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

September 25, 2014

SAC wants improvements in lactation website

The  Staff  Association  Council (SAC) wants the University to be more welcoming and helpful to women using the Pittsburgh campus’s 16 lactation rooms.

Pamela Rikstad, who reported on the work of the health, safety, IT and transportation committee at SAC’s Sept. 17 meeting, said Human Resources’ lactation website ( makes no attempt to associate use of the rooms with healthy practices, unlike other University HR sites. She gave as an example the page describing Pitt’s smoking policy, which encourages smoking cessation.

Her committee met with Ron Frisch, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, and other Pitt officials to discuss upgrading the lactation website.

“Ron did agree that the language on the website could be a little more supportive,” Rikstad said.

“We are working on it,” Frisch said after the meeting, noting that SAC had offered examples of other schools’ lactation websites with more positive language for Pitt to emulate.

“We need to make that section of the HR website a little more employee friendly.”

“Sometimes you get silly reactions from people” confronted by a colleague’s need to use the lactation room to express milk, Rikstad noted. “Like, ‘Couldn’t she just wait until she gets home?’” SAC also wants HR to compile a fact sheet about breastfeeding for women using the rooms to give to supervisors and colleagues.

The organization will consider adding a presentation to its brown bag seminar series about breastfeeding and other issues for employees returning to work after a leave.

In other news:

• Jennifer Engel of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute gave a presentation about Osher’s offerings, noting that it allows anyone to join and take non-credit Pitt courses.

More than 800 non-credit courses (about 80 of which are offered each term), often meeting weekly for five weeks, are offered through membership in Osher, which costs $125 for one term or $225 for a school year’s three terms.

These fees allow people to take an unlimited number of Osher courses and to audit up to two select Pitt undergraduate courses each semester. Courses require no previous college and no tests or homework, nor do they have the costs added to undergraduate tuition, such as computer fees. While Osher is targeted to those aged 50 and over, anyone may participate. Osher courses run the gamut of Pitt schools and majors, from “Discovering Nature Through Journaling” and “Portrait Drawing” to “After the Soviet Union” and “Intermediate Spanish.”

• In place of SAC’s annual technology fair, this spring SAC will hold a staff development forum, inspired by the all-day development programs of some of the regional SACs, such as Johnstown, which shuts down its campus offices to allow staff to attend training programs during spring and fall breaks.

• Fiona Seels, standing in for external relations committee chair Andy Stephany, announced the topics of the next lunchtime seminars: ergonomics (today, Sept. 25); education benefits (Oct. 21) and wellness (Nov. 19).

• Operations committee chair Hillary Koller announced that applications are available for SAC’s Book Fund awards. Pitt sophomores, juniors and seniors whose parents are Pitt employees are eligible. Applications are due Oct. 17; an ad hoc committee will choose winners at the end of November and award the funds in December.

• Changes to two SAC rules passed nearly unanimously. A change to the organization’s operations manual clarified how former members can be reinstated. Currently, membership automatically is revoked for those with three consecutive absences without prior notification to SAC, and those with four total absences in a year. Now those whose membership was canceled must wait a year after revocation to request membership anew, at which time they will be placed at the bottom of any waiting list. Those who resign don’t have to wait a year before requesting membership again, but also will be at the bottom of any waiting list.

An amendment to the bylaws will allow committee chairs to send their agendas and attendance lists to the executive vice president after their meetings, “basically in line with what we’re doing now,” said Koller. The previous rule required committee chairs to send agendas prior to meetings, and “this wasn’t happening,” she says.

• Lindsay J. Rodzwicz was elected unanimously as SAC’s vice president of public relations, following a year in which she had been the interim vice president. SAC bylaws had not allowed Rodzwicz to be elected to the full office until she finished her first year as a SAC member. She is Coulter program administrator in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Bioengineering.

• SAC will hold its next new-member orientation at noon Oct. 14 in the William Pitt Union.

• SAC officers are planning to meet with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in October.

• SAC members will take part in Pitt’s Day of Caring on Oct. 2 by aiding the Community Human Services’ Oakland Food Pantry.

• According to Executive Vice President Monica Costlow, SAC now is working with Institutional Advancement to put a new bench on campus to honor staff achievements. The bench project has been in the works for two years.

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 3