream servings



Cups of coffee



Doughnuts and pastries



Pounds of ice



Bottles of water



Slices of pizza



Freshmen moving in



T-shirts for volunteers



Moving carts



Student volunteers



Extra hours worked by Pitt Police and Allied Security officers



Staff volunteers



Welcome stations


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