Global Hub takes the world stage


Issi Glatts | Senior Staff Photographer

Visitors placed sticky notes on a map of the world expressing their opinions on topics that divide and connect people around the globe.

By Nicole Marzzacco, Staff Writer

Posvar Hall said hello to a new host of cultures on Tuesday — with help from the “hello table,” where students could learn to greet people from other parts of the globe.

The table was one of several ways students could learn about other cultures at the opening of the Pitt Global Hub on Tuesday. Located on the ground floor of Posvar Hall near the building’s Bigelow Boulevard entrance, the hub provides students with the opportunity to learn more about the world around them.

The new fixture is part student lounge and part academic resource center. It features tables, nooks and comfy furniture for meetings and studying, similar to many other places at the University. But what makes the hub stand out is its media walls, which display a calendar of campus cultural events, opportunities for studying and interning abroad and learning new languages, footage of scenes from around the world and fun facts about countries where Pitt has an academic presence.

During the grand opening and dedication ceremony on Tuesday, numerous Pitt departments offered food samplings and hosted games from around the world. Students were invited to place blue dots on a map to show where in the world they came from and gold dots to signify their favorite place.

Samantha Moik, the UCIS engagement coordinator for the European Studies Center, was present to help run ESC’s virtual reality exhibit. Students could look through a cardboard box headset and explore the streets of an Irish city displayed on a phone inside. Moik said she and her colleagues have been preparing the virtual reality exhibit for the opening since June.

“We’re really excited for [the hub] to be opening and seeing how this space could be maximized for students to get more involved in such an open and inviting space,” Moik said. “We have some events planned for the semester we look forward to after this opening.”

Pitt students, staff and faculty can apply to host themed events in the space. According to the hub’s website, online booking will be available soon.

“I hope students utilize the hub to learn more about the world around them and the opportunities as Pitt students to engage more with the world,” Moik said. “It’s a great place for students to meet and learn more about what Pitt has to offer globally.”

The idea for the hub developed in 2015 following efforts by the University Center of International Studies to find a way of making Pitt a “global” university. Executive Director of Global Engagement at Pitt Dr. Belkys Torres served as the project lead executive director on the Global Hub.

“What we learned when we were talking to student groups in particular, they were asking for resources that we were already providing,” Torres said. “The challenge for them was trying to figure out how to access that information.”

The hub was created after a two-year process, which required the collaborations of faculty and student coordinators, as well as joint efforts from the language departments, Study Abroad Office and the University Center for International Studies.

Karen Lue, a 2015 Pitt alumna, serves as the Global Hub Manager for the space. Lue is hoping to hire four undergraduate ambassadors for the hub, who will work towards improving student involvement and cross-cultural interaction, as well as setting up networking inside the hub.

“This is our pilot year for the hub so we hope students come through and interact with the hub,” Lue said. “We’re depending on their feedback this year to hear what they want to see going forward.”

The hub plans to feature different artifacts from library exhibits and the Nationality Rooms each semester. .

“I really hope that we reach all of the goals of this space, as far as getting students to come and learn about global and international opportunities. Hopefully get some students to enroll in different certificate programs, or maybe apply for a study abroad they haven’t thought about,” Lue said.

Many students came to the hub to see the newest addition to Pitt. One was junior Sarah Dacko, a nutrition major looking forward to spending time inside the hub and learning more about other countries without having to visit them.

“I hope to learn more about the world and their cultures to see how they compare to the U.S.,” Dacko said. “It’s such a cool place to escape from the reality and stress of school.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that the Hub took up space on two stories in Posvar Hall. The Hub is only located on the ground floor of Posvar. The story has also been updated to reflect that the Hub plans on featuring artifacts from library exhibits and the Nationality Rooms, though these will not correspond to a particular country.  The Pitt News regrets these errors.