“Experience the World Showcase” To Support PittAdvantage Grants

Issue Date: 
February 24, 2014

Last year, 16 Pitt students experienced the world with grants from the PittAdvantage program. Some took educational trips—to Argentina, Italy, Ireland, China, Guatemala, Jamaica, and South Africa. Two others took unpaid internships, one with CBS Sports in New York and one with the UPMC Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Another created an innovative project to teach schoolchildren about the legal system.

The PittAdvantage program, which is open to Pitt students who have completed the University’s Outside the Classroom Curriculum, provides grants of $1,500 per student for expenses associated with experiential-learning opportunities.

Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs wants to expand the program this year and will host an auction and fundraising dinner, “Experience the World Showcase,” from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 28, in the William Pitt Union’s Assembly Room. Tickets for the showcase, at $100 each, are available at www.PittAdvantage.pitt.edu. Businesses, organizations, and individuals can support PittAdvantage by becoming a corporate sponsor of the event, sponsoring a student at an annual cost of $1,500, or donating auction items.  

“The Experience the World Showcase is a tremendous opportunity for friends of the University of Pittsburgh to support a program that can make such a difference in the lives of our students,” said Kathy Humphrey, Pitt vice provost and dean of students, who is cochairing the event’s auction committee with Keith Schaefer, a Pitt trustee and chair of the Board of Trustees’ Student Affairs Committee. 

Competition for the PittAdvantage grants is brisk: last year, 46 students applied and 16 grants were awarded. Applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of Student Affairs staff and chaired by Scott Hoffman, Outside the Classroom coordinator. Applications and eligibility guidelines are available at www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/occpittadvantagegrant.

“When we gave out the first grants this past summer and the students returned from their internships or study abroad experiences, there were two universal themes that we heard: that the experiences were ‘life-changing’ and that the only way the students could have afforded to travel abroad, or accept an unpaid internship, was through the financial support they received,” Humphrey said.

“The impact that the PittAdvantage program has already had in the lives of our students has inspired us to work even harder to raise funds to expand the program to serve hundreds of students each year,” she added. “Hopefully the auction and dinner will be a lot of fun and introduce people to the program.  Ultimately, we hope to create an endowment so that the PittAdvantage is sustainable.”

The Experience the World Showcase will feature an auction, student group performances, and student testimonies about their study abroad trips, internships, and community service projects—all made possible with assistance from the PittAdvantage grants.

For more information on the OCC, please visit www.occ.pitt.edu. For queries about the dinner, contact Shawn Ahearn at 412-648-1005 or ahearn@pitt.edu.