University Preps for Annual Pitt Day in Harrisburg

Issue Date: 
February 4, 2013

More than 500 students, alumni, faculty, and staff of the University of Pittsburgh will board buses outside the William Pitt Union before dawn on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to make a three-and-a-half-hour journey to Harrisburg to brief Pennsylvania legislators on Pitt’s importance in their lives and the vital importance of the University to its community and to the Commonwealth as a whole. The impact that the annual Pitt Day in Harrisburg event has on legislators is substantial.  

“Our representatives in Harrisburg hear from the chancellor, Pitt’s governmental relations staff, and other Pitt faculty and administrators throughout the year,” said Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for governmental relations. “But legislators regularly tell us that they also value the opportunity to meet with Pitt students and alumni in order to hear firsthand how the University has positively impacted their lives.”

Pitt Day in Harrisburg has been growing steadily since its Feb. 12, 1996, inaugural trip with 31 volunteers from Pitt’s Alumni Legislative Network. Last year’s contingent was close to 500, including more than 375 students. In addition to the five busloads from the Pittsburgh campus, representatives of the regional campuses will also participate in this year’s visit to Harrisburg. 

“Last year’s message was ‘Keep Pitt Public,’” said Jennifer Poller, Pitt’s manager of alumni advocacy. “This year, we want to thank the Pennsylvania General Assembly for maintaining our funding for the current fiscal year and to request that the legislators consider our entire appropriation request.”

“This is a great opportunity for all of the University of Pittsburgh campuses to come together on one day and at one location to showcase the University to the members of the General Assembly,” said Jeff Gleim, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and executive director of the Pitt Alumni Association. “Our purpose is to convince legislators that their continued support of this great public research university is necessary. Alumni participate because they are motivated to help today’s students and enjoy volunteering their time on behalf of Pitt.” 

During Pitt Day in Harrisburg, all members of the University community are encouraged to tell Harrisburg officials their “Pitt stories”—tales of the personal impact Pitt has made—in addition to communicating to legislators Pitt’s overall importance to the economic, educational, and societal well-being of our region. 

In addition, the volunteers point out not only Pitt’s accomplishments during the past year, but also the areas in which the University has maximized its resources. Last year, for instance, each legislator was visited by a Pitt representative and given a personalized folder with highlights of the University’s accomplishments, as well as details on how Pitt has become an increasingly effective steward in recent years, acting as a responsible and prudent manager of the appropriation funds it receives.

“Pitt Day in Harrisburg is an opportunity for students to not only advocate for themselves; it’s an opportunity to advocate for their peers and the entire University of Pittsburgh,” said Gordon Louderback, president of the Student Government Board. “It’s time for us, as students, to show why we chose to come to such a great university and why we deserve to be treated fairly. By attending Pitt Day in Harrisburg, we are able to relay the individual stories of our Pitt experience to show the state officials that we offer a remarkable return on their investment.”

Visit to sign up to participate in this year’s Pitt Day in Harrisburg.