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January 19, 2017

Senate committee wants to be more inclusive

The University Senate community relations committee (CRC) has updated its mission statement to express greater inclusivity.

Members agreed in CRC’s Jan. 17 meeting to drop the word “external” from the existing statement that declares that CRC “observes, engages in and promotes relationships between the University of Pittsburgh and its many external communities.”

The committee’s stated goals remain unchanged: “to understand and communicate the mutual needs and benefits of the University and its communities at their points of intersection; increase collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh’s community partners; maintain awareness of activities; and report its findings and recommendations at least annually to the Senate.”

The mission statement was last updated in November 2011.

In other business:

• John Wilds, assistant vice chancellor for community relations, noted that the Student Government Board organized a safety walk last fall to identify areas frequented by students in south/central Oakland where improvements in lighting, litter and crosswalks are needed. As a result, Pitt is partnering with the city to improve street lighting in the area between Forbes Avenue and Bates and Dawson streets. Wilds said the city will provide LED light fixtures and the University will pay for their installation.

• Staff Association Council representative Fiona Seels said SAC is collecting comments related to pedestrian safety in the area of Fifth and Bellefield avenues in hopes of making improvements in advance of an anticipated Oakland transit plan.

• Wilds reported that nearly 1,000 students, faculty and staff volunteered for the Jan. 16 Martin Luther King Day of Service coordinated by the Office of PittServes.

• CRC member Deborah Studen-Pavlovich reported that the School of Dental Medicine’s “Give Kids a Smile” day of free care for uninsured children is set for Feb. 24. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 8-9830. The student-led effort has provided $160,000 in free dental care to date, she said.

• Georgia Petropoulos, executive director of the Oakland Business Improvement District, reported that Oakland and the Hill District will be showcased in a tour highlighting town-gown connections in conjunction with the national Main Street Center’s Main Street Now conference, which will be held in Pittsburgh May 1-3.

• Oakland Restaurant Week is set for Jan. 30-Feb. 4. Details on restaurant specials can be found at


At CRC’s next meeting, set for noon Feb. 21 in 230 Alumni Hall, Wanda Wilson, executive director of Oakland Planning and Development Corp., is scheduled to discuss OPDC’s housing stabilization initiative and community land trust.

In addition, Lina Dostilio, who joined the Office of Community and Governmental Relations last week as assistant vice chancellor for the University’s community engagement centers, will be invited to meet the committee.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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