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September 29, 2011

Wellness collaborations focus of Senate’s plenary session

The University Senate community relations committee (CRC) laid out its agenda for the coming year Sept. 20.

Top on the list: CRC is hosting the Senate fall plenary session noon-4 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room.

The keynote speaker at the session, titled “Community and Campus Partnerships for Health and Wellness,” will be Pitt School of Social Work alumnus Kevin Jenkins, director of community initiatives and senior program officer at the Pittsburgh Foundation. The talk will be followed by panel discussions moderated by CRC member Tracy Soska.

The event also will include a marketplace for University and local organizations to network with those who are interested in community/campus collaborations around the themes of health and wellness, and a poster showcase to highlight community engagement projects already underway or in the planning stages.

CRC co-chair Martha Ann Terry issued a call for posters and for marketplace participants. The deadline for both is Oct. 15. For more information contact Laurie Cohen at lcohen@pittedu (for participants’ sign-up) or Denise Chisholm at (for poster submission guidelines).

Also on the agenda, at Soska’s recommendation, the committee plans to invite Reba Landry, a School of Social Work student with a disability, to a future CRC meeting. Landry is exploring the establishment of a campus-wide student advocacy and advisory group for students with disabilities, as well as developing disability awareness training programs for faculty and staff to be used at the departmental level, Soska said.

Other CRC plans for the coming months include a field trip to a local community organization (to be determined); a meeting via WebEx conferencing services with regional campus faculty and staff interested in establishing better community relations with their respective constituents; reports from CRC community partner organizations, and campus updates on facilities projects and community issues from University officials.

In other business:

• Tara Sherry-Torres, community organizer at Oakland Planning and Development Corp. (OPDC), reported on the progress of the Oakland 2025 project, a year-long community planning effort coordinated by OPDC to develop a master plan for the neighborhood. (See April 28 and June 9 University Times.)

Sherry-Torres said that, following the May action forum where common themes and priorities were established, the Oakland 2025 task force engaged consultants Pfaffman Associates/Studio for Spatial Practice to pull together recommendations into a formal planning document. She said the final recommendations are expected by January. CRC members plan to discuss the recommendations during a spring meeting.

Oakland 2025 plans for the fall include holding a number of workshops on the overarching themes — transportation, landlord and other housing issues, neighborhood connectivity, investment in beautification and greening efforts — and “walkshops,” tours led by residents for the consultants.

For more information, call 412/621-7863 ext. 17; email Sherry-Torres at, or visit

• CRC has endorsed the Sleep-in for the Homeless, a fundraising event sponsored by Community Human Services designed to raise awareness of homelessness in the Pittsburgh area. This year’s event will be held 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 to 6 a.m. Oct. 22 on Schenley Plaza. For more information contact Diane McMahon at 412/246-1608 or visit

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 3

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