How the University community is helping out its neighbors

While Pitt is encouraging staff to volunteer to help the community, several groups on campus are already stepping up with supplies, donations and more.

If you know of other acts of generosity in the Pitt community, please share them with us at

As part of Pitt’s commitment to the community, the University has started centralizing the process of coordinating, tracking and vetting requests for and offers of contributions, including facilities use, and any type of physical goods currently owned by the University. Find out more here.

Donating PPE

As University labs ramp down their activities to only essential research, Pitt Engineering, along with several other schools at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University, collected unused lab supplies, personal protection equipment, filters, disinfectants and more last week to donate to UPMC to keep hospital staff safe. The effort was coordinated by David Vorp, professor of bioenginering and associate dean of research in the Swanson School of Engineering.

Making hand sanitizer

Goetz Veser, professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and graduate student researchers Riddhesh Patel and Nasser Al Azri, have repurposed one of its reactors in Veser’s lab to make 75 percent “Pitt Hand Sanitizer” per World Health Organization guidelines. The sanitizer is going to help out at UPMC Children’s Hospital.

Donating Match Day funds

The fourth-year medical students had Match Day canceled due to COVID-19 and chose to donate their funds to local organizations helping with food insecurity and health care during this crisis. The other classes in the School of Medicine joined the effort and students raised a total of $11,000. They then challenged faculty members to match student generosity. In total, they have raised $24,810 for the Birmingham Clinic, 412 Food Rescue, and Chef Claudy Pierre.

Providing meal passes

As of March 23, the Pitt Pantry stopped distributing prepackaged bags of food, but will continue providing emergency food assistance to members of the Pitt Community via meal passes, which can be used to purchase meals at the Quick Zone in Litchfield Towers. You may request 10 meal passes using this form. If you are experiencing any symptoms, including, but not limited to fever, cough and shortness of breath, please do not fill out the form. Instead, please email to arrange for resources.

Ramping up telemedicine

Alyson Stover, assistant professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences’ Department of Occupational Therapy, was directly involved in getting the state to allow a whole host of health care workers to provide health care services via telemedicine, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech and language therapy, to vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Guiding meditation

In an effort to stay connected and facilitate communal self-care, Dr. Kelly Beck from our graduate Counseling program, will be offering weekly virtual meditation lunch breaks from noon-12:45 p.m. Tuesdays to anyone interested. Feel free to join if you are interested and available for a guided meditation and time to connect with others. Her colleague, Carol Greco, will be offering a weekly evening virtual meditation at 5:30 p.m. Mondays. 

Helping small businesses

Pitt’s Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence has compiled resources for small businesses to help weather the economic downtown. The website includes tips for dealing with disaster relief, bridge loans and more, along with recordings from two live webinars:

  • From March 30: “Critical Factors for Leading Sales Teams Through Adversity” by Sean Coyle, CEO of Sandler Training by Peak Performance Management,

  • From March 20: “COVID-19 Resources & Relief for Small Businesses” by Pitt’s Small Business Development Center, Huntington Bank, Maiello Brungo & Maiello law practice, Wilke & Associates CPAs, Enscoe Long Insurance Group and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

— Susan Jones