Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

February 20, 2014

Staff urged to make Harrisburg trip

Staff Association Council (SAC) President Rich Colwell urged all Pitt staffers to join this year’s Pitt Day in Harrisburg on March 18 (

“It’s a long day but it really is a fun day,” said Jennifer Poller, manager of alumni advocacy in Alumni Relations, who oversees the event.

During her presentation to SAC members at the group’s Feb. 13 meeting, Poller encouraged Pitt staff, faculty, students and friends to register by March 7 for the annual bus trip to Harrisburg, which gives them the chance to meet with legislators or their aides to advocate for increased Pitt funding.

Staff and faculty attendees will gather at 6:30 a.m. outside the Soldiers and Sailors parking garage to board buses for the event, arriving in Harrisburg at 10:30. There, they will undertake legislative visits until 3 p.m. Pitt Day in Harrisburg also offers optional 30-minute tours of the capitol building and, for the first time, a career workshop for students interested in entering government service or politics. Lunch and an afternoon dessert reception are included.

Governor Tom Corbett’s budget for Pitt and the three other state-related universities, released last week (see Feb. 6 University Times) was flat this year, she noted. Pitt Day is a chance for staffers “to tell their Pitt story: why Pitt is important to them,” she said.

The legislators, Poller added, “really enjoy hearing from their constituents, especially face-to-face meetings. Believe it or not, they always have staffers available and staffers can be just as important, if not more important, than legislators.”

Although participants are provided with a briefing book to help hone their messages, “the facts and figures — let government relations and the lobbyists deal with that,” she said. “Your personal story is what is meaningful to them.”

Because this is the last year for Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg to lead the day’s lobbying, she added, “I think this is going to be a very important year. Bar none, he has been our best advocate.”


In other SAC news:

• Executive Vice President Monica Costlow announced that the chair and vice chair positions of SAC’s staff relations committee are open after having been held for approximately six months by Pam Weid and Adriana Maguina-Ugarte, respectively. Nominations for the posts are due by Feb. 26, with an election set for the next SAC meeting on March 12.

• To facilitate such special elections, operations committee head Tammeka Banks announced that this same meeting will include a vote on a bylaw change aimed at creating electronic elections for SAC officers. The proposed new rules would replace provisions governing paper ballots with online voting through the election portlet portion of SAC’s website, which currently is used to post candidate names and statements only. Votes would be tabulated by Computing Services and Systems Development.

• Banks announced that SAC also will vote March 12 on a bylaw change requiring prospective members to attend an orientation prior to becoming a SAC member.

—Marty Levine