Opinion | Pitt campus additions that alumni should check out

By Grace McGinness, Staff Columnist

As we raise our glasses and cheer for Homecoming this weekend, we should consider who may be returning to this campus and what exactly they are returning to. For my entire undergraduate stay here at Pitt, there has been some construction project or other rumbling away somewhere on campus, and at the start of every academic year it feels like I’m discovering it all over again. Let’s see what Pitt decided to shake up in recent years.

1) Quad Green Space

Don’t be surprised if you’re met with plastic barricades if you try to turn into Schenley Quad off of Fifth — there’s no longer a metered parking lot in the center. Nature now reigns supreme there with a new student green space, including patches of grass and multiple tables, chairs and benches. Students can often be seen enjoying the new hangout space to just lounge around outside, to hold outdoor meetings at all times of the day or to eat ice cream from the new Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream location, which opened this past September in the University Store.

2) Hillman Fourth Floor

Remember not to cheer too loudly, but the silent top floor of our campus’ main library has returned after months of construction last summer. New and improved as a stressed student’s haven with outlets nearly every three feet, this floor has comfortable rolling chairs and privacy dividers to hide you away from the judgment of others when you’re not doing the work you’re supposed to. Just make sure not to look up and burn your eyes out from the 20,000-watt fluorescent lights. The redesign of the top floor is just the beginning. The third has recently been closed off for a similar redesign until spring 2020 as part of a five-year renovation plan for the whole library, which is expected to be completed in 2022 — which means even more outlets.

3) Philippine Nationality Room

After a 20-year campaign, the Philippines room has finally been inducted as one of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms. Its construction was a dramatic saga of setback after setback that has finally concluded in victory and a beautiful classroom. The ceiling is decorated with paintings of symbols of Philippine folklore such as flowers, fish and dragons, and traditional Filipino artwork hangs on the walls. Spots for Nationality Rooms are in low supply, with only four designated rooms remaining, but it is heartwarming to see this project of hard work and struggle managed to make it through.

4) Pitt Global Hub

Posvar is in the middle of a complete metamorphosis, with a slow introduction of new lecture halls and study spaces. One of the most recent additions, The Global Hub, is located in a small corner by the massive building’s Bigelow entrance. The Hub is a sleek student lounge fitted with glamourous study rooms closed off by ornate curtains, a swing chair — amongst other comfortable seating — and a huge touch screen dedicated to helping students explore their study abroad options with Pitt. Students and faculty can rent out the space to host their events, and staff of the Pitt Global Hub often offer workshops to help students tailor their international experiences toward their future careers.

5) Center for Creativity

Located on the basement floor of the University Store, the Center for Creativity offers a relaxing environment for students to explore their artistic side. The space may be small and a bit removed from everything, but there is a surprising amount of tools and equipment packed away down there for students to use however they wish. Drum kits, pianos, typewriters, whiteboards, scrap paper, wool, knitting needles, paintbrushes, canvases and even a kiln for ceramics are all a part of this space. The Center for Creativity is just begging students to go wild. I may not get a degree from this school, but I will be walking away with a turquoise-glazed clay coffee mug.

6) Forbes Street Market

Three years ago, the delicious, cheap luxury that was the 7-Eleven under Bruce Hall was cruelly bought out and shut down. It remained a gutted shell for awhile until Forbes Street Market rose from the ashes last year like a gleaming, powerful phoenix sent to save the student body from busing to grocery stores in other neighborhoods. The store offers many more produce options for students, and there is even a deli counter for sliced meats and cheese or a little sandwich for the road. The extra space has allowed Pitt to expand its inventory to students and meet our needs for delicious boxes of chocolate chip cookies.

7) Crosswalk

Over this past summer a crosswalk was constructed to finally connect the front doors of David Lawerence Hall to the other side of Forbes Avenue. For generations students were hellbent on crossing right at that bend in the road to get to dorms, the WPU or the University Store from Lawrence. You know, that dangerous one where oncoming cars would have no idea whether the coast was clear or a stampede of students had decided to play red rover across the street. Now, students can still jaywalk when the light takes forever to change and cross with the right-of-way when it finally does.